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Computer Cases, There Is A Smorgasbord To Choose From

Computer Cases come in different sizes, shapes, and are made of metal, plastic, wood, and yes even seen some made of cardboard...

When I started my web site back in 2006 I wrote an article about cases, part of that included research on the different kinds of them and the different classes of cases.

I found thousands of different products in sizes and styles from tower, to mini desktop, from cubes to thin form.

Then there are those that modify their current case, a friend told me about doing a power coat to change the paint scheme of his computer. I went over to his house to see this psychedelic paint job. My regret is I didn't take my camera and get a picture of it before he changed his mind.

Powder coat isn't for all computers because a lot of computers today have more plastic than metal and the plastic can't with stand the temperature required to cure powder coat ~ 400* Fahrenheit.

That aside you can get just about any shape and color you want in a case if you look long enough. Some online computer parts stores have hundreds of different styles.

Some things to consider when shopping or purchasing a new computer cases:

Specifications of computer cases you should look for:

Space - compare the measurements of your computer case against the area where it will reside, consider the air flow around the case you should  have at least two inches on the sides and top, the rear of the case needs to have at least six inches for the exhaust air to move away from the case. The cooler your keep the case the cooler it will be inside.

Cooling - Newer processors need more cooling air than older processors because they produce more heat than previous processors. You may even want to take into consideration liquid cooling that is now commercially available. The only problem with liquid cooling is that most use a radiator (like a car radiator).

You may have to attach the radiator to the out side of the case or make an opening for the exhaust air from the heat exchange of the air in the computer through the radiator when it cools the liquid.

Storage - inside storage bays for hard drives, rule of thumb is what the computer will be used for. If it is for someone that just checks email, creates a document or two once in awhile, and surfs the internet when they have some free time then two internal bays for hard drives would be plenty.

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However if your occupation is doing CAD drawings, Video manipulation, or heavy document production (turning word documents in to PDF's) or gaming you should consider four or more hard drive bays even with the size of hard drives starting to exceed 8 TB of storage the programs are also exceeding 15 t0 60 GB each, I have a game (it came on a blu ray disk...) that was 18 GB when installed.

Optical Drive bays - For an occasional movie or music then one drive bay would suffice. But if you make cd's, DVD's, or Blu Ray disks you may want to consider two or more drive bays for 5 1/4 inch drives.

Add on card slots - If your motherboard has all the amenities embedded, sound, video, etc and you don't want to expand by adding on say a HD Sound card or the latest and greatest Video you will want slots to accommodate those add on cards other wise the case and motherboard with the fewer slots the cheaper it will be. However you should have at least two slots in case an embedded device fails you can add on a card to do that function until you can replace the motherboard. If on the other hand you want to have all the latest and greatest toys you would look for a case that can accommodate all the slots on your motherboard.

Power Supply - Most cases come with a power supply however you need to insure that it will power your motherboard and all the add on devices (hard drives, optical drives, video, sound, etc) you will be putting in the case. Be sure to check the specifications of the motherboard, newer processors and memory take more wattage, don't forget that if you are getting a high powered video card and/or sound cards they also take a power connector from the power supply so add that, add 25 watts per hard drive and optical drive to arrive at a reasonable size for your power supply.

When it comes to computer cases you can have a plain Jane or a Ferrari.

The last thing with a new case is how it looks. Some people buy a computer and shove it under the desk or beside a desk. Some it have setting where they can see it then add all kinds of lights (don't forget that all those little leds draw power from the power supply!) and they look really pretty.

One of my friends is a true gamer, his system has (as of over two months ago) 4 TB of storage, an i7 series Quad processor, 16 GB of memory, three optical drives (I don't know why), dual video cards, an Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD card that drives six speakers in surround sound, Window 7 - 64 Bit, and two 21" wide screen HD monitors. And when he plays a game he rocks the house until his wife makes him put on his head phones. Big Smile... His case sits on a stand beside him, he has cut out the sides and the top and replaced the metal with Plexiglas so he can see all the LEDs inside the case, on the fans, all the cables, all over the place. It looks really nice, I would bet he doesn't look at his electrical bill every month...

If you want to modify your computer cases this page is some help.

Each to his or her own, but consider the functionality and expandability of the computer cases before you buy it or you may be buying another one sooner than you want.



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