PC Case Buyers Guide

Unlocking the Full Potential of Your PC: A Comprehensive PC Case Buyer's Guide
Your PC's case is much more than just a protective enclosure; it's a gateway to unleashing the true potential of your system. In the modern world of computing, PC cases come in a plethora of shapes, sizes, colors, and materials, offering a range of functionalities to cater to your specific needs.
Why the Right Case Matters
Selecting the right case is pivotal for your PC because it directly impacts your components like motherboards, CPU coolers, power supplies, and drives, each with their unique sizes and cooling requirements. Our comprehensive buyer's guide will demystify this process and empower you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision when selecting a new PC case.
Motherboard Compatibility
The first and most crucial decision is choosing a case that accommodates your motherboard. Fortunately, manufacturers adhere to industry standards, ensuring compatibility across the board. You only need to ensure that your case and motherboard adhere to the same standard. The most common standards for mid-tower and full-tower PCs are ATX, while Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX are smaller alternatives. For those with grander ambitions, the E-ATX SSI-EEB standard offers even more space. The diagram below illustrates the dimensions of these motherboard sizes.
  • MINI-ITX: 170 x 170 mm
  • MICRO-ATX: 244 x 244 mm
  • ATX: 305 x 244 mm
  • E-ATX SSI-EEB: 305 x 330 mm
Remember, you can install a smaller motherboard in a larger case, which can provide additional benefits like enhanced cooling options and more drive bays. Your choice ultimately depends on your available space and specific requirements.
PSU Compatibility
Ensuring your case is suitable for your Power Supply Unit (PSU) is equally important. PSUs come in various standard sizes, including ATX, SFX, and TFX. For micro-ATX PSUs, there is no specific standard, so they often use ATX PSUs. Be aware that extremely high-wattage PSUs, such as 1200W and above, might require a case with an extra-long PSU bay. To be certain, check the specifications tab on our product page.

ATX

SFX

TFX

Cooling Capabilities
A well-designed case does more than safeguard your components; it efficiently cools your system, ensuring it remains quiet and optimally functional. While every case is designed for air cooling, some offer additional features for water-cooled setups.
Best Cases for Air Cooling
Even budget-friendly cases typically include fan mounts and fans. For entry-level PCs, a single exhaust fan at the back or top is often sufficient. High-end PCs, however, demand more fans, some for drawing in cool air and others for expelling hot air. Select a case with adequate fan mounts, preferably accommodating 120 or 140mm fans, as they are more efficient than smaller ones. Leading case manufacturers like Corsair typically indicate the number of supported fans on their product pages.
If you plan to use a large CPU heatsink, ensure the case provides sufficient space. You can find this information on the cooler's product page on the Scan website. Always leave some room for your motherboard and its standoffs.
Best Cases for Hydrocoolers
If you intend to use a CPU or GPU with an all-in-one hydrocooler, select a case with the appropriate radiator mounts. Hydrocoolers come in three main size groups: 120/140mm with a single fan, 240/280mm with two fans, and 360/420mm with three fans. You can check each case's radiator size compatibility on the product page of the case on the Scan website.
Best Cases for Custom Water-Cooled PCs
Custom water-cooling adds complexity, as it necessitates ample space for radiators, pumps, reservoirs, and tubing. While some cases offer dedicated mounting points for these components, others require creative placement. In the world of custom water-cooling, bigger cases are often better, offering more room for components and an easier building process.
Drive Bays
Finally, consider your PC's drive requirements. Modern cases may omit external drive bays, so if you need a DVD or Blu-ray drive, ensure your case has a 5.25-inch external bay. For hard drives and SSDs, evaluate the number of internal 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch drive bays available.
Your PC case is the canvas upon which you'll create your ultimate computing masterpiece. At Hardware Hunt, we're here to guide you toward making the right choice, ensuring your PC runs seamlessly and looks great while doing it.
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