The computer case is the housing for your system, it offers protection against the elements and can either hide or display the inner workings of your PC. Cases have moved on from the heavy metal beige or black cases. There are plenty of different sizes, formats with plenty of colourful if your a gamer or modder.
Many people use a small PC elsewhere in the home connected to the TV or doing a certain function and they are small and discreet or larger and proud.
ATX form factor is the current standard for motherboard/case layouts. Before ATX there were AT cases which handled the early 8086-Early systems.
Cases can be bought in different sizes such as midi towers, full tower, server tower and desktop cases. However the common options are either mid tower or desk top cases. You may consider either depending on the place of use so that you can achieve better use of space.
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If you are regularly inside your PC swapping things over or testing things you may decided a larger case is better, as it allows you more space. To get things in and out more easily and to give you extra space for additional drives.
Cases start from £10 and climb to well over £100 dependant on the materials and the rated power supply. For a typical mid tower case with a Power Supply (PSU) you should be looking at around £40min.
You can go cheaper but we would not advise you do so mainly as cheaper cases can be poorly made and are not finished correctly. As a result the case can be dangerous to carry or when installing hardware your fingers could be sliced on rough edges.
It is for these reasons that most builders will pay extra for a branded or well built case. As they know it will be finished well and has good specifications and features. The build quality has improved now but it a nasty edge or lip can cause some nasty swearing and slices, so take care you hear.
PC Cases are not available in Beige anymore! That is a VERY good thing beleive me. The heavy bulky metal boxes were horrible. I used to say the only reason for the case was to take the weight of the old heavy style monitor. Back in the day when the case would be horizontal and the beast of a beige or black CRT monitor was placed ontop - YUCK!
Cases are now made from various materials including Steel, Aluminium, or Plastic in a variety of colours in various different shapes and sizes. Some may come with extra features such as Window Modifications for those so inclined. Most standard tower cases include 2-3 drive bays, the older cases had more, but now with smaller SSD and others, space and weight is much better and less space is needed.
Back in the day the space needed for a CD or DVD player or burner yes we would copy or burn to DVD, before Bluray. But now it is common for towers to not include a drive. If one is included it might be a slimline, or nothing as less people use them. If you need one you would need to source a USB version.
Every system needs a Power Supply (PSU) to bring their system to life. These have also evolved in a similar way to the case market. Before they came in standard casing and were rated at various low speeds of 200W, 235W or 300W. With systems now running at over 4GHZ and with muliple cores/processors, with faster motherboards, faster power graphic cards and additional devices power supplies are now available with ratings over 800W.
Most PSUs come with built-in fans to help keep the components cool and working efficiently. Although the size of PSUs has not changed greatly they are available in various colours often with coloured fans.
We would recommend a supply of at least 350-400W dependant on the type of user/use. And of course for higher end systems a higher supply.
Prices for PSUs are around £20, but it is worth paying a little more and opt for a branded supplies as they are often tested more thoroughly and often come with a warranty and are sometimes quieter than cheaper units.