Cases, Cabinets and Enclosures
Computer cases come in many types and styles, some are pretty and functional, while others are just pretty ugly.
The question isn’t whether your computer’s case is pretty or not, as beauty is only skin deep even with computers. The real question is whether or not your case is able to do the job it is supposed to do, and do it right? Odd question, right? Not really!
Isn’t it amazing how technology has changed us. We jumped from computers that once filled rooms to one’s small enough to be held in the palm of our hands. We feel completely comfortable with this transition, almost taking it for granted, and each and every day we look for them to evolve even more. We bring them home or into the office, place them on or under the desk and then expect them to cheerfully greet us every day when we turn them on or wake them up. But what is it like inside that sheet metal box that houses all of those expensive computer components? Is everything crammed together so tightly that your PC can barely breathe? Are the fans turning? Is that hot processor receiving the cool air that it needs? Although your PC is not made of flesh and blood, it does live and it needs to breathe!
We routinely receive questions from customers about cases styles, and most people view their computer’s case with three thoughts in mind: Does it look nice? Can I get all of the components I want or need into it? Will it fit where I want to put it? Unfortunately nearly always the really important issues are overlooked or ignored completely. Here’s some additional thoughts.
- Does the case allow you easy access to the components inside in the event you need to open it?
- Does the case have adequate space for the components without having to cram everything together?
- Does the case provide adequate cooling for all components?
- Does the power supply provide adequate power for the installed components, and is it “clean”, stable and free of fluctuations?
- Does the case permit any way of filtering out dust?
- Is the case well made without a multitude of sharp edges?
We have assembled a group of case types and styles that we feel have not only good eye appeal, but also do the job they were designed to do. Our selected groups of cases range from slim-line desktops through mini, mid, full and extended full tower styles, and our server enclosures range from small file and standard server types to full rack enclosures. Before looking through the different cases though, take a few moments and consider these additional issues.
Ease of Access
Although most people feel they have no need to open their computer case, the ease of doing so is important. All computer cases should be opened regularly to insure that fans are working properly and there are no accumulations of dust and debris to impair air flow and cooling. This is especially true in environments were animals, such as dogs and cats, are free to roam. Animal hair can accumulate on circuit boards. In high humidity areas, animal hair can conduct current and short out a component. As for opening and closing the case, this should not require any form of gymnastics or specialized tools. If your case requires more than a single screw driver to turn a couple of screws or the turn of a thumb screw or two by hand, you’re working too hard.
With all of the varied case styles available today, there is absolutely no reason to cram components into a case. Doing so only places heat generating components closely together, and when you add ribbon cables, power cables and everything else, proper airflow will be impeded no matter how many fans are operating. You should be able to easily draw cool air in from the front of the computer and over the components to cool them and then exhaust it at the rear of the case.
One factor in providing adequate component cooling is insuring that there is enough free space inside your computer’s case as we mentioned above. An important factor is having an adequate number of cooling fans inside the case to insure that an adequate amount of cool air is drawn into the case and then exhausted from it. Extra fans are then added in strategic areas to cool components that generate abnormal amounts of heat. Focus first on those items creating the greatest amount of heat.
A few of these heat generators would be: The power supply, processor (CPU), high energy AGP video cards, high end sound cards, fast hard drives in the 7,200 to 10,000 RPM range, motherboards with voltage regulating modules onboard, and to a lesser degree, CD-RW drives and DVD Drives.
Placing a fan and heat sink on a processor (especially an AMD processor), a fan inside the power supply and another at the rear of the case is rarely adequate. You should also take into consideration unusual environments, such as those where the room temperature is 75 degrees Fahrenheit or greater. It is not unusual for the air temperature inside the computer case to be at least 50 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit higher than then air outside of the case.
Many people, including experienced technicians, have blamed their fatal blue screen experiences on cheap RAM, unstable drivers, or Windows itself, when in fact the problem was really power supply related. Shortly after the Athlon-based systems began arriving on the scene their were a multitude of problems, most of which were attributed to everything except the real culprit, power supplies and their lack of ample wattage. For a short time this emphasized the need for clean, well regulated power.
Making sure that you are using only seventy (70%) to eighty (80%) percent of the total capacity of your power supply can actually save you money, as the unit will run cooler and more efficiently than one that is being pushed to its limits. Power regulation is critical to your computer’s components. The better the power regulation, the closer the power supply comes to its optimum voltage. Optimum power regulation would be values within one (1%) percent on all output lines. Do you know how much power your components actually require? Click here and try our Power Supply wattage requirements calculator.
Adequate Air Filtering
If you intend to place your computer in an environment that may have high dust concentrations or where there may be animal hair from dogs and cats, you may want to select a case that provides for some form of air filtration.
The construction quality of the case you choose can be easily determined. Do all of the case components fit correctly? Do the side doors and front and rear panels attach easily and mate properly? Are there any steel burrs, slivers or razor sharp edges? The quality of any system begins with the case!
If your case cuts you, it doesn’t make the cut here at our facilities!
Click a menu choice to the left to find the case style you need!