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Computer Cases: Fundamentals of the Most Overlooked Component
By: Remco Degooyer
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    Table of Contents:
  • Computer Cases: Fundamentals of the Most Overlooked Component
  • Fan Placement and Airflow
  • Materials: Aluminum or Steel
  • Case Size and Noise Reduction
  • Drive Rails, Appearance, and Extras

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    Computer Cases: Fundamentals of the Most Overlooked Component

    (Page 1 of 5 )

    The computer case has been a constant basis of debate for as long as computers have existed in the public market. When buying parts, computer builders must balance between case price, appearance, and functionality. There are some aspects of shopping for cases that people may not be fully aware of. Remco Degooyer explores these case fundamentals in this article.

    To many the outer shell that houses the computerís components is just that: a shell. For many users, the box is what holds your components in the proper place for proper use. The style or color of the unit is irrelevant, so long as it performs as itís designed to. So long as the motherboard, the hard disk drives, and the optical drives can be securely installed, the outer aesthetics of the case are a matter of vanity, not performance.

    For the most part this is correct.

    The coloration of the case (beige or black typically), the presence of a case window, and other superfluous details do not impact the performance of the computer hardware in any way. However, the placement and location of front input jacks, the impact of the case design on proper airflow, and vibration absorbing materials (as well as the use of steel or aluminum or plastic) are factors important to any serious power user.

    Fan Placement and Airflow

    The presence, or lack, of proper airflow from the front to the rear impacts the consistent stability of the overall system. The lack of cool air moving over the components greatly affects the longevity and performance of the computer. Typically, computers come with a minimum of two standard cooling fans. One is located in the power supply to draw cool air in and over the electronic components of the power supply unit (PSU). The other is located atop a heatsink, above the precious central processing unit (CPU). Both of these fans are positioned to draw cool air in over components whose heat level is of such critical importance that there is no other option than to have these fans present.

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