How Important is a Computer Case?

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The computer case is an integral part of any PC. It serves as the main part that contains all the other components of a computer.

Would you operate your computer with its interior parts exposed? It’s a hard NO for most people. But apart from housing the computer’s hardware, it also serves other needs.

1. Cooling

Perhaps the most important function of a PC case is cooling. A case needs to move enough air. Think of all the hours you put in working on your computer. It is bound to increase the internal temperatures of the hardware. When high temperatures persist in a computer, it decreases the lifespan of the components.

  • CPU Cooling

This is the brain of your computer. Whether you are interested in overclocking or not, the processor needs ample cooling. It is at the center of performance for your computer. The CPU performance is based on the speed of electronic impulses.

When the temperature increases, the movement of these electronic impulses slows down. It, in turn, causes the computer to compute incorrectly. When not corrected, the computer crashes.

This is where CPU cooling comes in. Most OEM CPUs from Intel and AMD come equipped with heat sinks and fans. But if the environment within the case is not ideal for cooling, the heatsinks and fans are deemed ineffective.

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Cases come with two fans as a standard feature. One is placed at the front to allow air intake while the other is at the back to allow exhaust of hot air. This feature is important in controlling the internal temperature of a case. You’ll also find cases that have mounting points at the back where you can add an extra fan for exhausting hot air.

If you are running a high-wattage system, you will want to pair it with a high-end case. Most budget cases are not equipped with enough fans to facilitate ample cooling.

As a reference point, 80mm and 120mm fans that run at full speed can dispose of 150W and 250W of heat respectively. At full speed, they can be very loud. When running quietly, an 80mm fan can dispose of 100W and 120mm fan will dispose of 150W of heat.

Note:

You should not leave the case open in the hope that it will make cooling better. Since there’s the need for puller fans and pusher fans, an open case has the wrong setup. Air blows out through the sides. It means hot air is not exhausted effectively. Hence, the components remain hot.

Other parts that need cooling include the motherboard and the graphics cards. If you are operating a normal system without overclocking, the heatsinks and fans that come with these components should be enough for effective cooling.

2. Protection

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The internal components need to be protected from the environment. Static electricity, dust, animals, etc. can damage a computer. A case needs to take on the impact that the parts cannot handle. That’s why you need to look at the case material.

  • Steel

This material is the most common in computer chassis. It is fairly priced. Steel provides decent cooling but is heavy. Although popular it is ideal if you don’t plan on moving your computer often.

  • Plastic

This material is also popular in budget cases. It is cheap and lightweight. However, it provides sub-par cooling. High wattage computers should steer away from a plastic case.

  • Aluminum

If you have a few more dollars to spare, you may want to invest in an aluminum chassis. Though expensive, it offers superior cooling while remaining lightweight. It is also durable material so no worries about future upgrades.

3. Minimize Noise

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Fans tend to produce lots of noise when operating at full speed. And if the fans in your system are not powerful enough, they will also create noise.

The case provides ample space for air to circulate. This way, it can dampen the noise that comes from the fans. The right size cabinet ensures that they can handle the demands of your system.

If noise is still an issue even with the right size fans, you need to consider better ways of soundproofing. These are stuff like acoustic dampening and acoustic foam sound absorption materials. These materials can come pre-installed. Or you can buy them separately and install them yourself.

The best acoustic soundproofing using open-cell foam instead of closed-cell foam. This is because open-cell foam can absorb sound waves. Instead of bouncing it around the case as closed-cell foam does. It’s important that the sound reduction product you choose be fireproof.

Remember that high temperatures can ignite a highly-flammable material. That’s why a soundproofing product should be computer-tested.

Noise can also be a result of loose grommets, screws, and sockets. If this is the case, take off the back of the case. Look at all attachments and tighten the loose parts. Replace missing and worn out grommets and gaskets.

4. Allow Accessibility

Computers can be complicated just by looking at the hardware. A case offers organization. It provides a location for every part. It allows you to access the ports easily. And repairs are simple because the setup is similar on each computer. All because of the case.

The ATX standard provides a universal computer format. Imagine how hard it would be to locate small chips if every manufacturer had their format.

5. Aesthetics

PC cases tend to lend themselves to different personalities. From gamer rigs replete with RGB lighting to workstations with modern understated tones. Most people want their PC case to be appealing as much as it performs.

Elegant designs range widely. From slim cases that have the graphics card re-positioned such that it is parallel with the motherboard. To those that feature tempered glass panels. This way, you can see the internal components but not in an invasive way.

A good-looking case does not come cheap. If you want cool color schemes, curved glass panels, and built-in LED lighting, you can expect to pay a premium price.

Conclusion

The computer case does not only support the location of internal components. But it also offers cooling and noise dampening performance. It puts an emphasis on the type of build you want to achieve. From full towers to small mini-ITX cases, they all serve the same purpose.

And if aesthetics is important, a case can go a long way in making sure that your rig and accessories match your desktop setup.

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