Discover more about the wide variety of computer cases available.
Computer cases are the boxy, rectangular molds into which all of a computer's external wires are plugged. There is a wide variety of computer cases on the market, each with its own purpose.
There are five types of standard computer cases, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. According to ComputerHope.com, there are four standard types of computer cases:
Servers can operate in any standard case, but there are two cases specifically designed for server use: rack-mount and blade. Rack-mount cases fit into standard racks designed to fit a series of servers or electronics equipment. . These cases are broad and flat and look like a pizza box. Blade server cases are similar to a rack system but are even more streamlined; they have only the most basic of components and slide vertically into a blade housing.
Rack-mount cases are classified according to size. A standard rack-mount is 1U, meaning it takes up one unit of space within the rack. There are 2U, 3U and so on, each taking up a specific amount of space. The 1U case is the most efficient, and the larger cases are typically used only if the user needs a component that is too big to fit within a 1U case. Blade servers are a standard size, but their enclosures are not. Some may take only a few blades, while others may take 40 or more.
With standard computer cases, the type of case used determines what sort of motherboard may go into that machine. Because the motherboard type determines everything else about the internal components of the system, a case's size is often expressed as its specification rather than its actual dimensions.
Most standard cases fit the Advanced Technology Extended (ATX) specification, currently the most common style of motherboard, or some variation based on size. According to Form Factors, larger tower-type cases work well for the Balanced Technology Extended (BTX) specification, which is designed to expand by increasing the number of system slots. Smaller computer cases may take Micro or Flex ATX specifications.
With servers cases, generally the type of enclosure used is based on the needs of the system. Both rack-mounts and blades are very space efficient. Blades are more integrated and often are set to act like a single system. Rack-mounts are more independent and work well as several independent servers.
Many online stores have a wide selection of computer cases, detailed pictures of the interior of the cases, and descriptions of the various materials inside. All of these cases should have a detailed description of size, form factor, weight and other essential information. Buyers should avoid purchasing from retailers that do not provide all the required information.
Price is an important factor in determining the overall quality of a case. Low-end and less expensive cases are made mostly of pressed steel and aluminum. These cases are light and easy to produce but provide very little support or protection to the internal components. More expensive cases will have high grade aluminum panels with steel reinforcements and more user-friendly internal compartments.