Log on to a technology site like Hackaday and you will be overwhelmed by the huge number of homemade computer cases that geeks around the world have made for themselves. These cabinets were made keeping the requirements of the user and the personal aesthetic choices in mind, but not everyone can spend time making cabinets like these. For those of you who are looking to buy a new cabinet, here are a few facts for you to consider.
Size matters, whether you are building an HTPC or Workstation. Depending on the hardware that you have planned for your computer, you should check whether a cabinet will be able to fit all of your hardware without overheating your motherboard or other hardware.
There should be ample space for the SMPS to be able to release the heat from the cabinet without heating up other parts. If you are going to use an external graphics card, you will definitely need a larger cabinet that can accommodate your card without overheating it, HTPC cases are a no-no if you are going to cards like the ATI Radeon HD6990.
Smaller and lighter cases are easier to carry around, so if you are someone who moves his computer around a lot, make sure that you buy one which is light enough for you to carry around from time to time with all your hardware inside.
If you have plans to upgrade in the future and if you have a huge number of hard drives at bay, you will definitely need a cabinet that has as many expansion slots as possible to accommodate your drives. Most cabinets today can accommodate at least 3 – 4 hard drives along with a DVD drive or two.
Most manufacturers bundle low-priced cabinets with SMPS, the power ratings on these drives are usually between 400-600 Watts – this is ample for powering a Core i3 device with a low end graphics card. Today’s high end graphics cards are major power sinks that consume most of the computer’s power. The SMPS on the low end cabinets will not last a month if you use a high end graphics card so consider a bundled SMPS with a cabinet only if you are planning on a low budget PC.
Cabinets from popular manufacturers like Antec and Cooler Master nowadays come with plastic screws that do not require a screwdriver. These are very handy in case you need to repair your motherboard or other parts at a time.
If you like to showcase your computer, you can go for cabinets that come with neon lighting or other eye candy. But be warned, these cabinets will cost you a fortune.
Always consider your budget and requirements before emptying your pockets as there are cabinets that cost almost the same as a low end motherboard and processor combo. Your cabinet should reflect your hardware instead of being a gold plated box with nothing inside it.