Building your own computer has a number of powerful benefits. Those benefits include saving money, choosing the exact parts you need, and learning a lot about computers in the process.
But before you build a PC, you’ll need to choose the right case. And if you have ever shopped around for PC cases before, then you know there are an overwhelming number of options and designs available on the market.
Case prices range between $50 and $200, although there are some higher-end cases that are priced well beyond that range.
So how can you make sure you choose the perfect case for your needs? Here are some things to pay attention to when shopping for a PC case:
Today, almost all PC cases come with fans pre-installed. These fans blow cool air over your components and blow hot air out the back. But some cases are better at managing air flow than others. Some cases might only include one side fan, for example, while others have fans along the top, back, front and sides.
If you’re using your PC for gaming, then you absolutely need good cooling support, and you should spend a few extra bucks today to ensure your video card doesn’t melt when you’re playing Crysis 3.
But if you’re just using your computer for everyday tasks like Office applications or internet browsing, your fans will hardly have to do any work.
Case + power supply combos
Many cases come with a power supply included and pre-installed. However, if your case costs less than $200, then this power supply is generally not worth the price. Case manufacturers throw in a cheap power supply that tends to fail within 1 to 2 years.
But if you’re looking to save money on building a computer, then case + power supply combos can provide good value – just be prepared to replace that power supply within the next year or so.
Noisy PCs can sound like a jet engine about to take off. Quiet PCs are virtually inaudible. Most of the time, the difference between a noisy PC and a loud PC lies in case design. Larger cases are louder than smaller cases because fan sounds bounce around and amplify. But some smaller cases include pre-installed fans that are loud enough to be annoying. Be sure to read user reviews to find out how loud your new PC case may be.
If you really hate to listen to a loud PC – or if you just want the best possible cooling technology – then you’ll want to purchase a water-cooled case. Water-cooled cases are more expensive, but if you need to keep your PC components cool while performing intensive tasks (like gaming), water-cooling is the way to go. Expect to pay significantly more for a water-cooled case – around the $200 to $350 range.
Display and readout information
Some premium cases will display important information in a special display at the top of the case. That information includes temperature readouts, air speed, and even information about your hard drives, among other things. This display looks cool, but will you actually use it?
Lights and other accessories
Today, many case manufacturers spruce up their case by including LEDs and other cool lighting technology all over the place. Like many of the other features listed here, these lights can look cool (especially if your PC is in a dark room). But is it worth the premium price?
What’s wrong with budget cases?
When shopping, you’ll see a number of cases in the lower-end range. You can find plenty of cases priced between $50 to $80, and you may even be lucky enough to find cases that cost less than that. What’s wrong with these cases? Why are they so cheap? Well, most budget cases only have one major shortcoming:
-They look boring
That’s it? Well, no. But it’s the main problem that budget cases users encounter. Your PC will lack the ‘wow’ factor that makes the hearts of PC gaming aficionados melt. But if you’re not showing off your PC to friends, then who cares?
Of course, some lower-end cases come with other problems, and you’ll have to look up individual case reviews in order to make the right decision. Here are some other problems that cases in the super low budget range will encounter:
-Low quality manufacturing that falls apart after a few years
-If the budget case includes a power supply, don’t expect it to last for very long
-There could be fewer fan slots and worse air ventilation
Are higher end cases worth the high price?
There are some cosmic-looking cases out there. The ones pictured below cost $800 and up. Should the average PC user buy a top-end PC case? Probably not. But if you have money to burn, a higher-end PC case will make your computer look fantastic.
The main advantage of buying a higher end case includes:
-Custom designs, engravings, and even paintings on some cases
-Pre-installed high power fans that provide silent cooling
-Some top-end cases have water cooling support
-Full LED lighting
-Front display which shows information about the system, like temperature or fan speed
-That ‘wow’ factor that will make other PC users jealous