selecting case gaming PC

Selecting Ideal Case for Your Gaming PC

When it comes to a standard gaming PC build, few elements are more important than the case selected. There are a few different case formats you may consider for your PC, and your choice here will depend on several factors, including the size of your machine and a few others.

At Xidax, we’re here to assist our clients with all their gaming needs, including not only providing the very best gaming PC products in the industry, but also recommending quality accessories like cases and others for any of your machinery. What are some of the important variables to consider as you select a case for your gaming PC? Here are several.

Case Size — Based on Motherboard

Size will obviously be one of the first major factors you’re thinking about for any PC case, and a primary element to keep in mind here is the size of your device’s motherboard. Generally speaking, you’re going to want a case with adequate space for your board, which means it’ll have to be big enough to fit the circuit in. What if the case is too small? You won’t even be able to connect any of the ports on the device!

Motherboards come in several sizes, which are known in the industry as their “form factor.” The most common form factor is ATX, which is essentially a standard-sized motherboard; from here, other styles include Micro ATX (mATX), Mini ITX (mITX) and the Extended ATX (E-ATX), the first two of which are smaller than the ATX while the latter is significantly wider and fatter.

With these sizes in mind, here are the typical case size configurations for PC cases today:

  • Mini ITX Tower: This option supports mITX and mATX motherboards and is suitable for smaller builds, including HTPCs.
  • Mini Tower: This supports most mATX and ATX motherboards and stands about 22 inches high.
  • Mid Tower: This case supports ATX, mATX and some E-ATX boards in a mid-sized build.
  • Full Tower: Ideal for PCs with larger or multiple video cards, the full tower also works well with oversized components like full-sized PSUs and extended ATX boards.

The Mid Tower case is likely the most popular option among computer gamers, as it supports a full-sized ATX motherboard and has sufficient space for any kind of other hardware, including multiple video cards. It’ll also look great against any setup.

If you’re going the Mini route, it’s important not to confuse the Mini Tower for the Mini ITX case. The latter is a much smaller device that only supports mITX boards, while this one is a little bigger and has room to fit a standard-sized motherboard.

Once you’ve selected your case size, you can move to other important case selection factors.

Airflow Considerations

One of the most important elements for any gaming PC case is airflow. If your device isn’t properly ventilated, all of the hardware inside will quickly overheat and shut down –– and if you’re a serious gamer or other type of power user, this can be devastating!

The most common configuration for PC cases today involves air vents that allow airflow from the front to the back of the PC when it’s powered on. These are known as “positive pressure” cases, and they typically have a maximum of one or two fans installed at the front for optimal performance. They also typically have a mesh front panel rather than a solid one.

If you want a completely airtight case, one without any visible airflow vents and which has a solid front panel, you’ll be going for a “negative pressure” configuration instead. These cases only have holes at the back for exhaust and will typically have more fans installed –– sometimes up to six 80mm units! These tend to be more expensive to purchase due to the increased number of components.

Even if you go with a positive pressure case, make sure there are a few vents for airflow at the top and back of the device as well, though three or more bottom-mounted fans will probably cause some serious performance issues.

Number of Fans

As we just touched on, the number of fans involved in your PC case is a very important consideration. While you should have at least one fan installed in the front of your PC for positive airflow, there are several other options to consider.

There’s no single “right” answer here, as how many fans you choose will depend not only on your PC and its components, but also on the power level of the fans you use. The larger the PC case you choose, the more fans you can install without overtaxing your system; furthermore, high-power fans (such as those rated at 80+ decibels) will be able to cool the system better.

For most mid-range gaming PC builds, between two and four fans is the general recommendation. Extra fans will help with overclocking and other advanced operations; they’ll also prolong the lifespan of your components by keeping them cooler than usual during high-end usage scenarios.

On the other hand, too many fans may start to cause significant problems. You can’t expect an 80mm or 120mm fan to work as well as an 80+ decibel fan, for example, so don’t feel tempted to crank up the number of fans you have installed.

Case Style and Ports

Finally, you’ll also want to consider what type of case style you want to go with. You have tons of options here, including those with see-through side panels, built-in fan lighting, and more.

Whatever style you decide is best for your device, make sure all of the external ports (such as USB and headphone jacks) are easily accessible. It’s also recommended that they be located at the front or back of the PC case instead of on one of its sides in order to prevent accidentally breaking them.

For more on how to select the ideal case for your gaming PC, or to learn about any of our gaming desktops, laptops or other products, speak to the staff at Xidax today.