Cases & Power Supply

How Big Is Your Computer?

When we think of a computer, we really are thinking of its caseA case, by the way, does not have to be a big square box. There are all kinds of different shapes and sizes.. That's what we really see. We rarely look inside; we just see the box from the outside. And yet, we rarely think about the case very much.

Nevertheless, the case is sometimes the most important thing for someone buying a computer. Does the computer look cool? How big and heavy is it? Where will I put it--on top of my desk, or under it? Will it stand up, or lay on its side?

The purpose for a case is not always what we think. Most people think that it helps keep dust out, but that's not true--computers get very dusty inside. Cases are more to keep people from touching sensitive parts, and to make the computer look nicer.

The size of a case for a desktop computer depends on what you want to put into it. If you don't need a video card, added features, or extra storage drives, then a smaller case is usually best. For a smaller computer, a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboard is best.

Some people like to expand, however. For example, your computer could have a DVD drive and a Blu-ray drive, and you could add several extra HDDs. Using RAID technology, for example, four HDDs could be joined together to act as a group, making one group drive which could either be 4x faster or 4x larger. Many people also like to install high-end video cards to allow for faster video and gameplay, and add other cards to increase the number of ports and other features.

All of these expansions require extra room, however, so a Standard ATX motherboard and a large case (such as the one pictured above) could allow for this. In addition, you can expand at any time you like--you don't have to do everything at the start.

Thirst for Power

All of that extra equipment requires more power, however. A normal computer might have a power supplyThe power supply takes the electric supply from your wall power socket, and changes it to a type which is required by your computer. The power supply has many cables to give power to the mohterboard, drives, and other parts. rated at 300 watts. However, if you want to use a fairly strong video card, then you will need at least a 450 W power supply, or perhaps stronger. If you are making your own computer, then you will want to count up the power needs of all the parts you think you will add--and then get a power supply that can give more than that, in case you want to expand more in the future.

When you are buying computer parts, you will find that many cases have a power supply included. This not only makes it easier (you don't have to install the power supply), but it also means you will save money, as the parts together are usually cheaper.