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Side view of an NZXT Phantom 630 computer case

NZXT Phantom 630 Desktop Computer Case (Side View)


What is a Case?

The computer case serves mainly as a way to physically mount and contain all of the actual components inside of a computer.

Cases typically come bundled with a power supply.

The Case is Also Known As

tower, box, housing, chassis, cabinet

Important Case Facts

Motherboards, computer cases and power supplies all come in different sizes called form factors. All three must be compatible to work properly together.

Many computer cases, especially ones made of metal, contain very sharp edges. Be very careful when working with an open case to avoid serious cuts.

When a computer repair person says "just bring the computer in" they are typically referring to the case and what's inside of it, excluding any external keyboard, mouse, monitor or other peripherals.

The housing of a laptop, netbook, or tablet is also considered a case but since they aren't purchased separately or very replaceable, the computer case tends to refer to the one that's part of a traditional desktop PC.

Popular Case Manufacturers

Xoxide, NZXT, Antec

Case Description

The front of the computer case contains a power button and sometimes a reset button. Small LED lights are also typical, representing the current power status, hard drive activity and sometimes other internal processes. These buttons and lights connect directly to the motherboard which is secured to the inside of the case.

Cases usually contain multiple 5.25 inch and 3.5 inch expansion bays for optical drives, floppy disk drives, hard drives and other media drives. These expansion bays are located at the front of the case so, for example, the DVD drive be easily reached by the user when in use.

At least one side of the case, perhaps both, slide or swing open to allow access to the internal components. For instructions on opening a case, see How To Open a Standard Screw Secured Computer Case.

The rear of the computer case contains small openings to fit the connectors contained on the motherboard which is mounted inside. The power supply is also mounted just inside the back of the case and a large opening allows for the connection of the power cord and use of the built-in fan. Fans or other cooling devices may be attached to any and all sides of the case.

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