Selecting a Cheap Computer Case

Selecting a cheap computer case can be overwhelming since there is such a wide variety available.

A computer case houses all the main components of the computer system. The case is also called the chassis. After deciding on what type of computer system you intend to build, choosing the right case is extremely important.

The Desktop and the Tower are the two main basic designs of the computer case.

The desktop design lost popularity but, today, it is regaining its popularity through the introduction of home theater PCs (HTPC).

You can use the desktop case if you want your computer to be on top of your desk. The monitor could then be placed on top of it to save some space.

The disadvantage of this computer case is that it does not have enough drive bays and interior space for major upgrades.

The tower is the most popular computer case today. It comes in three basic sizes - the micro, mid and full.

  • Micro:
    The micro sized cheap computer case can be conveniently placed on top of a desk. This case can hold a microATX or miniITX motherboard but due to its limited internal volume, it is not suitable for upgrading.
  • Mid:
    This is the most popular size and is an excellent choice for all computer users whether for business or personal use. The mid-tower has plenty of space for upgrading.

  • Full:
    This is an excellent choice to be used as a server or for gaming. Because of its size, it requires more space for installation but allows easier access for installing and removing internal components. It has a very large amount of space for upgrading.

    This case houses the ATX motherboard. There are unusual sized motherboards of which the Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7 is one such type. It is an XL-ATX form factor which is larger than the Extended ATX (E-ATX).
    Therefore, if you happen to like this motherboard, you should first ensure that the case you purchase is compatible.

Buying a Cheap Computer Case - What to look out for:

  • Ensure that your case is sturdy and will fit into your designated space. Avoid plastic cases. My choice is aluminium since it is lighter and dissipates heat quicker.

  • Choose an ATX form factor computer case. A new form factor namely BTX was introduced but apparently it 'fell by the wayside'. There are ATX full tower versions that are non-standard for installation of certain motherboards such as the Gigabyte GA-890FXA-UD7 that is an XL-ATX form factor.

  • Computer cases rarely come with reasonable sized power supplies that can handle most of your system requirements with some reserve for future upgrades. You can view my Cheap Computer Power Supply Guide here.

  • ALWAYS ensure that your choice of motherboard and power supply is compatible with your computer case form factor.

  • Proper cooling is extremly important. High-end computer systems can generate a lot of heat. Therefore, the case needs to have sufficient cooling to ensure that your PC will run efficiently and your components will last longer.

  • Try to get a computer case with a removable motherboard tray to enable easier installation of your motherboard.

  • There should be sufficient external 5.25 drive bays for your different optical drives such as DVD-ROM, CD burners and DVD burners. Multiple 3.5 inch internal drive bays for hard disk drives and one external 3.5 inch drive bay for a media card reader.

    If there are not enough drive bays, you will not be able to expand your system in the future.

  • Ensure that there is ample ventilation such as case fans and vents. Also, if case fans are not included with your computer case, check to see that there are available ports for installing fans. Check out some great deals on cheap PC fans here.
  • Today's high tech gaming systems using multiple video cards in SLI or Crossfire configurations generate excessive heat. Normal air cooling is insufficient to keep these "monsters" at normal operating temperatures hence the need for liquid cooling.

  • A liquid cooling system has to be safely and properly installed since we all know that the slightest leak can be devastating (electricity + liquid = short circuit).

  • If you intend to install liquid cooling in your system, "please do not cut corners". Acquire a reputable one.

  • Choose an aluminium case because this material dissipates heat better than other materials.

  • Get a cheap computer case with front USB, FireWire and audio ports. This will provide the convenience of connecting accessories such as digital cameras, camcorders, etc. instead of having to move your computer to gain access to the rear.


Your cheap computer case should:

  • Be durable.
  • Be well designed.
  • Be upgradeable.
  • Have adequate cooling capabilities.
  • Portray your personality.

Click here to read about the functions of the computer case.

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using cheap computer parts click here.

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