Computer case

Корпус для компьютера

Today we'll talk about such an important thing as the computer case. The case is the foundation of our PC and its choice should be approached with all seriousness.

Often, the whole computer system is called the hull for the computer, and this is not true! The case is a metal shell on which all the components of our computer are mounted. It is sometimes called a "case". The function of the enclosure is also included;

  1. protection of the "insides" of the system unit from external physical impact
  2. support of the optimal temperature regime (with the correct organization of cooling)
  3. shielding of electromagnetic radiation generated by a working PC

If we immediately divide all the cases for a computer into two large categories, then we will classify server solutions for the first, and for the second, all the rest (computer users' computers).

Here, for example, what the case of one of our servers in the organization looks like. This is a model from Hewlett-Packard HP ProLiant ML150:

To save space, I combined two photos into one. As you can see, this is quite an expensive "toy" (albeit obsolete). This case has a lockable front panel, under which are conveniently located three 5.25-inch bay (for optical disks or - "pockets") and six compartments for 3.5 inches (for installing hard disks ). With this design, it is very easy to remove and install.

But what does the case of our server look like in comparison with a 15-inch CRT monitor:

Large enough and spacious inside. Is not it?

So, what we see here:

  • two separate dual-core Intel Xeon processors (circled in red)
  • good server power supply for 650 watts
  • three PCI-X slots on the motherboard

Notice how the tapping outside the warm air casing heated by the processors is organized. Processor fans are attached to one of the sides of the aluminum radiator and drive the heated air through a special plastic casing in the direction indicated by the three arrows. There it is picked up by a large 14-centimeter fan mounted on the back of the system unit (working on blowing), which "throws" heat out of the computer case.

Note: PCI-X expansion slots (development of PCI 64 standard) are used in high-performance systems, since having more pads (in fact, data lines) can provide a higher (in comparison with a conventional PCI interface) transmission rate. Electrically and physically they are compatible with most universal expansion cards of the old model.

Now we organize the separation of computer cases based on one more feature. I mean the case type "Desktop" (horizontal) and "Tower" (English "tower" - vertical).

Here, for example, such desktop (desktop - the computer intended for placing on a table) is in my house "museum of computer antiquities" and we affectionately call it "pony" :)

I think it's not necessary to paint anything separately, you see everything yourself. It is a horizontally located body in the space, whose height "at the withers" is about 15 centimeters :) Poking around inside such an exhibit (because of the construct) is not very convenient, and the possibilities for upgrading and expanding the functionality here are very limited.

This is, as a rule, the case of the standard micro-ATX (ATX - Advanced Technology Extended). Now this is the standard, and micro means only that the motherboard itself has a smaller size (specially for this setup). Micro-ATX boards can be easily installed in full-sized ATX cases, but not vice versa! Similar solutions also distinguish the horizontal location of the power supply and the built-in or low-profile external video card, not designed for "heavy" games.

Computer cases like "Tower" (vertically oriented in space), in turn, are also divided into different categories (depending on their size: height, width and length). You can meet quite a lot of names of frame sizes, I propose you to stay on the most "running" and popular on our market.

Again, here there are no clear standards (rather - recommendations) and if we try to reduce all the main form factors of computer cases to one table, then we will not succeed. First of all, because different information sources for the same product segment indicate slightly different values, and the manufacturer of enclosures can generally go beyond all tolerances, embodying another postulate of usability :)

But, for a landmark, we still give two tables (one to take from Wikipedia, another - also from an authoritative source), which will help us to determine the main form-factors of the buildings. We look at the tables below:

And here is another one (from another source).

What sizes of cases are What sizes of cases are

As you can see, the sizes are different. And sometimes - quite significantly! And so - everywhere. If we cite the third classification, then there will be a little bit differently. Therefore, I propose to consider them all as approximate and recommended values. And, as a purely practical alternative, - get acquainted with the selection of computer cases, which I built for you on one of the working tables in our IT department :)

These are cases of different years of release. Starting from the year 2000 (far left) and ending today. As you can see, despite the general miniaturization, their height has been increasing all the time. And this is logical: the height of the case is largely due to the size of the motherboard in it. A good motherboard (at the moment) can not be small.

Here are a few more angles of the same structure:

As you can see, the length of all products is also different, which confirms our idea that there is no clear standard for the dimensions of the enclosures within one form factor.

Now let's take a closer look at the results of their measurements carried out by us.

Let's start from left to right (from smaller):

Compare with the two tables above. As expected, the values ​​are different. We were finally convinced - we are not oriented on the classification, but choose based on what is convenient for us personally and for what our needs (components) we buy the case for the computer.

Personally, I chose for myself the case of the form factor "Midi-tower" called "Chieftec SH-01B-B". The firm "Chieftec" (Chiftek) is also known for the production of high-quality power supplies for computers.

I would like to illustrate the main advantages of good products in front of ... the rest with the example of this product :) Let's start with the photo:

I must say that I bought my case without a power supply unit (it is not included in the standard configuration). I already had a separate BP, so I was quite happy with this option. So, when buying, always specify whether your enclosure is equipped with a power supply unit! Also in the complete set of delivery the brass fastening plugs (in the form of hexagons with a thread inside) must necessarily go. They are screwed into special holes on the inner side wall of the case and serve to fix the motherboard.

This case cost me about $ 70. It is quite spacious, which allows me quite comfortable to perform any manipulation inside, without fear of touching an already installed part or scratching on the protruding elements. It is also well known that in a cramped case the computer components get hotter, and this can lead to overheating of the processor and not only, with all the ensuing ..

So, let's begin a more detailed description of this case, perhaps, with an indication of its size. I decided to add them (for completeness) to one of the previous tables. My "Chieftec" is highlighted in color. Here's what we got as a result:

As it turned out in my case, the width of the hull is also important. The fact is that the side section of the computer table at home was trite too narrow for the new "Chieftec SH-01B-B", although the old system unit (being a few centimeters already) was perfectly placed in it. It was necessary to modernize the table a little: expand the lower one and push the side wall to the right. So keep in mind the possibility of this development and immediately estimate the size of the furniture with a margin :)

Such cases are made of cold-rolled steel sheets, using the "Steel Electrogalvanized ColdRolled Coil" (SECC) process method, which consists in coating the steel covering (electro-galvanically) with a special zinc solution protecting the substrate from corrosion and mechanical influences.

We will continue to study our case. Side view:

As you can see, the side cover can be locked and equipped with a large number of ventilation holes, some of which can be equipped with additional fans to drain the computer generated heat.

The case itself (without a power supply unit) weighs 12.3 kilograms! So much because its steel walls have a thickness of 1 mm This powerful design provides reliability and significantly reduces the vibration of the system unit during operation. Vibration, not only that is annoying, can also be the reason for the unstable operation of the system as a whole.

Somehow it turned out that on such a case, for lack of chairs under my arms, I became and made the installation of cables at the ceiling (that's what the chief was now hearing-he was pushing on the cap, not otherwise), and the design was able to withstand a fairly long time all my 82 kilograms :)

And this separately - the side cover itself (its inner side and the lock device):

Now it's time to look under the lid :)

As you can see, the back wall of the case is directly littered with fixing holes, which allow to install a motherboard of almost any form factor on it, and the dimensions of the case allow it to comfortably accommodate even the "EATX" (Extended ATX - 305 x 330 mm) product.

From the photo above we see that on the back of the case there is a place for installing a 12-centimeter fan. You, I hope, remember that large fans (at a lower rotation speed) will provide more efficient operation and make noise less than their smaller and faster "brothers". After a larger span of blades provides more air, taken by the fan in one turn, and therefore - and a greater efficiency.

Also I want to draw your attention to the basket for hard drives, which is rotated at a 90 degree angle, which greatly facilitates their installation.

Here is a photo of the "basket" itself close-up:

It can be installed six devices (winchesters) with a width of 3.5 inches. Also we have the opportunity to fasten behind the hard drives two 8-centimeter fans, working on the blow-in, which will effectively cool the hard drives located in front of them.

And here's how the installation itself of the disk, sliding on special plastic "sleds", which are fastened with screws to both sides of it:

The installation of devices in 5-inch compartments also does not cause any difficulties, since there is a simple and convenient screwless fixing, which reliably fixes the optical drive in place. We can install here up to three devices with a width of 5.25 inches (DVD or Blu-ray).

We move aside the flexible plastic guide and (after positioning the drive) snap it in a special groove.

One of the signs of a cheap (not high-quality) computer case is the presence of breakable plugs under the expansion cards on its rear wall. Firstly - they can be wounded, and then - what to do with these holes in the future? Quality products are equipped with removable stubs, which are all fixed at the same time with a special steel clip.

There are also other (exotic) types of cases for the computer. And then the flight of thought designer is not limited to anything. Here, for example, is one of the variants of such "creativity" :)

There is a separate class of products called monoblocks. What it is? This monitor and computer, combined in one package. For example, here such an exhibit came to us recently on the table:

This is a candybar from HP. As you understand, it was a sin not to disassemble it and not to see how it is arranged inside everything? We are curious!

Made, as they say, for people: to remove the cover you need to unscrew just two screws! It's not for you to clean the laptop from dust - a bunch of screws of different sizes on five cramps raspihano :)

Twist two more and get full access to the motherboard!

Here is our mainboard:

I will say at once: a candy bar is not a game thing! There simply is no connector for a discrete graphics card, but for all other parameters - a good PC. Powerful cooling system allows you to install a modern CPU, a couple of slots for memory fully meet the need for an ever increasing number of it. There is a Wi-Fi module, a built-in network card , a card reader, a sufficient number of USB connectors, stereo speakers, headphone and microphone output, webcam, DVD-Rom. In short, a thing! It's nice to take in hands :)

Look at the pictures below. On them you can see a computer packed in an off-the-shelf case.

What general recommendations, besides those already outlined above, can be given to those users who decide to choose a good computer case for themselves? First of all, pay attention to the manufacturers of the product. Well-established in this market are brands: Chieftec Thermaltake, ASUS, 3Q, Cooler Master, Zalman, Antec, Corsair. The products of the following companies are also very popular: InWin, Foxconn, AeroCool, Gigabyte, Raidmax.

Since the frame (chassis) of the body is made of metal, it itself performs an additional function of the radiator, taking away and dissipating heat from the heating components. Elite models of cases are made of aluminum (the rest are made of steel), since aluminum has a much better ability to dissipate heat. In addition, it is much lighter than steel construction, although it costs more.

When selecting the computer case, also pay attention to such detail as the location of the power supply (top or bottom). From physics, we know that hot (warm) air rises, while the cold (less heated) air remains below. So it turns out that the bottom is cooler and the power supply installed in this way will work a little more efficiently, taking the blades of your cooler, which is not heated by the processor, external video card and other cards, air, but - cooler. Such an arrangement will also allow to slightly reduce the fan RPM speed and get rid of unnecessary noise.

The amount of dust entering the computer directly depends on the lifting of the system unit above the floor level. The higher - the less dust will seep inside. I do not agitate you to put the systemist on the table, but, for the sake of justice, it is worth noting that the computer of my parents located in this way draws in very little dust.

Thoughtfully it is necessary to relate to the location of power cables and data transmission inside the case. This is especially true for obsolete ATA / ATAPI trains. Chaotic their heaping breaks and disorganizes air flows inside. Proceeding from this, some manufacturers suggest to hide all this "economy" for the motherboard .

When choosing a computer case, do not forget about external connection ports. At the front of the computer case, you must have at least two USB connectors and ports for connecting headphones and a microphone. It's minimum. The more there will be a variety of connectivity options directly from the front panel (without having to dive into the depths of the systemist each time) - the better!