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Table Of Contents  How to Build Your Own PC - Save A Buck And Learn A Lot
 9  Chapter 2: Component Overview
      9  Case and Power Supply

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Case Sizes and Form Factors

Most do-it-yourselfers choose tower or mid-tower cases. Most builders also prefer the ATX form factor. Smaller cases are said to have a smaller footprint and they save space. However, larger cases offer more room for expansion options. And, working inside a larger case is somewhat easier.

I’d recommend choosing a quality mid-tower or full-tower ATX case for your first PC build. These cases are designed to be paired with any ATX mainboard.

Most cases will cost between $40 and $100. Unless mainboard manufacturers change the basic ATX case style in the future, your case should last a long time and serve you through several years of mainboard upgrades. Choosing a quality case is a good investment.

Many quality PC manufacturers, such as Gateway and Dell, use proprietary mainboards and case designs that have unique drilling patterns that connect the mainboard to the case. This means that many cases from big-name PC manufacturers are not as easily upgraded.

For example, if you have a Dell computer case, you won’t be able to replace an older mainboard with a newer mainboard from another manufacturer. You’ll need to upgrade with Dell boards only. From a consumer’s standpoint, this is somewhat undesirable because it means you can’t upgrade by just adding a standard, but newer and better, ATX mainboard in the future. If you find a really great deal on a standard ATX mainboard, you can’t just add it to your Dell case.

Building your own PC and using standard components will give you maximum upgrade potential. Choose the ATX form factor for your case.

With a standard ATX case, you’ll have the fullest range of upgrade options to newer, more powerful mainboards. This standardization of components, which allows easy upgrades, is one big advantage of building your own PC rather than buying one.


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How to Build Your Own PC (http://www.PCGuide.com/byop/) on PCGuide.com
Version 1.0 - Version Date: May 4, 2005

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