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The system case, sometimes called the chassis or enclosure, is the metal and plastic box that houses the main components of the computer. Most people don't consider it a very important part of the computer (perhaps in the same way they wouldn't consider their own skin a very important body organ). While the case isn't as critical to the system as some other computer components (like the processor or hard disk), it has several important roles to play in the functioning of a properly-designed and well-built computer.
The case doesn't appear to perform any function at all, at first glance. (I mean, it's a box!) However, this definitely isn't true; the case is in fact much more than just a box. The case has a role to play in several important areas:
Note: A spacious, well laid-out
case is a critical part of proper system cooling. Small cases require components to be
packed close together, which worsens cooling in two ways. First, air flow through the case
is reduced because it is blocked by the components. Second, the parts are closer together
so there is less space for heat to radiate away from the devices that are generating it. This procedure has tips about how to properly lay
out a new PC in the case.
In terms of its actual operation, the case doesn't of course do a lot. It does have switches and the above-mentioned status lights.
Next: Parts of the System Case