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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | System Case | Styles and Sizes ]

Proprietary Case Designs

In addition to the standard case styles, there are some machines that use totally unique designs. Some Compaq models for example have the monitor and case in one large box. These machines are generally marketed to the home user or first-time buyer as a "home appliance" and the idea is supposed to be that this is "simpler" than having the monitor be in a separate box. The disadvantage of this design, aside from the fact that it is totally proprietary and therefore hard to upgrade, is that if you want to upgrade your PC you lose your monitor, and similarly, if you decide your monitor is too small and want a larger one, you have a problem because your PC is in the same box. I strongly recommend against integrated units because of their inflexibility.

A mid-sized file server case, with the lockable front panel opened
to show the nine 5.25" drive bays. A variety of server features such
as hot swapping and redundant power supplies are supported.
Note the wheels at the base of the unit, which weighs 56 pounds empty.
(Enlight's EN-8960)

Image Enlight Corporation
Image used with permission.

For servers and other high-end machines, special cases much larger than standard full towers are available. These large cases often incorporate special features such as locking front covers, slide-out drive bays and wheels (since they are heavy). They can cost as much as an entire regular PC by themselves. In addition to server-oriented full-sized cases, there are special enclosures for such things as RAID (disk) arrays available from major case manufacturers.

Next: Comparison of Case Styles

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