What’s special about a case?

Besides the fact that it holds your computer together and keeps your parts cool so your system functions well over a period of time, not much. But among computer enthusiasts, the case is the main, if not only, aesthetic component of the computer. However, there is much more to a case than pure aesthetics. The truth is (at least currently), most “nice-looking” cases are also very cooling-efficient as well. On the contrary, most ugly cases have terrible cooling and will not protect the components of your computer well. While we cannot judge the quality of a case based on its looks, we almost can judge the endurance of the components inside by the outside.

Case Categories

For those new to computer case specifications, here’s a quick rundown:

Computer cases are classified mainly by two things: size and motherboard support. Size is usually “mid-tower, full tower, etc.” which basically is a general indication of the cubic size of the case – but do keep in mind that each case is different, so one mid-tower might be slightly larger than another mid-tower, but both are still considered mid-towers. Motherboard support generally refers to the type of motherboard you can fit inside, and this is probably the most important specification when it comes to computer cases. Often when you build a computer, you pick the motherboard that will support the components you want your computer to have. Once you have selected your components, you select a case that will fit the motherboard. For this reason, I will list my favorite cases by order of motherboard support.

MicroATX Case

NZXT Vulcan

NZXT Crafted Series Vulcan

Size: Mid Tower
Dimensions (L x W x H): 16.00″ x 7.00″ x 16.60″
Supported Motherboard Size(s): MICRO-ATX
Material used: Steel / Plastic
Cooling: 2 x 120mm fans included, supports up to three 120mm fans, a 92mm rear fan, and a 200mm side fan
Tool-less Assembling: Nope
External 5.25″ drive bays: 2
External 3.5″ drive bays: 2
Internal 3.5″ drive bays: 2
Front Panel Ports: Audio, 2 USB and E-SATA

This is the case I am using for my remote access linux workstation build while I am away to college. It is surprisingly small, yet spacious. The carrying handle on top really does help make carrying it a lot easier. The orange LED fan, unlike most orange LED fans, is actually very high-quality: bright, but not so bright as to be annoying. Besides the lighting and space, the ventilation in this thing is amazing for a mid-tower.

ATX Case

Antec Twelve Hundred

Antec Twelve Hundred

Size: Full Tower
Dimensions (L x W x H): 20.20″ x 8.40″ x 22.90″
Supported Motherboard Size(s): ATX
Material used: Steel
Cooling: 3 x 120mm Blue LEDs (Front), 2 x 120mm Blue LEDs (Back) and 1 x 200mm Blue LEDs (Top)
Tool-less Assembling: Nope.
External 5.25″ drive bays: 3 by default, up to 12
External 3.5″ drive bays: 0
Internal 3.5″ drive bays: Up to 9
Front Panel Ports: Audio, 2 USB

This case is straight-up amazing, which is why I chose it to house my first and currently, best, “beast” computer build. It comes with six factory installed fans plus a TON of space inside to put large parts. Ventilation inside the case is amazing – you can feel safe with high-tech components inside this thing! It’s sturdy and isn’t prone to tipping, so if you like to put your computer on the ground and vacuum around it, have no fear of hitting it with your vacuum 🙂

Another thing about this case is the aesthetics. Turn off your room lights at night and you’ll really see the awesomeness of blue LEDs lighting up your room. It’s quite a spectacle to see, even after having owned the computer for about a year.

MicroATX / ATX Case

Antec Twelve Hundred


Size: Mid Tower
Dimensions (L x W x H): 19.20″ x 8.60″ x 19.50″
Supported Motherboard Size(s): MICRO-ATX, ATX
Material used: Steel / Plastic
Cooling: 1 x 120mm Red LEDs (Rear), 1 x 140mm Red LEDs (Front), 1 x 140mm (Top)
Tool-less Assembling: Yes.
External 5.25″ drive bays: 5 (without the use of exposed 3.5 inch Drive Bay)
External 3.5″ drive bays: 1 (converted from one 5.25 inch Drive Bay)
Internal 3.5″ drive bays: 5
Front Panel Ports: Audio, 2 USB

While I have yet to own one of these cases, I have heard nothing but good things about them. Awesome red LED lighting, good working room inside, compartments for cable management, decent airflow inside, this case seems to combine both microATX and ATX support into one aesthetic, awesome case. If I ever build another computer, I will definitely look into getting one of these.

There are a few other cases I have my eye on, but I have yet to own them so I can’t call them my favorite cases. As far as the Cooler Master Scout is concerned, I have heard so much good stuff about that case that, well, I figure I can call it a favorite even though I don’t own one…yet 😉