[Skill Level: I’m Too Young To Die]
Building a custom PC encompasses more than just performance alone. The functionality, ease-of-use and aesthetic design stands to be just as important throughout the entire experience of building and using the PC on a day-to-day basis. Holding much familiarity with the culture surrounding race cars and custom motors, PC gamers treat their machines as on-going projects. Fueled by the extremely fast advancement within processing technology that allows them to constantly upgrade their hardware at a moments notice, should they become displeased by its performance or simply to wish to upgrade for the sake of bragging-rights they’re able to do so.
PC gamers are more than just gamers, those who just so happen to build their own machines for the purpose of playing games – they’re craftsmen. They’re enthusiasts with a never-ending greed for performance and aesthetic changes in order to push pixels and frame-rates, looking good while doing so. This visual relationship to custom cars can be seen throughout the many chassis designs such as the Phantom 410, MasterCase 5, Raijintek Nestor and the Cosmos II – a short list to name a few. Deciding on a chassis is one of the most important decisions one can make in regards to how fancy the machine will look and just how fast it will go. Water-cooling friendly? Better for air-cooling? Great on storage space? But most importantly, does it look good?
While these questions remain subjective to the preferences of the gamer in question there is one aspect of the chassis this will no doubt have an effect on just about everything else relating to compatibility and cooling performance. The size. Covering the three most popular sizes known to PC gamers, chassis are available in form-factors known as ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX. Referencing the size of the system’s motherboard the chassis stands as the defining factor as to which motherboard will be viable for installation with every other component following thereafter.
Available in chassis sizes titled as Full-Tower and occasionally Mid-Tower, cases of this size allow for standard-size ATX motherboards, along with those of the smaller variety also being an option. This allows for Multi-GPU configuration, generosity on storage drives, larger air-coolers, and a great amount of space for custom water-cooling. Cases of this size are the largest of the three and are the easiest to build in. While the ATX is undeniably the most heaviest and obtrusive off all form-factors, those looking for the most amount of options for internal hardware and possibilities for modding will best be suited with the standard-ATX.
Proving to be the most versatile of all three chassis options, Micro-ATX is available in a variety of shapes and sizes, whether it be a standard tower, cube or HTPC. Where the tower holds much familiarity with the traditional ATX design – Multi-GPU configuration, larger coolers and storage drive quantity – albeit in a smaller size, those such as the cube and HTPC see a significant reduction in physical size, allowing for a compact form-factor with less options for internal hardware. This is primarily due to the Micro-ATX motherboard form-factor, which cases of this size have been designed to support.
Originally designed as a competitive solution for those looking to build a High-End gaming PC that’s similar in size to a standard game console, Mini-ITX is certainly the most unique of all three chassis – seeing the most efforts and innovation in chassis design in order to maximize thermal-dissipation and performance efficiency. Available in a cube form-factor as well as the traditional game console-esque design, where Mini-ITX reduces the amount of available internal hardware that’s viable for installation, the advancements in storage drive size, CPU cooler height and the physical dimensions of High-End graphics cards mean that performance will never be an issue.
Available at Dino PC gamers will find a great quantity of chassis to plan their next builds. A Full-Tower Beast, a Micro-Monster, or a Stealthy Pixel-Pusher that’s friendly on space, size doesn’t matter. PC Chassis