Big Enough Computer Case

  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I'm attempting to build my own computer. How can I tell if the case I select is big enough? Thanks.
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Cases specify which motherboard type they take.

There are a few options:

ATX Motherboards: 12 by 7.5 inches.
Full AT Motherboards: 12 by 11 inches.
Baby AT Motherboards: 10 by 8.5 inches

Just check it takes the size of motherboard you have (the motherboard will be one of the above).

PSU's, CD/DVD/BR Drives and HD's are standard sizes and will definitely fit.

I would note, cases will have a specific number of slots for hard drives and disc drives. Depending on how many you plan to install, you might want to check this.
 
  • #3
rcgldr
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Also make sure there's enough room for the video card, as some of those are fairly long.
 
  • #4
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Also make sure there's enough room for the video card, as some of those are fairly long.
Unless a HD or the PSU (when installed in the bottom right) are overlapping the motherboard, this shouldn't be an issue.
 
  • #5
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Another question: how do I check that the graphics card is compatible with the motherboard/CPU?
 
  • #6
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Well first, check the connection. Make sure the motherboard has a socket to accept it.

I suppose that really is the main one. Can't think of anything else off the top of my head (well it is 3AM).
 
  • #7
rcgldr
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Another question: how do I check that the graphics card is compatible with the motherboard/CPU?
Both should be PCI Express these days. The other issue, is the power needed by the video card, which may need one or two 6 pin or 8 pin PCI Express power connectors (or one of each).
 
  • #8
Mech_Engineer
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Unless a HD or the PSU (when installed in the bottom right) are overlapping the motherboard, this shouldn't be an issue.
It's actually more of an issue than you think, especially in the high-end cards. Low and mid-range video cards are fairly reasonably sized, but high-performance gaming cards will be large with built-in heatsinks and cooling ducts.

ATI's top-end card for example, the Radeon HD 5970, is more than 12 inches long- too big to fit in anything but a very large full-tower case. I have an nVidia GTX 260, and the card barely fits in my NZXT full tower gaming case. I literally have to turn it sideways in the case to get it in there, then turn it straight and plug it into the mobo (the power connections are on the side of the card to keep length semi-reasonable).
 
  • #9
MATLABdude
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It's actually more of an issue than you think, especially in the high-end cards. Low and mid-range video cards are fairly reasonably sized, but high-performance gaming cards will be large with built-in heatsinks and cooling ducts.

ATI's top-end card for example, the Radeon HD 5970, is more than 12 inches long- too big to fit in anything but a very large full-tower case. I have an nVidia GTX 260, and the card barely fits in my NZXT full tower gaming case. I literally have to turn it sideways in the case to get it in there, then turn it straight and plug it into the mobo (the power connections are on the side of the card to keep length semi-reasonable).
I think this case was designed as a portable gaming-type case:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/270339-28-case-5970

They can jam one of those suckers in there! :bugeye: Somebody else had a similar setup, but also added in water cooling.

EDIT: To the OP, outside of the motherboard form factor (which determines how much expandability you have), the biggest space-eater is the number of drive bays (external 5.25" types and internal 3.5" types). Unless you're running a server or plan to have multiple hard (e.g. for RAID) and optical drives (maybe you're a disk duplicator?) you don't really need massive cases. Especially since many of the peripherals that you once needed to get cards for (e.g. modems, ethernet, sound, possibly video) now come standard and integrated on motherboards.
 
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  • #10
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Another consideration you must take into account when choosing your motherboard/videocard combo is whether the motherboard only supports Nvidia or ATI chipsets, most modern motherboards do support both but I have seen some floating around that only support one or the other.

Also, in my experience, cases don't use the 'full at' or 'baby at' motherboard ratings. They will either be ATX (standard), mATX(microATX), or eATX(extendedATX), there are many more but these are the three most common.
 

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