Computers have various components, and the computer case is what holds them all together. These cases have changed over the years but remain the central part of any PC. By understanding the cases and how they integrate with the other components, one can better understand computers.
Computers have a number of major parts. The computer case is what houses all the internal components of a computer. Within the case, the motherboard is the single largest component. Attached to it are the CPU (a microprocessor) and the memory (RAM). Ethernet capabilities (for internet connectivity) are usually integrated directly into the motherboard. Other major components inside the case include the optic drives (such as DVD), hard drives for data storage and the power unit.
To connect the computer to peripheral devices, the sound card, video card and cards for USB and other connecting ports all attach to the motherboard. Typically, these peripherals are the monitor, printer, keyboard, mouse and any other devices that need to be connected to a PC.
The optical drives are located in the front of the computer case along with the additional USB ports for easy accessibility. The other peripherals of the computer usually connect through the back of the case.
This case is the largest part of the computer and is typically constructed mainly out of a steel or aluminum. Plastic and acrylics are also used, but their purpose is usually just to enhance the design or look of the case. Much of the weight of the computer (apart from the monitor) is in the case so one should consider its weight and avoid those with sharp, dangerous edges when purchasing. Edges that are beveled or finished are much safer.
Other materials also used to construct computer cases include plastic, Plexiglas, wood and, believe it or not, even Lego blocks! Computer cases have also been referred to as the computer chassis, cabinets, boxes, enclosures, towers or simply just the CPU cases.
When the PC first came onto the scene, the case was horizontal with the monitor being placed on top of it. This design of the case had the power switch behind it with all the ports also placed behind the case. This was a pretty awkward (some would say incomprehensible) position because the operator had to get up and reach all the way behind the computer to switch it on.
When the vertical computer case came on the scene, the monitor could be placed on the desktop with the vertical case (also called the “tower stand”) below beside the desk. This was more convenient because it left more space on the desk while allowing the user to access the switches from the front panel.
Some computer cases have been growing smaller in recent years, but there is currently a limit as to how small they can get. While smaller cases are more compact, they often do not have enough space to allow proper cooling or for new devices to be added to the computer. Due to these factors, computer tower stands remain popular.
Before building a computer, check out Computer Tower Stand for information on selecting computer components assembling a computer and other information about computers.