Computer Case Size Introduction
Although Computer Cases, like all things, come in different shapes and sizes. They can be classified using their size and component compatibility as reliable yardsticks.
At the end of the day, computer cases are just tools to house and protect the more delicate hardware inside. So by looking at what they can accommodate, we can know what they are.
Generally, with computer case sizes, the larger they are the better. This is because more room offers better options in terms of cable management, component placement, and potential airflow. Improving the overall cooling performance and aesthetics of your build.
No one likes a cramped and sweltering Computer. Thus bigger cases are a necessity. However, too much of a good thing becomes sketchy after a certain point.
Computer Case Sizes Comparison
We are going to look at the 5 main computer case sizes available on the market, starting from the smallest to the largest.
|Features||SFF||Mini Towers||Mid Towers||Full towers|
|Motherboard Compatiblity||mITX||mITX, mATX||mITX, mATX, ATX||mITX, mATX, ATX, eATX|
|2.5″ Drive Bays||up to 2||up to 4||up to 8||up to 12|
|Use||Home Theatre||Option for offices or light use||Common Ground for casual users and professionals||Enthusiasts, Serial Upgraders and Gamers|
SFF / HTPC Cases
SFF stands for Smaller Form Factor. HTPC means Home Theatre Personal Computer.
SFF cases come in many shapes from cubes to desktop to even tower shapes. SFF and HTPC case sizes were considered niche cases being slowly displaced by larger counterparts but with the development of increasingly capable tiny mITX motherboards, they have risen from out of the ashes into our hearts again.
Usually found standing at around 14”- 16” tall. They are only compatible with the small mATX or mITX motherboards which can fit inside their compact dimensions.
They can carry up to 4 (four) 2.5” external drive bays and a cautioned maximum of 2 Graphics Cards.
Mid Towers are the most common computer case size in use today as they hold enough room for more components. They also have wider motherboard compatibility than Mini Tower and SFF case sizes.
They stand at around 17- 21 inches tall and support a maximum of 4 expansion bays. The number of 2.5” Hard Drive mounts is limited to 10.
Because Mid Towers have bigger sizes, they possess more than enough room to hold full-size ATX components inside. They are the perfect blend of size, price, and compatibility.
Full Towers are big and they have lots of room for cable and component arrangement so they do not look like vomited spaghetti.
The tower stands at an imposing maximum height of 27 inches. Such a big size means they can accommodate almost all types of ATX motherboards including mITX, mATX, ATX, eATX, and sometimes even XL ATX motherboards.
They don’t have much else to offer more than Mid Towers. You can think of them as luxury products unless you buy them because you really need the extra space.
For instance to provide better cooling for your hot configurations like 3 way or 4 way GPU setups.
A Super Tower can be roughly said to be any Computer Case Size taller than 27 inches. Super Tower computer cases roam boldly in the territories of extravagance and excess.
They support all the known standards of ATX components. Anything ATX standard will fit inside, no questions asked. Since they are much bigger, they have more room for specialized cooling systems and are a good choice for serial upgraders and performance enthusiasts. Simply said, they are big. Very Big.
An honorable mention amongst computer case sizes is the Mod Tower. Mod Towers are computer cases that can be expanded by stacking cases on top of each other like Lego Bricks. This is commonly done to add more room for cooling or drive mounting options.
How to Choose a Computer Case Size?
Three things to consider when buying a new case are Space, Component Compatibility, and Price.
This one is pretty straightforward. Imagine you buy an mATX computer case that is too small for your ATX components. Or you buy a Full Tower Computer Case that does not support your XL ATX motherboard.
Painful, right. To avoid these newbie pitfalls, it’s important to cross-check the compatibility and size of your PC Case against your hardware components.
Let’s say you want to use a liquid cooling system in your PC but you buy a Computer Case that does not have room for your radiator’s bulk. Or imagine you buy the correctly compatible ATX case size but find that the panels don’t close properly because of a bulging Graphics Card.
That would be just tragic. Needless to say, before purchase, you must cross-check your component’s dimensions against the Case’s clearance size. This is the key to avoid throwing your money down the proverbial drain.
Cheaper Computer Cases are made with low-quality materials and often spot shoddy workmanship. You may often find Ill-fitting panels and components on these products.
On the other hand, the pricier models are built with better skill and materials and they easily maintain their condition under the test of time and usage.
In addition, Computer Case models with larger price tags often have attractive premium features such as better cable management, front-facing type-c USB ports, and extra drive bays and SSD mountings.
Whether you want your Computer to look like something ripped out of a spaceship or you are a pragmatist who prefers function over aesthetics.
There is something for you on the market. Heck, there’s even something for the penny-pinchers, though it is likely to cost them more in the long run.
Regardless of what your preferences are, remember that a breezy Computer is a happy Computer. Therefore size does matter.