Pick a PC case: Finding the perfect home for your motherboard

Your first and most important consideration is whether or not the computer you want to build will even fit inside the case you're getting. 

Generally, this process will be somewhat simple. That's because case manufacturers are targeting very specific, standardized motherboard sizes. Computer cases will list what motherboard sizes will fit from E-ATX all the way down to Mini-ITX. In general, a case that supports a larger motherboard size will also fit a smaller motherboard, though you should double check if you don't see your motherboard size specifically listed in the case's specs. It's possible that the case will not have posts for you to screw your motherboard in if the chassis is specifically targeted toward larger motherboards. Some CPU coolers can stand up at a considerable height from the CPU itself. If you get a narrow case, there may not be enough room for your cooler. 

Fortunately, case manufacturers regularly list the CPU cooler clearance in their specs, so you'll be able to find this information easily. Similarly, CPU coolers will list their height so you can compare that spec with the one listed for the case. If you're using a liquid cooler, you'll need to make sure the case has room for your reservoir and radiator. 


Just like your CPU cooler, your graphics card is going to take up extra space, except it's going to take up space in even more directions. You'll need to confirm that your case has room for the length and height of your graphics card. You'll also need to confirm that the back of the case has enough expansions slots for your graphics card. Most popular graphics cards take up two slots. Are you sensing a theme here? 

The PC case you pick has to fit all of your components, or you have to pick parts that will fit in the case. Either way, you need to confirm your PSU and case will work together. In this instance, you'll need to make sure not only that there's room for your power supply, but also that it will be able to mount in the correct orientation. Some cases support only power supplies at the bottom, while others may support PSUs that mount at the top of the case. 

Your power supply needs to get proper airflow to work, so be sure the case you pick is fully compatible. Some cases will simplify this step for you by included a power supply, so you'll just need to make sure the PSU has the wattage and connectors you need for your computer.

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