Building A PC: Leave Those Ugly Boxes at the Office

Written by:  • Edited by: Bill Fulks
Updated Jun 3, 2010
• Related Guides: PC

Before you worry about your hard disk, memory, or even CPU, decide what you want to do with your PC and where you want to do it; then figure out what kind of case you want.

Unless You Have Cubicles Set Up in Your Split-Level or Flat

Many people have space considerations in their dwelling: young people in bedrooms at home or in dorm rooms at school, apartment dwellers, large families with several computers and so on can easily have their living areas invaded by bulky boxes full of fans.

Even if space is available, a PC that looks like it belongs in an office in the corner of a well-decorated living or bedroom can be a jarring sight. In a lavishly decorated house (or office for that matter), an off-the-shelf looking PC is a flag indicating the owner’s lack of computing sophistication and general taste. Though a cheap computer may be all the user needs from a functional perspective, running shoes are all the user of a tuxedo needs from a functional perspective.

Ugly beige boxes gave way to grey boxes, then black boxes with rounded corners, and large aerodynamic-looking plastic fairings were tacked on to make PCs look like they go fast. Putting one of these in your home isn’t only ugly: visitors will think you stole it from work.

Suissa Enlighten The options for ready made PCs look largely like they came from cubicles or are targeted to gamers. The latter are great for a gamer’s bedroom, but used in a living room will look kind of funny, flashing away in the corner during your dinner parties. People who like the best of everything should contact Suissa Computers: if you have a 7 figure house and a 6 figure car, you really can’t afford not to get one of their bespoke PCs: works of modern design art executed with beautiful exotic woods, metals, and glass.

Even if you aren’t particularly wealthy or a skilled enough craftsman to slap together something comparable to the Suissa Enlighten, you aren’t stuck with an office or gaming box; the home builder has hundreds of cases to choose from. They can find something that will fit both their computing needs and living space. Even if you aren’t a home builder yet, the remaining articles in this series will provide detailed, step-by-step instructions, accompanied by pictures of how you can build your own PC.

What Do You Need From Your PC?

What do you plan on doing with your computer? Unless you want to do some high-end gaming, have several terabytes of storage, or run taxing applications like engineering or graphics and video editing software, you don’t need a Full- or Server- Tower. The larger power supplies, graphics cards, more powerful CPUs and related cooling systems required for gaming or other hardware intensive activities obviously take up more room, and of course need a larger case. Larger cases also have more room for drives, so if you need lots of storage or several optical burners you may want to go big; but with terabyte drive prices dropping, we’re talking LOTS of storage.

If you need a big engine, you need a big engine bay, so a high performance computer obviously takes up more room than a more modest cousin. Those who need Mid or larger Towers have one of their decisions already made and may want to skip the next article and go right to the third if they are ready to start building. Those who are considering a smaller PC will want to look at the next article. It will explain the advantages and disadvantages of using a smaller form factor.


 
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