When it comes to building your own computer, the case shouldn’t be the last thing you select. While it’s true that appearances won’t really impact much of the performance of your new machine, there’s a lot more that goes into a computer case than just the looks, and cases should be considered as part of the process as well.

Materials

In general, the consensus appears to be that metal cases, such as ones made from steel or aluminum, are preferred. Some computer users, especially those who demand a high amount of performance and therefore whose systems may generate a lot of heat, may choose to avoid plastics in order to avoid heating.  Additionally, aluminum is often favored for its lighter weight and lower rigidity, and screw holes can be laser cut through the aluminum.

Airflow

This is another very important part of building a PC. Computers do not produce exhaust like a gasoline powered motor, but they do generate at times significant amounts of heat that need to be drawn away from the working parts of the computer. Cooling systems can be made with fans or using liquid cooling, but especially when building your own its important to allow your parts to breathe.

Screw Layout

Because the motherboard will be mounted into the case itself, and since motherboards often have specific layouts for the screw holes, it’s extremely important to try to match the screws on the motherboards with the holes in the casing. This is another advantage that metal casing may have over plastic. In case of problems, it may be easier to pierce circles through aluminum than through a brittle plastic case.

Some PC part picker websites include a filtering option via their search engine to allow for compatibility with specific motherboards and the size requirements of the individual components. However, custom building your own case is an option as well, so long as you consider the above factors when building your own case. Aluminum plates and circles, as well as tempered glass or steel components, are popular choices if one has the tools to properly shape them, as well as LEDs both inside and out or hand painted casing.