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  • Buying a PC Case for Down the Road: Common PC Upgrades
Technology Articles > Hardware > Cases > Buying a PC Case for Down the Road: Common PC Upgrades

When choosing a PC case for your computer, the main reason you want to be careful when shopping is to ensure that your PC case can accommodate any of the hardware upgrades you plan on incorporating in the future. If you never plan on upgrading your computer, then this is a non-issue for you. The average user does not need to crack open his or her computer case, and a slim or compact case with a small footprint and limited access is worth the savings, both in desk space and cash money. But if you are a power user who wants to soup up your PC or stretch its lifespan with upgrades in the next 12 to 18 months, choose a PC case that will be compatible with the following upgrades:

RAM Upgrades

Upgrading the RAM is one of the easiest PC upgrades that delivers the most bang for the buck. Any PC case that you can open will be suitable for a RAM upgrade. What you want to worry more about is your CPU and motherboard. Make sure that it supports additional memory beyond what was installed when you bought it and has open slots for additional RAM units.

Hard Drives

A PC case with additional hard drive bays makes for a very easy disk storage expansion. Hard drives are very affordable and extremely handy for backups, networking and installing multiple operating systems. Get a PC case with multiple hard drive bays, and you can simply slide a new drive in and plug it into the motherboard without removing your old one. Internal hard drives also have the benefit of being less expensive and faster than the vast majority of external hard drives.

Graphics Card Upgrades

Upgrading a graphics card can be quite an affair. You’ll need to pair your new graphics card with the expansion slots available in your system. This may be a PCI, PCI-E, AGP or other type of expansion slot. If your computer doesn’t already have a graphics card, you’ll have to ensure that there is space in your PC case for your expansion card. But more importantly, you need to make sure that it’s properly cooled and powered…

Power Supply

Power supplies don’t typically need upgrading, but if you are overclocking and running high powered graphics cards, you may need a little bit more voltage. PC cases typically have standard size power supply unit housings—except for a select few from Antec. Antec’s CPX power supply units are larger and won’t fit in anything except an Antec case with the special housing. The benefits of these CPX power supplies are that they are easier to install, less costly to manufacture and easier to cool. Which leads to the next upgrade option…
Cooling Fans

A properly cooled PC will be more stable and have a longer life. When CPUs are overclocked or when user-upgraded hardware is installed, the heat inside your PC case increases. High heat can cause certain components to malfunction or permanently breakdown. Some PC users install up to three fans: a chipset fan for the CPU, a graphics card fan for the GPU and one or more fans for the PSU. Make sure you case accommodates all the necessary cooling components and heatsinks, or you may find that the level of your PC upgrades is limited by your cooling capacity.