Updated: 11/18/2022 by Computer Hope
Computer chassis

Alternatively called the case, system unit, or base unit. The chassis is the housing that helps protect and organize all the components that make up a desktop computer. The picture is an empty computer chassis. Outlined below are some things to consider when choosing a case for your computer components.

Why do we need a computer case?

Most people overlook the computer case as only a box, but it does provide the below important features.

  • Structure - The case is what holds everything together in a compact and organized fashion.
  • Protection - Without the case, each of the sensitive components in the computer would be vulnerable to dirt, foreign objects, kids, animals, and EMI (electromagnetic interference) / RFI (radio-frequency interference).
  • Cooling - The case helps keep the air properly flowing over all components, which keeps everything cool and running properly.
  • Noise - Many computers and components have fans that generate noise. Having those components in a confined case reduces the overall noise.
  • Aesthetics - Although some may disagree, most people would rather look at the case instead of all the circuit boards, wires, and the computer components.

Components found inside a chassis

Below are the different types of hardware components you would find inside your computer chassis.


For a visual example of all above components, see: What does the inside of a computer look like?

Components on the case

A computer case may also have any or all of the following components as part of the case.

Types of computer cases

There are many different motherboard form factors used for computers today that help decide the type of case you need. If you're building a computer, make sure you buy a case that is compatible with your motherboard.

Case colors

Cases are available in a wide array of colors. Below is a listing of popular colors and a brief description on each color if needed.

Black - Standard black case.
Urban White - Offset white. Most desktop computers and computer hardware are this color.
White - White or very light color case.

Also, there are computer and case manufacturers who make their products in blue, orange, pink, red, silver, and yellow. In addition to various available colors, there are also translucent cases with a semi-clear color look into the case.

What are computer cases made from?

The materials used to make or construct today's computer chassis are primarily metal and plastics. However, custom cases can be made from other materials like wood. For example, the first Apple I computer used a wooden box.

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