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Build A PC Like My Super PC

Case And Power Supply

The case, which is the Antec KS-282, is outstanding. It includes a top-quality 300-watt power-supply (the PP-303XP), which is a must. One of the prime requirements of the case should be its cooling characteristics, and the cooling characteristics of this case are excellent! It's also not imposingly big, standing about 18" tall and fitting nicely into the 20" tall cubby space I have in my computer desk. Yet it still has all the 3.5" and 5" drive bays you can reasonably want. To me, there's not a thing wrong with it. The only nit-pick I've read is the reset button is too small, which I don't think is true, and that there are not enough open 3.5" bays, but I think one for the floppy is plenty. Of course, you can always convert one of the open 5" bays to a 3.5" bay if you really wanted to. This case can't be beat for price and quality. The case and the sound card are the no-brainer decisions.

How to build a computer - Antec KS-282 case outside view Click on the picture to see it enlarged.
How to build a computer - Antec KS-282 case inside view Here's an inside view of the Antec KS282 case with everything loaded inside, including the motherboard with several cards installed, two case fans, one hard drive and a CD-ROM. As you can see, the case is quite roomy inside even with this fairly complete configuration. In addition to making it easier to work with, a roomier case translates into better cooling conditions.

Click on the picture to see it enlarged.

Motherboards today follow the ATX form factor and are all very close in size. Any ATX case should be compatible with any ATX motherboard. Besides the physical size of the case and its cooling characteristics, another important factor is whether or not the case has sufficient bays. Cases will come with bays sized at both 3.5", for floppy drive sized devices, and 5", for CD-ROM sized devices. Each bay, regardless of size, may be "open", meaning you can access the media inside without opening the case, or "closed", meaning you cannot. A closed bay may provide a LED indicator regarding the bay. Any case should have at least one open 3.5" bay for the floppy drive, and at least two open 5" bays to accommodate CD-ROM, CD-RW, and DVD-ROM usage. It's not uncommon for most of the 3.5" bays to be closed since they are primarily used to store hard drives. The case should include at least two LEDs, one for indicating the computer has power and one for indicating activity on the boot harddrive.

It's important for the computer case to be equipped with computer case fans, but I wouldn't be at all concerned with what's included with the case itself (if anything) since even the best case fans are relatively inexpensive and buying them separately allows you to get case fans that you know to be quiet and well-performing. Even one case fan installed as the exhaust fan makes a huge difference in the system temperature. It's extremely important to keep a reasonable system temperature since overheating can cause other components, such as the hard drive, to fail. It may be tempting to pack every bay and slot with one thing or another to squeeze out as much capability as possible, but the more you pack the more heat that gets generated and the less air space there is for cooling! A reasonable case fan configuration and the one I use and recommend is two case fans total: one for intake and one for exhaust. More than that probably will not make a difference, but could be beneficial if targetted at a particular device, such as the hard drives.

There's no way to tell for certain how much power supply you need for a particular PC configuration, but computers today should use at least a top-quality power supply of 300 watts or higher. Many computer cases come with power supplies of 250 watts, but this is not sufficient. You don't have to worry about wasting energy because the computer only uses however much power it needs, so a computer with a 300 watt power supply is not necessarily using all 300 watts all the time. As devices are used, such as CD/DVD type drives, and as devices are loaded, such as video cards, more power is drawn. If the power supply is inadequate to meet such demands then unpredictable but nasty failures may occur. It's not unusual to see experts recommend a 350 watt power supply as a general rule, and that's fine, too. It certainly won't hurt to have too much power available if it's needed. But a high quality 300 watt power supply like the PP-303XP that comes with the Antec KS-282 computer case works for me and will do nicely in most instances. There are exceptions. For example, keep in mind that USB devices, unless they have a separate power cord, are powered through the USB cable by the computer's power supply. Certainly if you're daisy-chaining a number of USB devices and powering them all by the computer's power supply then you should re-evaluate the size of power supply you should use.

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