The days when personal computers looked like a set of generic gray-white blocks are long gone. Nowadays, if we, by chance, come across with such an old system, we generally think- “My, my, how boring it is!”
Modern users began to put appearance at the forefront when purchasing a computer system or computer case in particular. And it’s not always a caprice or blind following a fashion – the modern computer has become not only a tool for solving a narrow circle of mathematical tasks, but a full-fledged personal assistant for solving a very broad range of everyday tasks, as well as an entertainment device, which logically became a part of the domestic interior, along with a TV or stereo system. Thus, by becoming a part of the interior, the computer should comply with its certain aesthetic requirements to fit perfectly into it and to give to its user not only practical, but also a visual enjoyment.
However, in pursuit of an external appearance of the custom case you should not forget about the most important qualities of the system unit in general – to ensure its comfortable operation and effective allocation of the internal components, reliability, ease of use and maintenance and, of course, safety for the end user.
As we know, there is wide variety of the computer systems that are able to solve various range of tasks. We are not going to discuss professional and rather quite expensive solutions for processing and storage of huge arrays of data, industrial engineering and controlling, corporate networking technologies, scientific research and simulations, etc., since customized systems are not in a high demand in these areas and discussion of such solutions would go beyond the scope of this topic. We will focus on custom computers for office and home.
Office Computer for solving low and intermediate level tasks
Field of application: working with simple applications and office software, typing and text processing, internet surfing, e-mailing, a simple graphical design, programming of nonprofit applications, working with small-scale office databases, etc. The system configuration of this category can be quite modest in its computational power that allows the manufacturer to focus on the appearance – compact and elegant cases of high and medium level of integration of internal components, monitors and peripherals made in a unified corporate style. A significant disadvantage of this category may be low serviceability and ability to replace of external elements due to unique custom design or upgrade of internal components due to high degree of integration, for example, inability to replace an integrated video card.
Office computer for solving high-level tasks
Field of application: working with multimedia, audio and video editing and processing, digital image processing and design, CAD, 3D-modeling, working with large arrays of corporate databases, the development of commercial software. System requirements for this category is considerably higher. Design and external appearance, in some cases, still in demand, but the focus of customization shifted towards ensuring high performance and reliability of computing components. The case must have enough internal space and good interior design in order to provide high or low level of integration of system components, as well as the ability to properly installation of the additional active cooling devices. The design of cases of this category usually minimalistic and ergonomic enough, which allows ensuring a good level of service and a sufficiently high maintainability.
Home Theater PC
When creating HTPC systems, some simplifications are possible, for example, such as the use of a discrete graphics card with passive cooling, instead of an integrated one, that is still allows to provide comfortable viewing of HD video, as well as a low level of noise. Cases for such systems usually compact and the manufacturer can afford to pay more attention to design, to ensure a harmonious blend with the interior, ergonomics, comfort of use and simplicity in maintenance.
Powerful gaming computer or home multimedia stations
The most interesting, highly demanded and quite the most interesting, highly demanded and quite nontrivial category in terms of design solutions.
Main field of application: ability to comfortably play the most recent games with high graphic settings, including games with support of virtual reality 3D-imaging devices, editing, and post-processing of audio and video streams, creation of multimedia content and 3D-animation. Here, the end user can present very high demands – both in terms of ultrafashionable design and in terms of high performance of all components of the system. Such demands require from the manufacturer a maximum concentration of attention at a proper layout of the internal components starting from the power supply unit to installation of different cooling systems, to ensure good and timely heat dissipation, which would be considerable. Otherwise, high-performance system components could be exposed to excessive and undue load that may eventually lead to quick wear and failure.
So, what conclusions can be made? Attractive, modern and unique design of a custom casing and the whole system will certainly bring enough aesthetic satisfaction to the user. But at the end of the day, we always have to follow a simple rule – the appearance and design of the case should not hamper a comfortable operation and efficiency of the system elements, but on the contrary, to ensure their reliability, ease of use and safety of the user.