Why are most computer cases so big?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Hummer, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Hummer macrumors 65816


    Feb 3, 2006
    Queens, New York NY-5
    I've noticed when installing a PCI card into my uncles slimmer business pc that desktop pc cases are way too big and that most things like PCI cards are built with bulk purposely to fit in cases. (I had to remove that metal thing, sand it down about 2 inches, and then put it back in for it to fit in the slim pc). So yea why are PC cases so big when all the components inside can simply but put at another direction like sideways to save space.
  2. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    Oh, that one's easy to explain, it's a vestige of 1980 technology. The metal strips were inherited from the IBM PC, and kept when the world moved to PCI so that the two styles could comfortably coexist during the transitional years.

    That's the ongoing problem, PC makers are afraid to let old expansion cards become obsolete because they may lose a few sales to competitors who keep supporting the old stuff. The old stuff, as a result, never really becomes old :)
  3. Counterfit macrumors G3


    Aug 20, 2003
    sitting on your shoulder
    There are a variety of reasons. Ease of manufacturing, or technical limitations therein. Airflow is another (although more interior volume isn't always the best way to solve that problem). There's also ease of assembly, upgrading, and fixing.
  4. Jdm_rsx macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Honolulu, Hawaii
  5. iMeowbot macrumors G3


    Aug 30, 2003
    That's one of the weird parts, the traditional PC card arrangement tends to block air flow in a slim cabinet. A break from legacy silliness would lend some nice improvements.
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Tell that to Apple and Shuttle. Some companies actually have these people they call "engineers" who actually do stuff.
  7. takao macrumors 68040


    Dec 25, 2003
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    it's a intel standard (ATX) from 1995

    because of heat ventilation BTX got proposed/introduced 2003 as replacement but it hasn't caught on with intel/amd moving away from high clockspeeds

    (and the reason why parts are so dirt cheap)
  8. combatcolin macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2004
    Northants, UK
    Got to love Pc motherboards that put the CPU next to the PSU.

  9. wwooden macrumors 68000


    Jul 26, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    I would say it just comes down to saving money on manufacturing and assembly. It takes a lot of engineering and planning to maximize the efficiency of the space and have everything fit snug in a tiny box. It's much easier to just have a big case and mount components to the frame and use a ton of wires to connect them all.
  10. iPhil macrumors 68040



    Or put the CPU/Heatsink behind the Hard drive.. so it locking the hard drive in unless you wanna mess with the heatsink .. :mad: :confused: :mad:
  11. combatcolin macrumors 68020


    Oct 24, 2004
    Northants, UK
    My firends Amgaone has the G4 CPU module in the middle of the board, simple but effective.
  12. dotdotdot macrumors 68020

    Jan 23, 2005
    Well, since computer parts are big, a big case leads to very easy upgradability.

    Something which the Mac (except PowerMac) lacks is the ability to change everything - and even if you could, try it with an Intel iMac or iMac G5 - not an easy task.

    PCs inside layouts are easy to get around in, and bigger cases help. Of course, some are huge and pretty bad.

    --Now that I think about it, they are the same as PowerMac G5s, no?
  13. Shadow macrumors 68000


    Feb 17, 2006
    Keele, United Kingdom
    Yeah, me and a freind were "fixing" a PC in school, and we needed to replace the CPU but couldnt because the PSU was in the way...:( (we didnt have the tools).
  14. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005
    well ther is a reason for this design. A good PSU will have a fan on the bottom of it or at least it main air intake on the bottom. This means the most air flow is going to be close to that intake. Putting the CPU closer to the PSU means more air flow over it. The temp of that air is not effected by the PSU since it going to be hitting the CPU first.

    It designed that way for cooling.

    Another part of the reason for the design of cases that way is just for standards. You would need a slot loaded designed for any DVD or CD drive if you to use it for anything but horizontal.
    Hard drives are stack horiztaltal so more of them can fit in the case. Most cases have there size dictated by how many 3.5in and 5.5 in bays they ave in them. (normally 6 3.5 and 4 of the 5.5 in bays). That give you your virtical hight. How wide the case is contral by the 5.5 in bays.

    And the dept of the case is contral by the mobo which is going to sit behind the dvd drives and what not.

    Apple iMac, and mac mini use a lot of laptop designing in them to get stuff to fit. Plus they sacriface ablitiy to be upgraded later.

    in a iMac or mini you can not add expansion cards, more internal hard drivers, or Optical drives nor more built in USB ports or firewire ports.
    In my PC tower since I built it I have had on, 2 extra hard drivers, USB/firewire card (Bring my USB count from 6 up to 9 and firewire from 2 up to 4). A another eithernet port. add on a wireless card (not really not worthy) and another optical drive.

    On anything but the power macs people can not really add more to the internal hardware. It a nice thing to be able to do to fill in a void or a need that is need for the computer.
  15. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    no good reason other than 'the same old same old' the specs that everyone follows have been the same since the 386/486 era. and a previous poster was right; no one wants to loose customers.

    so in comes the mini, and blows the doors off the 'pc' designs. first thing is to ignore/deny, second thing is to copy;


    say, that looks like a computer that i have seen before....:rolleyes:
  16. Laser47 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2004
    I wish there was a Motherboard standard where all the power, IDE, etc. cables were located behind the motherboard and that the cases they went into already had the wiring for all that stuff routed behind the motherboard. Its funny how some MB manufacturers place their connectors in the motherboard. For instance the ide connectors located in the bottom left of the MB right under the last PCI slot, or SATA ports loacted just to the left of the CPU? It would also be good if they could have it where the processor cooling setup is like on the powermac where air goes straight from the front and exhausted out the back, similar to the BTX design.

    One thing that has always bewildered me is the computer that exhaust the hot air out the back out the computer through the PSU, but then right underneath that they have the intake for the CPU so most of the hot air going out of the case is sucked right back in to the CPU.

    Just another reason I love apples design, they are not scared of improving their products.
  17. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    It's the same principle that makes Windows suck so hard and why x86 chips are still ass-backwards (literally). The problem is that after a while, you need to do what Apple did with X, and start again from scratch
  18. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    you also have to rememeber that apple was able to do that. If apple was as large at M$ was in market share they would not of been able to just start over from scratch. M$ is so big that they cannt really just start over from scratch.

    Same goes for x-86. They cannt really just cannt start over from scratch. It is to big to go to a complete new design. When one company has a small market share it really easy to say screw this and complete start over.
  19. greatdevourer macrumors 68000

    Aug 5, 2005
    I never disputed that it's a pain in the ass to do such a change, but the fact remains that it's still there, and the jump to x64 could have ironed that one out, and dropping support for 95 would be a good idea, as it would fix some problems, and it might alienate 4 or 5 people at most
  20. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005
    try mostly who gets hurt by the drop of support for the stuff is big corprations who have a lot of in house design software. Software they have spent millions on designing and updating. Those are the people who have to worry about ticking off and it a pretty high number.

    Now anything that is not NT based is not nativily supported so much any more. Quite off it has to be run in a emulation mode for it or the computer fakes everything.

    Now NT is a good fall back point to go to. But because the backware capiblity was designed in the OS can only slowly phase it out. They can not do what apple did and that is take OS 9 and before and completely trash it and start over with something completely new.

    M$ made a huge step when going away from does over to the NT set up.

    As for x64 it being done very slowly. Right now the chips can run both and that will be for a while. it will change when the main OS out there dont support 32 bit any more.

    Back on topic. Case size is not based right now on backwards capitblity. It based on size of the hardware and there layout. Quite a bit of it you can not do huge ratical changes 2 and for home builders there aways needs to be a lot more room for upgrade because home builders are a different group of people and they will upgraded there systems and add more to them.
    For example my PC is home built. It has 2 opitcal drives in it. 3 hard drivers (2 of which are from spare parts out of older computers so they are pretty small extras). A floppy drive because I still use floppies for quite a bit of stuff. Added since completetion, a wireless card, and another eithernet port. Plan on adding a TV card and a few other add ons. But like I said I built my own computer and most cases out there are designed for homebuilders who want room to add on and set it up the way they want it.

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