Computer chassis come in a variety of colors, sizes, and have different functions. Choosing what sort of enclosure you need at times can be somewhat difficult if you do not have a lot of experience in doing so. This page was created to help those who are not sure what type of enclosure will suit their needs. In the following sections we will discuss computer chassis and what each covers functionality is and what that means to you as a user.
1. Desktop cases: There are a several different styles in this category, amongst them are AT, ATX, flex ATX, and NLX. AT enclosures are the old style form factor and are not too commonly used with current technology. There are certain motherboards that are referred to as Baby AT and they will fit in any standard AT chasis as well. ATX is the most current form factor out and will most often be the choice for any system being built with a recently produced motherboard. MicroAtx is also interchangeable with ATX in enclosures specified ATX. Flex ATX fits into to most ATX cases and are fully integrated boards with video, audio, and LAN. However, flex ATX computer cases will only function with flex ATX motherboards installed in them. NLX enclosures are designed for systems with mostly integrated features such as onboard sound, video, and modem/LAN and have been discontinued.
2. Mini Towers: Mini towers are great for a space saving solutions and for use with Micro ATX and Flex ATX motherboards. Like desktop enclosures, mini towers are also good for systems that have many integrated features. The typical user would not choose a mini tower unless they are going to have a small number of devices attached to their system. Mini towers come in the AT and ATX form factor varieties as well.
3. Medium/Mid Towers: Medium towers are the standard chassis for most home computer systems. They can take a variety of motherboards including AT, Flex / Micro ATX, ATX, Extended ATX. Medium towers come in many different varieties of styles and colors. Medium towers come with more expansion bays variances than other types of towers and enclosures. Medium towers can also range is size greatly, some medium enclosures can range from 15" to more than 20". If you are truly confused as to what sort of enclosure would be best for you, then a medium tower case would probably be your safest bet.
4. Full Tower/Server chassis: Full towers / Server enclosures are for the more serious user. Full tower / server chassis come with a large number of expansion bays and conform to all the form factors currently available. Server chassis are largely varied in their functionality and offer a wide variety of choices to system integrators and end users alike. Full towers / Server chassis come in a variety of color and sizes.
5. Rack Mount Chassis: Rack mounts are primarily used for server solutions and not typical for the end user. Rack mounts also come in a variety of sizes and can vary greatly in what solution they are used for. The main function of rack mount is to hold the maximum amount of devices in the least amount of space and provide the user with the absolute best organization possible.