Computer cases

Computer cases come in three basic categories. Desktops, Towers and Rack Mount.

Tower Cases

Tower cases are the most common build. The main feature we look at is air flow. HAF stands for High Air Flow. Any high rated HAF case should work.

Full-tower cases
Some cases are taller than others, full-tower cases have plenty of room inside, you would use one of these if you plan to run a lot of hard drives.

Mid-tower cases The most common computer build will use a mid-tower cases.

My computer case. Recently we built several computers with the Thermaltake Element S ATX mid-tower case .
Last I checked, Tiger Direct was out of stock on this excellent case, but based on our experiences with this case, I would be willing to build a computer using any of the Thermaltake cases.

Desktop Cases

Desktop cases lay on their side, and take up more space than tower cases. These are less popular than they used to be, I recommend you stick with a tower case.

Rackmount Cases

Rack mount servers are great for server rooms where space is at a premium. Server rooms will have vertical racks, and the servers slide in horizontally.

How wide?
If you are building a rack mount server, you will need to confirm that the server room is using 19" racks (the main standard). They might also be using 23" racks, but that is less common, except perhaps in telecomunication installations.

How tall?
A "Rack Unit", often seen as "U" is 1.75 inches. You need to find out how many "U" you are allowed for your installation. The smaller space you need to squeeze into, the higher your prices tend to be. Typical installations are from 2U to 4U. It can be tempting, but rack mount systems are too noisy for home use. More info on 19 inch racks.