PC case design gripes

I’m currently looking at budget microATX cases for another build, and once again I see some very common very easily avoided bad design choices. And I even see many of these bad designs in more expensive cases, too!

Most notably for me:

A PSU intake inside the case right next to the case’s rear exhaust fan, so that the PSU actually ends up pulling air in through the case exhaust fan :smiley:

A PSU intake that (hurrah!) intakes air through a bottom case vent, that either has no filter or one that cannot be removed for cleaning and replaced without lifting the entire case up (gah!).

A righthand side panel that has no room for cable management, or what looks like some room, but ends up requiring squishing cables just to get the damn side panel on, with sometimes even a noticeable bulge afterwards if the panel is really cheap plastic.

Drive bays that are not accessible from the side, and are blocked by a CPU cooler with a tower heatsink (or other internal hardware). I hate that so much!

Front fan mounts with such tiny clearance under the front panel, and vents so small with such right angles, that airflow is seriously impeded.

I wonder: what design choices do you folk run up against time and again, that make you grimace?

In the old days, the 90’s, some cases you could not even see what you were doing when installing parts. You had you feel as you worked…

I’m not surprised to see gripes with micro ATX. Industry seems to be moving away from that form factor lately. Unless you need the space (in which, uh, case compact ATX cases are sometimes smaller than micro ATX cases) mini ITX is more interesting these days. Bunch of cool boutique case projects on SFF network forums.

I find Mini-ITX a bit too constraining for most desktop builds, given limits on RAM, PCIe x16, and NVMe slots; as well as fewer internal connectors. Mini-ITX is great for any small form factor builds that you’ll never want to expand past those limits, though since it’s also usually more expensive than microATX I would only go there if I needed the form factor.

I actually still prefer full size ATX in a full size tower case for the convenience of building with plenty of space, slots and connectors, but am forced to admit in most builds I don’t need it, and I go for the sweet spot in pricing: microATX in a mini-tower.

My current gripe about cases is that it is becoming really hard to get a case without a window in it. I’m not into unicorn vomit lighting and so I don’t want to see inside my case, which I will be keeping on the floor beside my desk and out of view of anyone.

I have always wanted to build small systems, but I like a lot of RAM and the small systems always seem restricted to lower amounts of RAM. It’s gotten better now that you can get up to 32GB on a single SODIMM or DIMM so one day I may actually build a custom tiny system. (Of note, the PC I am using to post this message is an aging Gigabyte BRIX 4010u.) (Also of note is that I have built this little guy A review, of sorts, of the Asrock DeskMini A300 )

My next build is likely to be an AMD 3950X based system. Considering the Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C case for it… it looks like a sweet case with way too much room for what I will end up using it for :slight_smile:

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LMAO :smiley:

I prefer for my personal machines to not have windowed cases, either. Frankly I could care less about making everything look nice inside, or paying more for attractive internals (which half the time are not even as functionally effective as uglier parts). And IME internal clutter matters very little for air flow. I get maybe 1° difference inside most cases if I go to town on cable management. Not that I don’t still keep cables off off hot components and out of the way of fans, but I just don’t go beyond the practicalities, ya know? Besides, I only have to undo and redo extreme cable management when I add or replace parts, and that’s a drag.

And the only lighting I like on my desk is the lowest level red (which I find less distracting than the oh so popular blue and RGB) static backlighting on my keyboard, so I can see to type well in low light.

All that said, when I make a build for sale on auction sites and classifieds, I go windowed and RGB - it sells, and a lot of people like their bling, heh.

I do wish, however, that more case designers remembered that people like you and me exist. I struggle to find decent non-windowed cases that are not ultra cheap and ancient in their designs, or that conversely don’t cost a fortune. Almost everything low-mid upwards has a bloody window (pardon my French) :smiley:

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