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Choosing the Case

Special care should be taken in choosing the case. We're looking for the antithesis of the ugly beige stereotype. Since we're designing a UV system with a side window, we want it to look good. For this purpose, we'll look for a solid aluminum case with a high-quality finish. Aluminum is significantly lighter than steel, and it also dissipates case heat more quickly. But most importantly, it looks good. A quality case should have a smooth, highly machined finish.

We're also looking for ample expansion bays to handle peripherals, and at least front-mounted USB ports and audio jacks for easy video editing and audio communication while gaming. Most games are starting to support integrated team-talk, so it's a pain to have to walk around to the back of your case to plug in the headset whenever you need it.

After studying more than a score of cases, the choice came down to two main contenders. The top of the line is the Coolermaster Wavemaster, an aluminum case with an attractive front wave shape. However, the Wavemaster is quite expensive at $150. Instead, we'll choose the Aopen 600B—a high-end, full-featured mini-tower with a highly burnished aluminum finish. Get the black model, which will look good with our interior UV lighting.

Aopen 600B case cost: $63.

In Part 2 of this article, Choosing the Motherboard, we'll choose the heart and soul of our machine: the mainboard and the RAM. It's not going to be an easy decision.

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