A computer tower, also known as a computer case, is the enclosure that holds many components of a personal or office desktop computer. Towers can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and they can be made from a wide range of materials, including steel, plastic, and aluminum. Sizes range from small mini-towers to medium sized mid-towers and all the way up to full-size towers, depending on what the computer is being used for and how powerful it is.
There are several computer components that can be commonly found in the tower of a home or office computer: the motherboard, hard drive, power supply, and any optical drives or floppy drives, as well as other parts. The locations of these components within the computer tower is usually dependent upon the size or shape of the tower itself, but they are also typically found in the same places in most computers for the sake of convenience. For example, the CD, DVD or floppy drives can usually be found in the front for easy access, while the power supply is usually located in the back to keep the cords out of the way.
A computer tower can also contain many built-in features that work with the components inside. The most obvious of these is that it needs to have a power button embedded somewhere to turn the computer on and off, but there can also be buttons and knobs used to control fans and other components. It can also contain USB, FireWire®, and other types of ports that connect to the motherboard, as well as a variety of lights and sensors to tell the computer user information such as internal temperature and processor speeds.
Typically, a tower is designed specifically around the type, or form factor, of motherboard that it is housing. The main types of form factors are called ATX and microATX, the latter of which is much more compact. In some models of home computers known as all-in-one computers, the tower and components are built in with the monitor, making them even more compact than a typical desktop computer.
The shape of the typical computer tower is rectangular, and more generic versions will usually come in beige or black. This, however, has become less common as many more options are available for a more unique look, and shoppers can now buy a computer in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. Of course, the larger a tower is, the more components a user will be able to fit inside. In a practice known as case modding, some people even customize their machine so that it is completely unique. A tower that has been modified in this fashion can have any number of lights, fans, artwork, see-through walls, internal cooling systems, or other unique attributes that are limited only by the owner’s imagination.