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  1. I'm shopping for a cabinet online
  2. Description of the material used in the cabinet varies from Steel, Aluminium Alloy to Acrylic
  3. My options are narrowed down to either Steel (SECC?), or Aluminium
  4. From what I see in the provided images the interior of a steel cabinet looks like galvanized tin ... with lots of sharp edges to boot.

In order

a. Is an SECC cabinet(case/enclosure) better than an aluminium one, or vice-versa?

b. Which of the two is more sturdy? (i've heard reports from colleagues that the SECC cabinets being flimsy ... so i'm prejudiced there)

EDIT: I finally went with Antec Sonata Proto MT

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by cabinet, do you mean a rackmount rack? –  Journeyman Geek Apr 14 '11 at 5:06
    
Nope; a case/enclosure –  Everyone Apr 14 '11 at 5:07

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

if you are looking for good design and better finish go with aluminium case but if you are looking for sturdiness then steel case are better.

Both have their pros and cons. Aluminium cases are light and better designed(most of the times) and some people says that their hard drive run cooler with aluminium cases. alluminium cases have no sharp edges and they are also more expensive.

Steel cases are more sturdy and heavy in build and also cheaper then aluminium.

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Probably a pricing tactic question, but shouldn't the steel case be more expensive when it is more sturdy? –  Everyone Apr 14 '11 at 5:24
    
steel case is sturdy because of the material property and the aluminium cases are also sturdy unless you beat them with hammer. –  kaykay Apr 14 '11 at 5:28
1  
It comes down to price of metals at that point. Aluminum is more expensive than steel. –  MaQleod Apr 14 '11 at 5:28
    
yes you are right –  kaykay Apr 14 '11 at 5:30
1  
Aha. Then the uptake is - prefer Aluminium; right? One other factor in favour of aluminium ... Aluminium doesn't rust –  Everyone Apr 14 '11 at 5:38

Sturdiness is a function of the design and thickness of the sheets used.

Amount of sharp edges etc depends on manufacturing quality. There are a lot of well made steel cases that have no sharp edges. Aluminum cases tend to be designed for lightness so when comparing models of comparably good quality, they tend to be flimsier than steel counterparts and thus also noisier on average.

While aluminum has decidedly better conductivity than steel, that would only be relevant in a passive design. Most PC rely instead on airflow, and then the quality of the design makes the difference.

Personally, having used both aluminum and steel cases, I tend to prefer the latter.

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The lack of edges is more a function of build quality than the metal type used. Aluminum cases can be just as bad as steel cases when it comes to sharp edges and dangerous bits. Generally, more expensive and better-built cases will has edges that have been rolled, turning any edge in on itself and so what you hand meets is a rounded fold rather than the sharp edge. This also lends stiffness to the case.

Like the others have said, Aluminum has better thermal properties. I don't see much of a reason for steel. If you're moving the case around, a more expensive and sturdy aluminum case will be lighter, easier to move, and thus less likely to be damaged. If you're leaving the system under (or on) your desk, there's no need for the extra strength.

It's really entirely a matter of personal taste and price.

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