After successfully building a PC, people often overlook or underestimate the value of placing the PC in the right place or on the right surface. Questions like where should you put your PC, what should I put under my PC, or whether carpet is good for your PC or not are all important questions for your PC’s optimal performance and lifespan longevity.
In short though, your PC should be placed on a flat anti-static surface and should always be slightly elevated. Carpets should be absolutely avoided. Essentially, the surface should provide adequate airflow, should not contribute to dust build up and should be static free.
In the following text I will cover the aspects of the recommended surface for your PC as well as answer some very important questions regarding your PC’s placement.
So What Should I Put Under My PC?
As mentioned earlier, any static free and dust free flat surface should be good for your PC. However, in order to thoroughly understand the recommended surface for putting your PC on, I recommend going over the following points:
1. Solid Flat Surface
For starters, any thing that you put under your PC should be flat, solid and sturdy. This is a given.
A bumpy or a flimsy surface all increase the chance of restricted airflow or your PC tower flipping over.
So make sure the surface that you put your PC on can easily handle the weight of your PC tower and more.
2. Carpet Should Be ABSOLUTELY Avoided
This brings us to the next and perhaps the most important point. Often PC builders overlook the fact that carpets are HORRIBLE for placing your PC on. Hence, you should absolutely avoid putting carpet under your PC.
This is especially true if the strands of the carpet are tall and thick.
Carpets are basically notorious for restricting the airflow PARTICULARLY for PC Towers that have the PSU located on the bottom.
Majority of the gaming grade and quality PC Towers have the PSU slot at the bottom.
In addition to that, carpets are dust magnets. Carpets, if not cleaned regularly, can attract dust which can then be sucked into your PC through the case fans leading to its build up inside.
Dust build up can further restrict the airflow, and can also reduce the lifespan of your PC. In addition to that, dust can increase the chances of static damage to your PC parts.
And of course, you will need to regularly clean your PC which can be hassle.
3. Wood, Tiles, Marble, Static Free Mats are All Good Surfaces
Any static free and hard surface should be good for putting under your PC.
Some of the recommended surfaces include:
- Static Free Mats
Cardboard, foamboard etc are also good non-conductive surfaces, however, carboard would not be able to support the weight of your PC Tower for long and there is a high chance that over time, the legs of your PC’s Tower could sink inside the cardboard and thus restricting the airflow underneath the Tower.
Again, the aim should be a hard flat surface that is non-conductive (static free).
4. At Least Slightly Elevated
All desktop cases have legs for slightly elevating them off from the floor. This allows for better airflow and also allows for the dust to slide out from underneath.
In addition to that, some quality towers, like the one shown above, also have vents for adding an exhaust fan at the bottom (the one above has a vent for 120mm exhaust fan).
The point being that there should always be some ground clearance between the PC Tower and the surface.
PC Towers placed on carpets and soft surfaces such as cardboards tend to sink thus not only restricting the airflow from the bottom, but also blocking the dust from passing out through underneath.
While PC cases do have legs, it is also worth it to invest on PC Tower Stands such as the one shown below.
Also Read: How Much is a Motherboard?
Is It Better To Place PC on a Desk or Floor?
A majority of the enthusiasts and PC builders often love to place their PC on a desk. There are many benefits to doing this:
For starters, you save your PC from the dust that flows on the floor.
In addition to that, if you have a built a gorgeous custom PC, then it would suck to place it somewhere where it can’t be the center of attraction.
Placing your beautiful RGB custom made desktop on the desk can in fact be an eye candy.
Of course there are some precautions that should be taken care off such as making sure that it is NOT placed on a confined or a shaky desk or next to an edge where there is chance of the PC Tower tipping over.
Other Consideration When Placing Your PC
There are various other factors that should be taken into consideration when choosing the right place for your PC.
Sufficient Clearance for Air Flow
There are different opinions as to how much breathing room should be provided, but it is an agreed upon fact that clearance should absolutely be provided for airflow.
For instance, keeping the back of the Tower PC too close to the wall would raise the temperature inside particularly if your PC is exhausting the air from the back like the CoolerMaster Q300L above.
Here is what Crucial has to say regarding clearance:
You’ll want to leave two to three inches of space on all sides of your computer. – Crucial
I would recommend a minimum of 3 inches (8 cm) from all sides if not more.
Corners Should Be Avoided
Corners of a room tend to accumulate a lot of dust particularly if you have a ceiling fan installed.
The natural airflow inside the room also tends to push the dust towards the corner hence placing your PC Tower in the corner increases its chances of accumulating dust.
I could write an entire guide on cable management.
A bad cable management is not only ugly to look at, but it can also pose potential problems such as accidental trips and can also block the dust in their traps.
Hence, try to locate a place where you can minimize the clutter of cables. For instance, try not to place your PC at a place where you have other devices connected as well such as your phone chargers etc.
Away from Your Legs (Kicks)
You should avoid placing your PC under your desk where it can be subjected to accidental kicks.
Gaming rage or over excitement can often lead one to loose control of their limbs which may lead to your PC getting tortured without you even knowing it.
Scratching the beautiful surface of your PC would be the least of your worry here as repeated kicks can lead to internal hardware damage.
Also Read: How Difficult is it to Build a PC?
TL;DR What should I put under my PC? Basically any hard, flat and static free surface should be good for putting under your PC.
You should avoid carpet as it restricts airflow and also attracts dust.
Cardboards are debatable. While they are flat and static free, they do not have sturdiness to support the weight of your PC and thus may either deteriorate or your PC may sink in overtime.
Styrofoam is highly-flammable hence not great safety wise.
Metallic surfaces should also be avoided as they are conductive and thus carry the risk of static damage and if your house suffers from earth fault, a metallic surface would be the most dangerous idea to put under your PC.
My recommendation for surface include:
- Static Free Mat
And the greatest recommendation of them all is to get a PC case stand.