"If you want sustainably then reuse the million of old computer case that are already existing.
Almost any computer case from the last 25 maybe 30 years can be reused and are much better they can last for hundred of years."
Indeed. Metal is perfectly recyclable. It takes some energy to recycle but with the life-span metal-produced they do last as long as they are compatible with available motherboards, PSUs and stuff. And can be modded to be, if they aren't. It's not like ATX design is going to go extinct... unfortunately. (Or fortunately for recyclability of computer cases.)
I guess the most notable thing that has improved over time is airflow. But even 20yo cases can be superior to some cases 5 years back. Pentium-era (1st to 4th generation) was horrible in how computer cases were designed. Early Pentium era: many cases were ridiculously obstructed and some had fan grilles with 10% hole to steel ratio. Why? Wouldn't a huge hole be better, even WITHOUT a fan, than using (small) fans to blow air through holes the size of a needle? Before Pentium era, they didn't really need active cooling so cases weren't ridiculously obstructed, and were designed quite properly (for the low wattage they needed to cope with).
Big Pimp Daddy:
"Fire shouldn't be an issue, the flash point of cardboard is about 200 degrees C (if anything in your PC gets this hot then you're in trouble anyway)"
Yeah. But that trouble limits only to the contents of your computer case. You'll fry one or several of the following: motherboard, CPU, PSU, HDDs, memory sticks, PCI addon cards... but most importantly, at least you get to keep your house.
"and over 400 degrees is required for continuous burn."
Once it is ignited, there's no question whether over 400 deg C is sustained until cardboard has burned away. And like you said, it could combust at lower temperatures. The only way to prevent it is to make energy required to burn it greater than energy released by burning. This is, treat it like you treat a PCB to make it unburnable (even though it's made of combustible plastic). This requires highly toxic chemicals and disposing the case later on cannot be done by burning, decomposing or even trashing it (and even if the chemicals were non-toxic, trashing is far from ecological).
"I have used card for the ducts in my cases for years with no problems (so far...)."
That isn't such a big problem. Sure, if it sets in fire, the fire will damage more components inside the case but a typical metal case will prevent open flames from coming out and igniting your desk, then your room, then the rest of the house.
So instead of having a closed furnace you would have 5-feet bonfire under or on your table for something as common as PSU failure. Sure, at least 9 out of 10 PSU deaths are nothing spectacular. Even the ones that go with a loud shotgun like bang typically die at once without any after-death overheating and burning. But it's not a possibility that should be ruled out.
Also modern computer cases with low air restriction exhaust grilles and, even worse, top exhaust fan slot would equally allow open flames to exit the case if cardboard ducting is used. But... with computer cases that have top exhaust port, don't they usually have adequate air-circulation to begin with and not require ducting? Sure, ducting is for silencing but computer cases with top fan slot allow noise to escape the case more freely, thus might not be optimal for the absolute silencers anyway.
"This is just another example of people using the "Green" bandwagon to sell their crap."
Indeed. I perfectly agree. I also remember those "wooden" "green" cases... which need steel innards to keep it within legal specs in electromagnetic interference. With metallic innards, the computer case could have consisted of this metallic inner case only. What the wood is, is just decoration. And decoration is fine, yeah, but marketing decorated case as greener than the case that lacks the bling, that's just typical marketing bullshit.
EDIT: typos and missing words. Typed in red.
Antec 1200 | HX520W | Commando | Q6600 G0 @ 3.15GHz | Noctua NH-U12F | 8GB of RAM | HD 4670 (passive)
7 TB of storage: 1x 1st gen GreenPower (1TB), 1x 2nd gen GreenPower (1TB), 1x 3rd gen GreenPower (2TB), 1x 7200rpm F1, 2x 5400rpm F2 EcoGreen
Last edited by whiic on Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.