Do Windows on PCs Increase Electronic Interference?

Zombiesnare writes:

My dad doesn’t want me to get a windowed case for my next PC build because he says computers give off a lot of electrical interference that can mess up a lot of nearby electronics. Is there any legitimacy to this or is he just living in the ages of early computing?

PC Window ModThis is an interesting question, and one that relates directly to the age of analog. I can tell you that a great deal of computer chassis made today are made almost entirely out of plastic, and very few of them are insulated in any way. To think that an acrylic window would promote the spread of electronic interference in any really tangible way ignores the fact that desktop PCs by their vary nature have openings on the front and back to promote air flow. It isn’t a sealed system at all.

That said, electronic interference can occur if you have receivers/transmitters placed on or directly near a PC. It’s never recommended to place a wireless router on top of your PC as this will promote interference. This is the nature of electronics as a whole, and very few electric devices are entirely insulated. Some speakers are, and cables may be, though.

Here’s where there might be an issue. Many quality computer cases are sprayed with an EMI (electromagnetic interference) shielding coating on the inside of the case. This coating will help reduce the electromagnetic interference that high-frequency PC components can emit. If you’re not incredibly sensitive to EMI, then this probably won’t be an issue for you at all. You may not want to place an AM/FM or shortwave radio next to your PC, but these days more and more cases are being built out of plastics (like acrylic) and the difference between a windowed and non-windowed panel is minimal in many cases. You get what you pay for, really.

Here’s what I’d recommend. If you feel that a case with a window in it is for you, go for it. Just keep in mind that there may not be sufficient EMI shielding in place to avoid interference with a cordless phone, radio, or mobile device. You might want to keep it a foot or two away from these devices. Aside from that, you should be absolutely fine.

A lot of people out there are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation. Areas with high concentrations of EMF (electromagnetic fields) can make someone feel uneasy or slightly ill. The chances that your PC can cause this kind of feeling is fairly low, but someone particularly sensitive to this would probably want to take steps to avoid excess exposure.

Fun fact: Ghost hunters often attribute the sudden feeling of uneasiness many people associate with hauntings to poor electromagnetic shielding in an enclosed area. Your PC probably won’t make you feel as though you’re being watched by a spirit… unless you’re playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent or something.

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Chris has consistently expressed his convictions and visions outright, supplying practical information to targeted audiences: media agencies, business owners, technology consumers, software and hardware professionals, et al. He remains a passionate personality in the tech community-at-large. He's a geek.