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Anyone who’s trying to build a brand new computer shouldn’t overlook the importance of choosing the right case. Even though cases aren’t that exciting when compared to say, graphics cards, they still represent an essential component to keep everything together in a nice looking package. There are quite a lot of factors to take into account before you decide on a case. In this article, we’ll show the most important aspects to remember when you’re shopping for a PC case and this little guide will be followed by the best products to invest in. So, what are the essential features to consider for a computer case?
The most common sizes are full-tower, mid-tower, and the smaller mini-ITX one. Standard ATX motherboards fit well in any full-tower or mid-tower case. The size of the case is important if you plan on adding certain larger components but keep in mind that mid-tower cases usually provide enough space to fit a couple of graphics cards and a good amount of storage. There’s no need to go overboard with a large full-tower model unless it’s really necessary so, for most cases, a mid-tower unit should suffice.
One aspect that’s certainly worth paying attention to is the look of your future PC case. You’re going to see it on a regular basis so it’s not really a superficial consideration. Getting an aesthetically pleasing unit will make your whole room look better. As cases are designed in different ways with various materials, colors, and styles, there’s enough variation to please multiple tastes. Some models will offer side windows to get a good look at your system inside which can have a cool effect if you use RGB components.
3. Cable management
For efficient cable management, it’s recommended to go for models that provide cut-outs in the motherboard tray as they will enable you to bring cabling through the back of the case and out of view. Depending on your budget you can find options ranging from basic huge cut-outs to tidy holes with rubber grommets for more advanced units. To keep your cabling even cleaner, some cases came with tie-off points or specially placed wire covers behind the tray of the motherboard.
There are some other design elements that can play a considerable role in your selection, but these should be the most important ones. Now it’s time to look at the best computer cases for the money. You might also be interested in our articles about the best sound cards and the best liquid cpu coolers.
Best Buy Computer Case
One of the most appreciated PC cases found on the market right now is the Cooler Master MasterBox Pro 5. This sleek-looking unit provides flexible mounting, three RGB fans, and a stylish tempered glass side panel for looking at your system’s internal components. Let’s see the reasons why this is such a great product.
This is a case that provides compact cooling with the help of its three 120mm RGB fans. A 4mm thick tempered glass panel protects them and allows you to see them in action. On the side, there’s also a side panel made of the same thick tempered glass which provides a great outlook making it possible to show off your build.
To be able to benefit from the super RGB lighting effect it’s necessary to purchase an additional controller. If you prefer, there’s also the possibility of using a compatible motherboard to activate this functionality. Inside the package, you’ve got an RGB connector splitter included as well as 4-pin male to male adapters.
An SSD bracket allows for convenient mounting of SSDs and the case provides good flexibility to rearrange the drives across the motherboard tray. Cut-outs made in the motherboard tray enable users to accommodate various motherboards including ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini ITX variants.
The cooling possibilities can be expanded as you can add fans with 167mm sizes easily. Large graphics cards such as the GeForce GTX Titan Z or the Radeon R9 can fit without problems in this generously-spaced case. When it comes to cable management, this unit doesn’t disappoint as it provides hidden spaces designed just for placing cables.
If you’re looking for an attractive case that provides everything you need inside at a reasonable price, the Cooler Master MasterBox Pro 5 definitely fits the bill. When you consider the tempered glass side panel, the overall space inside for extra components, and the clean design, you’re in for an excellent home to your new system.
- Flexible mounting
- 3 x 120mm Front RGB Fans
- Tempered Side Glass Panel
- Clean Cabling
- Dark Mirror Front Panel
Best Quiet Computer Case
Those who prefer a more minimalist look should check out the NZXT S340VR Elite. This ATX Mid-tower model comes in a variety of colors and will impress anyone with its elegant matte finish. It’s also built with durability in mind and it comes with multiple enhancements to ensure a streamlined VR experience.
Showcasing builds seems to be the trend right now in computer cases and this unit makes no exception. It offers a durable glass panel that allows anyone to glance inside the system. The chassis is marked by great durability improvements too as it’s created using sturdy steel which received a smooth black matte finish.
One thing that sets this PC case apart from the others is the way it has been specifically designed for enhancing the VR experience. The first aspect in that sense is the optimized IO panel found on the top. Another one is the magnetic cable management puck that makes storing VR or audio headsets a breeze.
Inside this case there’s an open-interior design where the front intake is separated from the rest with a sturdy steel bar which is also used for cable management. Behind this bar, you can discover a reliable clamping system for making clean and effortless builds a reality.
Another advantage of this relatively small mid-tower case is the full compatibility with NZXT’s Kraken Series of high-performance liquid coolers. Speaking of size, this case has been designed to be as compact as possible with a focus on some extra thickness and a greater height. Other notable features of this case are the fully-filtered intakes and the captive thumb screws. To keep your build sleek there are also steel-plated audio jacks.
Considering the premium looks and the generous space inside, the NZXT S340VR Elite brings a lot of value to the table for this cost. Cable management is done conveniently with this unit and the sturdiness makes you feel more confident when building the system. The price is actually very reasonable taking into account all of these abilities.
- ATX Mid tower
- Tempered Side Glass Panel
- Minimalist design
- Magnetic cable management puck
- All-steel construction
Best Gaming Computer Case
Gamers shouldn’t pass the opportunity of getting their hands on a superb computer case designed just for them. We’re talking about the Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02, a PC case which offers lots of fan mounts, cable routing, motherboard cutouts, 7 PCIe slots, and many more. An intense design is also added to the mix.
Admiring your components can be done using the side panel which is decorated with a strong window. The visual impact is quite powerful as the aggressive look from the outside blends with the order of your high-tech components from the inside. To keep things orderly, Corsair provides dust filters and an efficient cable routing system.
Installing hard or solid-state drives can be done without too much effort. You won’t need any kind of tool for mounting a maximum of three 3.5 hard-drives and up to two solid-state drives. Upgrading storage is easy but adding other components is a breeze too. You’ve got 7 PCIe slots and enough space to integrate even particularly long graphics cards (426mm maximum).
If you’re a gamer you’re probably interested in the cooling potential of a case because, let’s face it, games can be very demanding to your system. To prevent overheating, there are many cooling possibilities available in this case beyond the two 120mm fans included. There’s space for extra six fans including mounting points for larger 140mm models. Cooling upgrades can be done specifically for the CPU thanks to the dedicated cutout which makes it so you won’t have to take out the motherboard.
Taking into account the decent cable management and the solid airflow potential, the aggressive-looking Carbide Series SPEC-02 case should be a great match for any gamer. The price is within some reasonable limits and the overall quality is what you can expect from a respectable brand like Corsair. Highly recommended.
- Large side panel window
- Seven PCIe slots
- LED front intake fan
- Great cooling potential
- Tool-free drive installation
Best Airflow Computer Case
Corsair’s Obsidian Series is geared towards creating computer cases that provide the most efficient cooling for your system. The 750D model is a strong candidate from this lineup. It’s a full-tower case that boasts a total of 9 PCIe expansion slots and many other features including a modular drive cage system.
The reason why the airflow in this computer case is substantially improved compared to similar models is due to the dual 140mm front intake fans that deliver the cooling in the most efficient manner possible. There’s a low-resistance mesh panel to consolidate the whole design and when it comes to noise, you shouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary.
Another secret to the superior airflow that you can obtain with this case is the roomy cooling potential you’ve got inside. There’s more than enough room for boosting the cooling performance for GPUs or CPUs by integrated sophisticated components. Have a customized layout exactly according to your storage and airflow requirements.
With the help of a modular drive cage system, you can move and remove drive bays without having to rely on any special tools. Take care of your storage needs more comfortably and use only what’s required for maintaining enough available space to fit other components or to maximize the overall airflow.
The exterior of the case leaves off a solid impression through an elegant combination of robust steel and brushed aluminum. This last ingredient is a much-welcomed change over the ugly plastic add-ons you can find in other PC cases. The whole case seems rigid and with a durable frame to help you build a high-end system with confidence.
All in all, this is the kind of computer case that makes the life of a PC builder so much easier. The Corsair Obsidian Series 750D comes prepared in multiple ways so that your install process is smooth and painless. It’s a huge case, adequate for high-performance custom builds and is also remarkably elegant fitting for both home and office environments.
- 9 PCI-E expansion slots
- Modular Drive Cage System
- Wide motherboard compatibility
- Tool-free drive installation
- Efficient air cooling
For PC builders who want to create a smaller system, Thermaltake offers an excellent solution through the Core V21. This unit comes with a Chamber Concept Design and provides support for M-ATX and Mini ITX motherboards. It’s a micro cube case that promises convenient stacking and solid thermal flexibility.
Whether you prefer placing your motherboard in a vertical or horizontal positioning, it doesn’t matter because this model is suitable for both configurations. In the bottom panel, you will discover a removable PSU dust filter that’s embedded in the chassis. Noise is minimized through the shockproof rubber gaskets that are placed on the power supply unit bracket.
The case is divided into two main chambers, hence the Chambers Concept design. On the lower chamber, you’ve got just enough space for the drive bays and the PSU while on the upper one you’ll be greeted by generous space for efficient cooling performance to all your important components.
A 200mm fan comes pre-installed but if your configuration requires more cooling, there are plenty of mounting points and support for both air-cooling units and AIO/DIY liquid cooling. Those who need extra storage can add a maximum of six data storage devices which should be enough to cover even more demanding needs.
On the exterior surface of the case, there are dual USB 3.0 ports on a dedicated panel which also contains the Power and Reset buttons as well as the HD audio connector. Accessing external devices is done quickly and effortlessly with a clean-looking panel.
The Thermaltake Core V21 can work well for a multitude of different configurations. It’s a fitting choice for both air and liquid cooling setups to keep up with the evolving cooling demands of today. The case should also save you a good amount of time when installing components thanks to the tool-free drive bay design. A very cost-effective option to consider if you need a smaller case.
- M-ATX and Mini ITX compatibility
- Chamber Concept Design
- Pre-installed 200mm Front Fan
- Solid expansion potential
- Stackable design
Best Cooling Computer Case
Corsair is a name that keeps appearing on this list and it’s not really surprising when you consider their high standards for designing computer cases. One model that stands out, in particular, is the Carbide Series Air 540, a unit that’s been engineered for delivering quiet cooling to your high-end system.
Thanks to the Direct Airflow Path design choice, this unit makes cooling more efficient by using two separate chambers. Both the drives and PSU of your system won’t get in the way of the cool air that’s needed for your important PCIe components such as graphics cards, CPU, motherboard, and memory.
A problem often experienced with those who rely on configurations with lots of cooling units can be the noisy operation. Thankfully, this case offers a trio of powerful Air Series AF140L fans which deliver superior airflow without sacrificing the noise levels. In fact, they’re designed to perform in a quieter manner compared to the standard case fans. Low-restriction dust filters are also integrated into this case to do some maintenance work without too much hassle.
Corsair includes three fans in this case and they’re very reliable, but they won’t be enough for certain builds. There’s obviously plenty of space to expand the layout to both air and liquid cooling components. Up to 6 fans that measure 120mm can be installed and five 140mm ones. There’s also room to add a 280 radiator to the top and a generous 360mm radiator on the front panel in case you’re building a more extreme system.
With so many amazing abilities, the Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 is another computer case that deserves some attention from those who have higher cooling demands. It’s also an exceptional model for those interested in the most optimized cable management possible. The only slight drawback is that the case makes a little more noise though that’s perfectly normal considering the cooling potential.
- Dual-chamber Direct Airflow Path
- 3 Air Series AF140L fans included
- Expansion room for cooling
- Full side panel window
- Rubber grommets cutouts
After the wild success of the Enthoo Primo, it’s time for the Phanteks Enthoo Pro to establish its own reputation as a great computer case. It’s crafted with a beautiful design in mind and there are hardly any compromises on expansion flexibility and cooling potential. The price is more than reasonable too for a full-tower unit.
This computer case comes with two fans. A large one in the front which measures 200mm and a smaller fan in the rear which reaches only 140mm. Upgrading to more fans is possible in case you aren’t satisfied by the standard cooling performance offered by the case.
The integrated fans aren’t just some generic fans but they’re Phanteks’ performant SP series fans. For those who prefer water cooling, this model comes with extensive support for it. There are multiple installation areas to accommodate radiators of different sizes, both 120mm and 140mm units.
On the outside, the case looks very good even though it has just a simulated aluminum design. It’s brushed plastic that resembles aluminum so that’s good enough to save some money. In the interior of the unit, some components such as the PSU and the HDD stay hidden which is a nice design choice.
When it comes to overall durability, this case doesn’t disappoint. Due to the closed HDD panel, the case has a more rigid chassis even if you take out the HDD cages completely. A removable SDD bracket offers you the option to install in two different places with a convenient Drop-n-Lock system. Dust filters can be removed for maintenance and behind the motherboard tray, you’ve got various cable management tools that are already installed. You can fasten them or release them at any time.
In conclusion, the Phanteks Enthoo Pro is a superb case both inside and outside. It has more than enough space for most users and provides solid functionality for the cost. One thing that makes this a great pick, in particular, is the robust build quality which gives you extra peace of mind that your precious components stay stiff and secure inside.
- Extensive water cooling support
- 2 fans included
- Removable dust filters
- Simulated Brushed Aluminum design
- Great expansion flexibility
Best Budget Computer Case
Even though many associate Corsair with premium computer components that are more often leaning on the expensive side of things, it looks like it can also manage to integrate some budget variants. One good example when it comes to PC cases is the Carbide Series 200R, a very compact ATX case that has plenty to offer for a modest price.
The compact design of this case makes it easy to place in various environments. There’s enough potential to house a performant build with some decent graphics performance and great storage capacity. Seven PCIe slots should be enough to cover a wide range of basic to medium builds and a maximum of 4 hard drives and 4 solid state drives can be added simultaneously.
This case doesn’t offer much but it does come with two fans and it brings an increased airflow potential to the table. It can accommodate CPU coolers with a height of 160mm maximum. Depending on the layout of the hard drive, you can have a total of eight fan mounts to match the increased demand for more efficient cooling.
Keeping the interior clean is important so this is why the case comes with dust filters right behind the front intake fan. On the front panel, you’ve got some basic connectivity options including two USB 3.0 ports and audio ports.
If you’re the kind of computer builder who prefers clean and organized builds, you can be satisfied by the way this case is designed. It promises a tool-free install for a wide variety of drives including HDDs, SSDs, and optical units. Cable routing is done via special cut-outs and you’ve got handy side panel thumbscrews.
Factoring in all of its qualities, the Corsair Carbide Series 200R is a fitting choice for those who want simpler builds and don’t have a large budget allocated towards the computer case. The case is big yet compact enough and it provides two fans as well as enough space for more. Build quality is decent at this cost though it’s obvious that the basic design won’t blow you away. Still, it has a certain elegance to it so it’s recommended.
- Designed for easy-to-install builds
- Mid-tower form factor
- 7 PCI-E slots
- Expanding potential for cooling
- Tool-free drive installation
Best Looking Computer Case
If your budget is hardly a concern and you are trying to find one of the most attractive computer cases on the market you should definitely take a look at the Corsair Crystal Series 570X RGB. This premium-looking mid-tower case has a total of four tempered glass panels which combined with the included RGB LED fans makes for a truly visual feast for your eyes.
This case is perhaps Corsair’s best-looking model. Tempered glass encloses the full chassis so you can watch every part of your build in action. As there’s room for a maximum of six case fans, you can take advantage of a generous cooling potential. Whether you plan on using 120mm radiators or bigger 360mm units, this case accommodates them all.
Three RGB LED fans are already supplied on the front panel complete with the required controller. Your build can benefit from the cool lighting effects right out of the box. Something that helps with the overall cooling performance in the case is the way drive cages are taken out of the way so that the path of air goes straight to high-temperature components.
The task of managing cables is much simplified with this PC case. There are special channels for cable routing and to keep things clean, they come with Velcro cable straps. Installing drives can be managed without the help of tools and maintaining the case dust-free is done more easily thanks to the three-point dust filter access.
Overall, this one’s a very smartly designed case created for those with higher standards. The Corsair Crystal Series 570X is an ideal choice for PC builders who want to really show off their work. With so many tempered glass panels you can view the inside of the system from all angles and even if it doesn’t look like it, the components can be quite easily accessed due to the magnetic mesh. Strongly recommended if you wish to make a superior investment.
- 4 tempered glass panels
- 3 SP120 RGB LED fans
- Cable routing channels
- Tool-free drive installation
- Space for 6 case fans
A solid competitor to the Crystal Series 570X by Corsair could be considered the Thermaltake View 71 RGB. It has relatively similar features including some impressive tempered glass panels to showcase your system. When it comes to cooling or expandability, this full tower case seems like it would be a great choice for gamers.
Thanks to the fully modular design implemented in this case, you are free to build the system of your dreams from the ground up. As opposed to other cases where you have unreachable gaps or screw corners, this one provides things like modular panels, brackets, and racks for a more customizable approach.
With 5mm thick tempered glass panels that completely enclose the case, there’s not only superior strength added to the entire unit, but you also benefit from the ability to clearly see inside every corner of the case from the outside. Take your DIY spirit to the next level as you’ve got swing doors on either side which you can fit in a multitude of configurations.
Expandability is taken very seriously by this computer case. There’s enough space for any standard E-ATX motherboards and power supplies that reach 220mm in length will also feel at home here. Gamers or video editors who need performant graphics cards can install units with a maximum length of 410mm and if you’re looking to take advantage from the CPU’s overclocking potential, this case also has a protective effect.
In terms of fans, there are 3 140mm Riing LED units that come preinstalled. Their RGB modes can be controlled through hardware. More advanced ventilation can be obtained through a comprehensive selection of mounts at the front, top, bottom, and rear of the case.
When you consider the design, performance, and overall included features, the Thermaltake View 71 appears to be a computer case that can take your gaming to the next level. It’s a solid unit to take into account if you want to build a high-end computer and need a reliable case, this seems like it should fit your needs.
- 4-Sided 5mm Tempered Glass Panels
- Fully Modular Design
- Tool-less Drive Bay Design
- Vertical Radiator View
- 3 Preinstalled 140mm Riing LED Fans