It’s easy to overlook the importance of the case when constructing a gaming PC, but the enclosure serves a purpose beyond mere aesthetics. The cooling efficiency of the build is affected by the case format, which in turn determines the type and size of components that can be installed inside.
However, choosing a case isn’t as simple as picking the one that appeals to you the most at first glance; in this article, we’ll examine all the factors you should think about.
Size & Form Factor
Of course, the size of a computer case is crucial. While there is some leeway in the precise measurements, cases are typically classified as either small form factor, Mini Tower, Mid Tower, or Full Tower.
The format and number of components that can fit into the case are limited by the size of the motherboard.
|Extent of the Tower in Its Totality
|Structure of Motherboards
|Inches Required for Motherboard
|6.7′ in x 6.7 in
|6.7 in x 6.7 in
9.6 in x 9.6 in
|6.7 in x 6.7 in
9.6 in x 9.6 in
12 in x 9.6 in
|6.7 in x 6.7 in
9.6 in x 9.6 in
12 in x 9.6 in
12 in x 13 in
While it’s not always the case, the data in the table above shows that smaller cases are best suited for smaller motherboards. There are still cases that can support bigger motherboards, for instance, there are Mid Tower cases out there that are designed to fit EATX motherboards.
There is no universal standard for graphics processing unit or central processing unit (CPU) cooler sizes, and they are all affected by the size of the case.
The length of the GPU is the most important specification to look at, but the height also matters due to the fact that many modern GPUs have large coolers. The height of a CPU cooler is the most crucial dimension, since a large tower cooler might not fit in a small case.
Additionally, the case should have sufficient radiator support for liquid CPU coolers, but more on that later.
Other components, such as RAM, SSD, HDD, or optical drives, are not limited by case size, but there is a finite amount of each that can be installed. The optical drives fit into the 5.25′′ drive bays, hard drives into the 3.5′′ ones, and the SATA solid state drives (SSDs) into the 2.5′′ ones.
In the meantime, the motherboard is the only thing limiting the total amount of RAM that can be installed.
Finally, standard ATX power supply units are used in the vast majority of cases, but smaller SFX units are not unprecedented in small form factor cases. There are other power supply formats out there, but as long as you stick to desktop PCs, you won’t run into them.
Standard ATX Mid Tower cases are recommended because they have plenty of room for your components, so you won’t have to worry as much about them all fitting inside and can also be easily disassembled and cleaned.
If you plan on making extensive use of the additional internal space, a full tower case may be worth the higher price tag. But Small and Mini Towers
The disadvantages of using a Form Factor case are that it is more difficult to manage, not all components will fit, and the cooling won’t be as quiet or efficient as it would be with a larger case.
Modularity and Options
Recently, modularity has gained traction in many areas, and cases are no exception. A case’s modular design allows for expansion by the user through the installation and removal of trays, covers, mounts, and other components.
For most purposes, extreme modularity is unnecessary, but if flexibility is paramount, researching your options before settling on a non-modular design is a smart move.
The majority of cases include fundamental buttons and ports, like front-mounted USB 3.0 ports and audio ports for headphones and microphones.
However, you can take things to a whole new level by adding a slew of ports and other convenience features like heat monitoring LCD panels that display the temperature of individual components, fan controllers, volume controls, clocks, lighting controllers, and so on.
Cases that reduce noise are also common, especially for high-end systems with multiple fans. The noise of the fans and the hard drives may not bother you at first, but eventually, you will find it very distracting.
The temptation to purchase a case that includes a power supply in order to save money is understandable; however, it is not always a good idea to do so.
If you’re going to spend a significant amount on a PC gaming setup, you should prioritize getting a good power supply (PSU).
A good power supply unit (PSU) is one that is made by a reputable company, has enough power to run your system as it is now, and still has some spare juice for the future. Of course, there are additional considerations; you can learn more about them here.
The bottom line is that pre-packaged power supplies are rarely worth the extra money. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to get a PSU separately, but if you find a case you like that includes a PSU that meets your requirements and is reliable, it’s hard to pass up.
The importance of proper cooling cannot be overstated when discussing cases.
These are the sorts of questions you should be asking:
- Is there adequate ventilation in the case?
- I was wondering how many fan brackets it has.
- How many places does it have to mount the radiator?
The first and, arguably, most crucial factor is ventilation. Having adequate airflow in a case means that the PC will run more quietly, that heat will be dissipated more effectively, and that the PC will be slightly more efficient in terms of both power consumption and cooling needs.
Nevertheless, even the best cases benefit from the additional push that case-mounted fans offer. The number (and size) of supported fans varies from case to case, but even one or two fans can make a significant difference in keeping the PC cool and quiet.
The most common sizes for case fans are 120mm and 240mm, but larger cases often have additional fan mounts and can accommodate even larger fans.
Finally, radiators are a necessary part of any liquid cooling system. The same way that bigger cases can accommodate more powerful fans, they can also accommodate more powerful radiators, allowing for more comprehensive liquid cooling systems.
Build Quality & Price
No discussion of a personal computer (PC) is complete without mentioning its price. Most people will look to cut costs wherever they can, and the case is no exception, especially if they are strapped for cash or want the best possible performance from their components.
Many can see the logic in this, but should they bother? Do you want your gaming rig to be stuck inside a cheap, unsightly plastic case just because you’re a performance-oriented gamer who doesn’t care that much about aesthetics?
More expensive cases have better airflow and other features like simplified cable management, which are important for keeping your components cool.
Even more importantly, upgrading from a “barebones” case to a decent one doesn’t cost very much, and the few extra bucks you’d spend on a slightly more expensive case would be well worth it. You could expect a more aesthetically pleasing and sturdy case with enhanced ventilation and additional features.
The construction of personal computers is now as much a matter of form as function, making computer case design more crucial than ever. In recent years, glass has become increasingly common in case construction.
Even so, it’s clear that individual taste plays a significant role here; not everyone will embrace a widely acclaimed design.
Some people like glass because it pairs well with RGB lighting; others favor the understated elegance of matte black; and still others are huge fans of the angular, aggressive aesthetic that has come to be associated with the word “gaming.”
No one else but you cares more about the aesthetics of your computer case than you do.
What are the best PC cases?
Picking the ideal computer housing is largely a matter of taste. The aesthetic appeal of the case plays the largest role. The excellent Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic is a personal favorite of ours, but that doesn’t mean you’ll agree. We’ve decided to focus on the best PC cases outside of this collection, so we’ve taken into account factors like the number of fans that can be installed, the size of the motherboards that can be used, and more.
Choose a full-tower case, such as the Thermaltake Tower 900, if you need a lot of storage space. The excellent NZXT H210i is an ITX case that is ideal for compact PC builds. Other PC cases on the list focus on specific features like airflow, where the be quiet! A strong suit for Silent Base 802.
However, as before, your goals should guide your decision when selecting a PC case. Check out our suggestions to get your imagination going as you build a computer that reflects who you are as a person. Check out our compiled list of PC case discounts to see if you can save money on any of our top picks.
Best PC cases 2022
1. Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic
In conclusion, Lian Li collaborated with PC overclocker DER8AUER to create a unique-looking case that also functions admirably under pressure during intense gaming. You can’t go wrong with the PC-O11 Dynamic, and if you go with the Mini, it’s positively divine.
Mid-tower form factor; ATX, microATX, and Mini-ITX mother boards; six solid-state drive (SSD) bays; eight PCIe expansion slots; nine 120mm fans; up to a 360mm radiator; front USB-A 3.0 and USB-C 3.1 ports.
There are many beautiful computer cases available, but if you’re looking for something truly remarkable, I recommend the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic. This case can accommodate not one, but two power supply units (PSUs), has plenty of space for water cooling radiators, and looks great while doing it.
The Lian Li O11 Dynamic may look like an ordinary PC case at first glance, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. This chassis is an exquisite work of design and engineering, with its sleek lines and thoughtful details. Also, aesthetics aren’t everything. You can expect great results because Lian Li recruited DER8AUER. There is plenty of room for a custom water-cooling loop, with room for up to three 360mm radiators.
The O11 Dynamic from Lian Li features room for up to nine 120mm fans, ensuring that plenty of air is pushed through the four filters. There are several different iterations of this chassis; our review was conducted inside the Mini, a smaller version that can still accommodate a full-size ATX motherboard but necessitates a smaller SFX power supply.
The HDD cage is detachable, allowing for the addition of a second PSU, and the case is constructed with high-quality materials like steel, tempered glass, and aluminum. With the help of the many cable management options that Lian Li thoughtfully included, anyone can build a sleek computer with robust components.
There are a few things to keep in mind when picking out a PC case for your next build. To start, would you rather have a big or small layout? Does your all-in-one CPU cooler have a massive 360mm radiator, or are you planning to crank up the ventilation with every fan in existence? When you have a general concept in mind, you can narrow down your search by category and form factor.
In general, the higher the price of a case (and some of our picks aren’t cheap) the higher the quality of its build, materials, finish, and features. If you opt for the bare minimum and spend only ten dollars on a basic case, you may have trouble with cable management (though it is still possible to do a good job), you may be unable to build a custom water-cooling loop, and you may not even get a glass panel on the side.
The number of PCIe expansion slots a motherboard has and the number of graphics processing units it can support are more important than the size of the motherboard itself. While ATX is the standard, microATX is a great alternative if you need a smaller PC case without sacrificing performance.
2. NZXT H210i
In conclusion, do you want to construct a small personal computer? The NZXT H210i is a great option that you should think about. Our go-to Mini-ITX enclosure thanks to its sleek aesthetic, flexible expansion options, and well-thought-out cable management.
Features: 4x 120mm fans, up to 280mm (front) and 120mm (rear) radiators, front USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 and USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 ports, small form factor, Mini-ITX motherboard, 3 SSD bays, 2 PCIe expansion slots
Although NZXT has attempted to shake up the industry with ideas like the NZXT H1, our favorite Mini-ITX tower is the H210i, which the company produces. This compact chassis offers performance and features that are on par with or better than those found in larger cases. It comes in a plethora of monochromatic and duotone combinations.
Only Mini-ITX motherboards will fit, limiting you to just two PCI slots, but the 325mm of clearance should be enough to accommodate most graphics processing units. Even though it’s a small case, NZXT squeezed in two 140mm front fans, one 120mm on top, and another at the back.
You could get by with as little as a 120mm radiator in the back, 240mm in the front, and 280mm in the top. You can set this up in a variety of ways, including using two independent AIO loops (one for the CPU and one for the GPU). Furthermore, the power supply unit (PSU) intake and the front of the unit are both fitted with dust filters.
The H210i is aesthetically pleasing, allows your electronics to stay cool, and produces almost no noise. Add in some RGB lighting that can be managed from within Windows 10 with the help of NZXT CAM, and you have a real winner on your hands. If you’re not going to be enclosing your Mini-ITX build in a cube, this is a good option to consider.
3. be quiet! Silent Base 802
The bottom line is: keep quiet! The Silent Base 802 comes close to being perfect as a computer case because of its great airflow and thermal performance, numerous expansion slots, and fantastic water-cooling support.
Mid-tower form factor; supports E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards; has 15 SSD bays; can accommodate up to a 280mm radiator; has nine PCIe expansion slots; and has seven 120mm fans and a front USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 and USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 ports.
Calm down! For maximum noise suppression, the Silent Base 802 is your best bet. It is one of the best cases available if you are looking for the coolest possible operating temperatures without sacrificing style or discretion. This case is also available in white and white with a window as well as black and black without a window.
This monstrosity of a case can accommodate motherboards as large as E-ATX, has nine rear PCI slots for all your graphics processing unit and expansion card needs, and is equipped with a plethora of 2.5- and 3.5-inch drive bays. The mesh front panel is the best part because it lets a lot of fresh air into the chassis.
Speak up! doubled down on efforts to maintain a pristine interior by installing a dust filter at both the top and the front of the unit. The top vents are typically used for exhaust, so a dust filter mounted there seems unnecessary, but having one helps catch dust that settles on the case when it’s not in use.
Inside the Silent Base 802, you can easily install a custom water-cooling loop, but even if you don’t, you’ll still end up with a PC that operates with minimal noise. Given its size, you should only consider this case if you have plenty of room on or under your desk for it.
4. Fractal Design Define 7
To sum up, Fractal Design’s Define 7 is an excellent choice for situations where silence is paramount. This is one of the quietest chassis options and it supports E-ATX motherboards.
Mid-tower form factor; supports E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards; has four SSD bays and nine PCIe expansion slots; and boasts nine 120mm fans, a 360mm radiator, and USB-A 3.0 and USB-A 2.0 ports on the front bezel.
The Fractal Design Define 7 is ideal for those who prefer a more understated aesthetic to their workstation and don’t need or want dazzling RGB lighting or a jet engine sitting on their desk. The design is understated and makes good use of steel, but the aesthetic may be off-putting to some. Since this is a subjective matter, that’s to be expected.
The design is accompanied by a lengthy list of features and capabilities if you find yourself interested. Even though it is a mid-tower chassis, you can fit up to nine 120mm fans or some 140mm blowers, as well as radiators, inside. All the way up to 360 millimeters in the front, 360 millimeters in the back, 120 millimeters in the middle, and 280 millimeters in the snout.
You can fit powerful CPU air coolers and even the largest graphics cards thanks to the ample space between them. As a mid-tower case, it offers a lot of room for components. The Define R6’s use of advanced sound dampening materials sets it apart from the pack. All these fans running quietly, you won’t be able to hear a thing.
This Fractal Design case may be a bit understated in terms of aesthetics, but it is perfect if you want a basic PC build that is quick and easy to assemble and produces almost no noise once it is running. There is also a fan controller included, so you can fine-tune the system’s operating temperature as needed.
5. Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh
Lian Li’s Lancool 205 Mesh is a stylish and effective cooler that features RGB lighting and tempered glass. Price and internal complexity are low.
Case Type: Mid-tower Motherboard Form Factor: ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX Storage Drive Bays: 6 x 2.5-inch Expansion: 7 PCIe Slots Cooling: Up to 5 x 120mm, Up to 280mm Radiator Front USB 3.0 and HD Audio Other Features:
With products like the Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh, Lian Li has shown that it can compete in the budget PC case market. It’s not the cheapest PC case out there, but it’s still well within most people’s budgets. And the best part is that it’s a cheap PC case with the signature Lian Li flair.
This mid-tower case can accommodate a motherboard with a form factor of ATX, Mini-ITX, or microATX. There is room for up to five 120mm fans or four 140mm fans (plus a 120mm rear blower) to be installed for ventilation and cooling. You can put in two 280mm radiators thanks to the radiator support. There are filters on the front, back, and top panels of this mesh case.
The case has a minimalistic design while still being extremely practical. You could install a power-hungry processor like an Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 without worrying about overheating. Countless times, companies have attempted to differentiate themselves by prioritizing aesthetics over practicality. Lian Li, thankfully, has a knack for arguing persuasively.
6. Phanteks Eclipse P360A
Briefly put, the P360A is under $80, fits in the palm of your hand, is aesthetically pleasing, has RGB lighting and tempered glass, and is a dream to build in. And what else could one possibly want?
Mid-tower form factor; supports E-ATX, ATX, micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards; has space for three 2.5-inch solid-state drives; can accommodate a 280mm radiator; has up to five 120mm fans and two 140mm fans; has seven expansion slots; has front USB 3.0 and high-definition audio.
To put it simply, the Phanteks Eclipse P360A is a PC case that, in terms of value, should be more expensive. It’s hard to tell where Phanteks could have cut corners in order to keep the price of this case low.
The P360A is a mid-tower chassis that features RGB lighting, tempered glass, and space for numerous components, such as E-ATX motherboards and 400mm graphics processing units. To cool your system, you can install up to five 120mm fans or, if you’re going the AIO route, a 280mm radiator in the front. Two 2.5-inch solid-state drive trays are provided, with room for a third and two 3.5-inch bays at the bottom.
The case’s built-in shroud conceals these components. Having a glass panel that is only 3/4 of the way up the case and a PSU shroud that is only the bottom of the case allows Phanteks to keep the price down. Yet, it serves its purpose. As a result, your cables will be concealed and your build will look professional, and you’ll have a stunning system that didn’t cost a fortune to assemble.
7. Thermaltake Tower 900
Ultimately, the Tower 900 is an attractive and functional PC case that can accommodate even the largest of systems and works well as the home for a custom water cooling system.
Expansion: 8 PCIe slots | Features: 14x 120mm or 140mm fans, up to 560mm radiator, front USB 3.0 and HD audio, up to 400mm graphics card | Size: Full-tower | Motherboard: E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 8x 2.5-inch
The Thermaltake Tower 900 is an exceptional case that stands out from the crowd thanks to its massive size without breaking the bank. If you didn’t know better, you might mistake it for an arcade claw machine. It’s a major factor. This is as good as it gets if you need a stable foundation for a water-cooled monster. The facts in this case are unambiguous.
However, that size is ideal if you intend to use water cooling for your build. The Tower 900 can house motherboards up to the E-ATX standard, a dozen fans, and two massive 560mm radiators. There’s a ton of room inside for whatever arrangement of pumps, reservoirs, pipes, and fixtures your heart desires.
Because of its age, it does not feature USB-C or any other newer USB standard on its front. It weighs 54 lbs. (24.5 kg) by itself, so it needs to be stored somewhere sturdy. You can’t go wrong with this case, which can be had in either black or white and is finished off with glass on three sides.
If you want to make your own water-cooling loop, this case is as good as it gets. We have also compiled a detailed PC water-cooling beginner’s guide in case you are unfamiliar with the process and are unsure of how to begin building your own custom loop. That will take you through all the components that will fit comfortably inside the Tower 900.
8. Thermaltake Core P3
The Core P3 range of open-air chassis from Thermaltake are simply sublime for system builders, and their designs occasionally go all-out for PC cases. You can install a radiator, there are more PCI expansion slots (in the vertical direction) than you know what to do with, and the cables are neatly hidden away.
Mid-tower form factor; ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX motherboard compatibility; five solid-state drive (SSD) bays; eight PCIe expansion slots; three 120/140mm fans; support for a radiator of up to 420 millimeters in height; front USB Type-A port.
Definitely unique is the Thermaltake Core P3. This open-air container is one of a kind because it lacks conventional side, top, and bottom walls. The plastic panel on the side can be detached from the rest of the chassis with a few screws. That’s an unprecedented look inside your computer’s guts. It’s also aesthetically pleasing. You can get a Thermaltake Core P3 in black, white, or red.
This case begs to be customized with a water-cooling loop, and the fact that everything attaches to the side of the Core P3 means you can use a radiator up to 420 millimeters in size. As there is only enough space for three 120/140mm fans on the rad, airflow over the motherboard and other components is restricted.
However, the Core P3’s minimal design makes it a good choice for PC builders who want to experiment or who simply prefer a clean slate. It’s great that motherboards up to ATX size can be accommodated, and the three-year guarantee and steel construction are nice touches, too. It’s a solid container that can be mounted on the wall if you so choose.
Most notably, the case comes with a bracket and PCIe riser card that allow you to install a graphics processing unit (GPU) vertically, which is my favorite feature of the enclosure. Although not required, it can help keep even the most powerful graphics card from crashing. As a whole, it’s a fantastic platform for assembling a computer.
9. Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB
Finally, Corsair’s 5000X RGB is all about the aesthetics. Each and every window is made of tempered glass. Three intake fans can be installed in the front, three more on the sides, and three more on the roof. This chassis is ready to receive a custom water cooling loop.
Mid-tower form factor; ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX motherboard compatibility; four solid-state drive (SSD) bays; nine PCIe expansion slots; three 120mm fans; up to a 360mm radiator; front USB Type-A port.
You want an attractive chassis to build your PC inside of, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of thermal performance. Corsair’s iCUE 5000X RGB, thankfully, excels in both areas. This case is perfect for budget PC builders who still want a sleek and stylish base for their system. Black and white versions are both on offer.
As a result of Corsair including side fan mounts, up to three radiators can be placed inside the iCUE 5000X RGB. Anyplace from the front to the top to the side, you can put in a camera with a maximum focal length of 3600mm. All three spots can accommodate up to three 120mm fans for a total of ten.
The remaining parts of the case are also excellent. The cable management and support for ATX motherboards are also noteworthy, as is the tempered glass exterior design. Just in case something does go wrong, you have two years of coverage. This is a more expensive case than the rest of the choices we’ve compiled, so you should be fine.
The large amount of internal space makes it ideal for AIO or custom water cooling. This Corsair chassis is a good option if you like the look of the 1000D but don’t have quite as much money to spend on the case by itself.
10. Corsair Obsidian 1000D
Overall, the Obsidian 1000D from Corsair meets so many needs for PC builders that it’s ridiculous. This impressive chassis has room for not one, but two PCs. Be wary of the cost and the load.
Case Type: Super Tower; Supported Motherboard Form Factors: ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX; Number of Solid State Drive Bays: 6; Number of PCI Express Expansion Slots: 10; Fan Count: 7x 120mm; Front USB: A: 3.1; Front USB: C: 3.2 Gen 2; Other: 7x 120mm; Front USB: A: 3.1; Front USB: 3.2 Gen 2; Front USB: 3.1
It’s not often that we come across a case that’s big enough to fit two PCs, but the Corsair Obsidian 1000D does just that. Inside, you can install not one but two motherboards, power supply units, and other components to make two completely independent computers. A true feat of modern computer technology.
It gets even more specific than that, though. It is possible to install two radiators measuring 480 millimeters in front, another measuring 420 millimeters on top, and yet another measuring 240 millimeters in the back. You might be wondering who needs all that refrigeration. Someone, that’s who, with two computers housed in a single case!
There is room for up to ten 120mm fans and three 140mm fans to cool the radiator on top. Furthermore, the 400mm GPU clearance is very generous. There is a price to pay for all this metal, room, and power, and that is the resulting heft. The weight of the Corsair Obsidian 1000D is 29.5 kilograms.
Who, though, needs a carrying case for two computers? Let’s look at it this way. One option is to construct a PC with adequate ventilation, but a more ambitious approach would be to use two separate computers, one for gaming and one for streaming. There are many applications where having two computers is useful, and combining them into one convenient package is one of them.
What about all other PC cases?
You can find a computer case that suits your needs and aesthetic preferences among the many available options. We can’t possibly add more PC cases to this guide while also keeping it current with all the latest releases. We consider these computer cases to be the best of the best on the market.
The PC cases that are available from a wide variety of manufacturers are regularly tested and evaluated. When compiling our list of the best PC cases, we reserve the right to add to, remove from, or reclassify any of the entries at any time. There is a wide variety of PC cases available, and the best part is that you can’t go wrong (as long as everything fits) because it all comes down to personal preference.
What to look for in a new PC case
It’s true that you have complete freedom in selecting the PC case you want, but there are some considerations worth making. When searching for new PC cases, we always keep these things in mind:
- Input from the motherboard.
- Facilitate the use of AIO and radiators that use water for cooling.
- interface in the front.
- When working with limited desk space, dimensions are essential.
- Helpful for organizing cables.
- Maximal capacity for both solid-state drives and hard disk drives.
- The use of dust filters.
If the case is the very last thing you buy for a PC build, you’ll want to make sure it’s compatible with your motherboard. Keep in mind that while larger PC cases, such as mid- and full-towers, can accommodate motherboards from ATX down to Mini-ITX, smaller cases can typically only accommodate Mini-ITX and microATX.
Unfortunately, AIO and custom water-loop radiators aren’t supported by every case. Can you mount a pump and have enough room for the tubing if you bolt a 360mm radiator to the inside of the chassis? Since most cases already have built-in USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks, front I/O isn’t a huge deal.
Considerations of size are especially important if the area allocated for the computer is limited. Cable grommets, ties, and other organizational tools are essential for keeping the inside of your case looking tidy. Last but not least, think about installing any necessary solid-state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDDs) and investing in dust filters to keep things nice and tidy.
Our suggestions are a fantastic jumping off point. We’ve compiled a list of the top PC cases suitable for any setup.