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Whenever the planning begins for a new build, the case is usually one of the first things to consider aside from maybe the motherboard. Which case you choose will affect cooling, what kinds of motherboards you can use, how many drives you can put in, and a number of other factors. If you’re looking for the best PC cases on the market, then you’ve come to the right place.
Below you’ll find our reviews of ten hand-picked cases. Whether you are looking for the coolest PC cases (literally or figuratively), or you just want the overall best desktop case, we have you covered with cases that each excel in their own ways. There is sure to be a case that is right for you here. Below that you can find our short buyer’s guide with some information regarding what to look for when shopping for a new PC case.
How to Pick the Best PC Case for your Needs
In many ways, the case is the backbone of your PC build so picking the best gaming PC case
for you is important. While there is a lot to consider– more than we can reasonably talk about here– we’ve gathered the most important factors to look at when shopping for a new case. After all, what starts as the top PC case on your list, might best computer case.
Case Type, Motherboard Compatibility, and You
After you’ve selected a CPU (often the first part of a PC build), you’ll need to get a compatible motherboard. And when you do, you’ll need a case that is big enough to fit, and which has the proper mounting support for, the motherboard you choose.
There are a number of different case sizes out there which are uniform so that consumers know what cases can use what types of motherboards and how large that case is, etc. However, while there are some popular types of cases, there isn’t a single set of industry standards.
The most popular cases are ATX Mid-tower and ATX Full-tower with some smaller sizes also being popular, like the Mini ITX or the Small Form Factor ITX (SFF ITX). There are also less common types, like Super towers (been larger than Full-towers).
Small form factor cases usually fit mITX or ITX motherboards. These small motherboards have fewer RAM and PCIe slots. This limits them to usually one graphics card meaning that small form factor cases that use these kinds of motherboards might not be ideal for workstation builds that might need tons of RAM or multiple GPUs.
ATX is more or less the standard when it comes to motherboard layouts and has ample RAM and expansion card space for most builds. eATX is a non-standardized motherboard size and the exact dimensions and specs vary from board to board so be sure to cross check your case with your motherboard when buying these. However, these are only for the most hardcore builds, so you’ve been warned. Both ATX and sometimes even eATX will fit into mid-tower cases, while any motherboard will fit into a full tower or “super tower” case.
Drive bays determine how many drives your build can potentially have, and therefore how much storage your rig will be capable of. Typically there are three sizes of drive bays:
- 2.5-inch bays are for SSDs (solid state drives)
- 3.5-inch bays are for HDDs (traditional hard drives)
- 5.25-inch bays are for CD/DVD drives; they are nearly extinct in modernity
Arguably the most important thing to address when picking a PC case is cooling. While this is hard to quantify, there are a few things you can look at when looking at how well a given case will be able to cool your hardware.
For one, how open the case is can determine how well your PC parts will be able to breathe. Cases like the Thermaltake P7 or the Cougar Conquer will offer exceptional airflow and will allow all the components on your motherboard to get fresh air.
The number of fans a given case can accommodate will also affect cooling. Some cases like the Obsidian 1000D can hold an insane amount of fans, which in turn will push tons of air through the case to help keep everything operating at a good temperature.
If you plan to water cool your rig, then making sure you pick a good case for water cooling is obviously essential. Most cases these days have specially designed mounting points for water cooling equipment, but can often only hold radiators of a particular size. Also, some cases can only fit AIO water coolers and do not have the internal space needed for the reservoir and pump of a custom water cooling setup.
Front I/O (In/Out)
The last thing to pay close attention to is the front I/O. This is the different inputs and outputs that are present on the front of the case. All of the cases on this list, and most computer cases in general, have headphone and microphone jacks on the front.
In addition to this, you’ll want to look at what kind of USB ports and how many there are on the case. Some cases only have two USB 2.0 ports on the front. For some this is enough, while for others a more modern front I/O is demanded.
If you’re looking for the best I/O possible, then make sure you have USB type C and USB 3.0 ports on your case, as these are faster and more up to date than USB 2.0 ports.