The Best Cases: Our favorite PC chassis in every form factor

By Julio Franco ยท 35 replies
Jul 24, 2016
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  1. You may have a monster graphics card, a sweet water-cooling setup, and multi-colored braided cables, but your rig's potential is wasted if they're crammed into a case that doesn’t complement the hardware. What you need is a shiny new chassis, and we've gathered the best you can buy today.

    There are several factors that dictate the quality of a PC case, and usually only those products that tick all the right boxes while offering a little something extra make it onto this list. Using a combination of our own reviews, those of other top sites, and owners’ opinions, here are the best cases in every category: Enthusiast-Grade, Enthusiast Under $200, Mini-ITX, HTPC, Micro-ATX Cube, and Best Under $100.

    Read on and check out the best PC cases.

  2. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +318

    I'd love to buy an Alienware tetrahedron case. That's probably the coolest case I could get.
    STbob likes this.
  3. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    No love for any full ATX cubes... that's disappointing.
    mbrowne5061, MoeJoe and Luay like this.
  4. Qrox

    Qrox TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +12

    You would think that they would at least have 1 case on their list that looked halfway decent.
  5. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,869   +2,037

    I can't begin to imagine what it is you look for in a case, if the Fractal Design Define R5 and be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 aren't "halfway decent" looking.
    darkzelda, mbrowne5061 and Burty117 like this.
  6. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 79   +13

    Best high-end cube compact ATX case: Caselabs Bullet BH7, runner up: Jonsbo W2

    I know it's difficult to get your hands on a Caselabs case, but I think it will win you a lot of readers.
  7. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    And no Corsair.

    What a joke.
  8. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 389   +666

    Isn't the "no bottom PSU air intake" and "no PSU shroud" conflicting criticism on the be Quiet Dark Base 900 case? Can't say I've ever seen any shroud vs non shroud tests that make even 1c difference to case temps with a decent Gold / Platinum PSU that's generating less than 20w waste heat powering most real gaming loads.

    Also still not getting the hype for giant oversized ITX stuff whose footprints are much larger than Micro-ATX:-

    NZXT Manta ITX = 45.0 (D) x 42.6 (H) x 24.5 (W). Footprint = 1,102cm2. Volume = 46,967cm3

    Fractal Design Core 1500 MATX = 45.0 (D) x 37.0 (H) x 19.5 (W). Footprint = 877cm2. Volume = 32,467cm3

    Sharkoon MA-M1000 MATX = 41.5 (D) x 36.0 (H) x 18.5 (W). Footprint = 768cm2. Volume = 27,639cm3

    To me footprint is always more important than volume. That's why tower cases became popular from ye olde 90's beige desktops in the first place - once people stopped standing bulky CRT's on top of them, they freed up more usable desk space at the "expense" of unused under-desk floor space tucked out of the way. A case under the desk also sounds 3-6db quieter (50-60% further away and less "line of sight" vs ears). Taller narrower cases with USB ports on the front or upper-front are also far easier to reach when inserting USB sticks vs ITX cases that put the ports near the floor and on one side (BitFenix Phenom has horrible port placement especially if it sits on the "wrong" side). These giant ITX cubes have up to 50% larger footprints, which makes no sense to "save space" whether it's on or under a desk. No optical drive option, 1 vs 4 expansion slots, and more expensive for... what? The latest CPU & GPU wattage is falling not rising and people believing they 'need' 8x case fans / 2x 240mm radiators to cool a 65w CPU + single 75-120w GTX 1050-1060 / 110-150w RX 470-480 is becoming highly amusing.

    Quite honestly, for an "under the desk" small, cool and highly flexible gaming case, I'd pick the $65 Fractal Design Core 1500 over the lot and spend the $40-$150 saved on the next GPU / SSD size up. And for something on the desk, I wouldn't use anything larger than a 4" (10cm) NUC (because desk space = more premium than unused floor space). For HTPC's, there's a lot to be said for those Silverstone's which make an attempt to blend with existing AV receivers / cable / satellite, etc, boxes in a TV stand / cabinet than an ugly, overly lit-up "gaming" cube standing out like an eyesore. And yes, millions still use optical drives unless you have an extremely limited taste in films / music / TV shows or don't want to a look a complete dork when friends turn up with a Blu-Ray and your +$500 "smart" rig can't play movies from more than one source in which case you might as well save your money and buy a Roku / Fire TV stick...
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
    madboyv1 and GreenNova343 like this.
  9. phillai

    phillai TS Enthusiast Posts: 43   +6

    Why no love for the NCASE M1... Probably the best and most stunning Mini-ITX case in the past few years!
    SirChocula likes this.
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    They're probably your favourite brand. While being competent, sensible cases, there's really nothing to stand them apart from other similarly priced cases. You pay your money and you make your choice.
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Well, it's nice to see NZXT making good with their new, "Manta". Heretofore, most of their cases were designed with, "the hard core juvenile delinquent in mind". That one's raht purdy.
  12. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 223   +60

    $240 really??? When a $60 case will do.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Yeah well, it breaks down to 60 bucks for the case, and 180 bucks to massage your ego.
    fktech likes this.
  14. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,307   +429

    Thing's tough to add cases to the list that aren't by Phanteks. But the author spread the wealth.
    tomkaten likes this.
  15. tomkaten

    tomkaten TS Maniac Posts: 222   +143

    True that, I've got a Phanteks Enthoo Pro and it's an absolute beast. It's just massive and can house all but the most exotic setups. WM is a breeze even for the uninitiated. Not to mention that I got it on sale for about $90 (the windowless version, but still...)
    EClyde likes this.
  16. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    Yeah, where's the corsair... I have a carbide air 540... Easiest chassis for system building... so much space and great cable management.
  17. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,671   +988

    Tough crowd. For those asking about Corsair, do note they got two recommendations in the Obsidian 900D and Carbide Air 240. @mcborge @MoeJoe
    Boilerhog146 likes this.
  18. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,146   +911

    That's just the tech crowd in general I think :p
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  19. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    Hey why is there no *insert my brand of cases because I think they are awesome and by saying so I'm validating my purchase because there is no way other brands are as good or better than the one I chose* on here?! Are you freaking kidding me?? It's the best case I've owned my whole life!!

    I'll second that in general the small footprint cases are really big.

    They do look good however, so I'm unsure on what the guy that was complaining thinks a good tower should look like.

    Why 150 when you can buy a 60 one? Well that's up to you and how much you are willing to spend and what you'll use it for, I love how people that buy entry level hardware that will run on stock go for a bazillion of airflow and are super worried about how many fans come out of the box.
  20. jauffins

    jauffins TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +24

    The fact is, picking out a case can be one of the most subjective parts of the PC building process. I find Fractal's cases to look somewhat cheap, but they're fantastic cases, for example. Some of Corsair's stuff (Obsidian series) looks high-end, and some of it (Carbide) looks and feels very cheap. There are so many options - this list is simply a handful of suggestions.
  21. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 426   +278

    The article is supposed to cover all form factors but missed out ATX cube, and my atx cube is a corsair that's why I mentioned it.
  22. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 747   +357

    The Enthoo Primo has a completely separate compartment for the PSU. I noticed a significant drop in case temps (5C) coming from a HAF-X with all the same hardware (including fans), and a 850W platinum-rated SeaSonic . Only thing that changed was the case, and temps drops. My guess is it had more to do with the PSU being fully separated from other components, while in most other 'shroud' designs, it really is just to make things look neater.
  23. MoeJoe

    MoeJoe TS Guru Posts: 711   +381

    When staff feels compelled, you know it stung.
    Not interested in token mentions about last year's whatever TBH.
    And there's a lot of performance & value options with strong characteristics below the 900.

    These recommendation / award articles are the worst advertising ever invented.
    Truly lacking in engineering metrics and chock full of subjectivity & sponsorship.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  24. TitoBXNY

    TitoBXNY TS Addict Posts: 236   +50

    Not sure why people are getting riled up. There are so many cases and sizes that it would be impossible for Julio to list them all. It says "Our Favorite Cases" Doesn't mean yours. Instead of getting mad, post your case and why you love it so much. The Cooler Master HAF XM is still my favorite case and has housed my system for the last 4 years.. The new INWIN cases are sexy too.
  25. MrBlkfx1

    MrBlkfx1 TS Evangelist Posts: 863   +204

    Nice list of cases here! I'm surprised to see no Cooler Master cases, the HAF series used to be very popular.

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