The Best Old-School PC Cases: Tried, True and Tested

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,136   +2,155
If you are a power user looking to build a new PC, you may be dissatisfied with the current selection of cases on the market. I mean, there are some great ones that we recommend, but it does seem like there's a shortage of nice cases with external drive bays for an optical disk drive, a hot-swap SATA bay, or a drawer for USB devices.

Oh you have NO IDEA how true this is for anyone looking into a self built NAS for home use: you quickly find out how much of computer parts are subsidized by economies of scales of gamers as soon as you stop catering to gamers and want something like an matx or itx NAS specialized case: prices jump as if they were GPUs to 200 and 300% markup for what a similar "gamer" case is worth.

And then if you want things to get worst and want something simple like integrating a cheap, 10 usd gigabit ethernet switch with 4 ports into your main NAS device I/O you'll find out those same 4 port NICs also costs another 300 USD for no good reason whatsoever.

It's why the homelab crowd ends up with recycled enterprise gear instead and never attempt a properly set up, home user network: the price is worst than just getting an actual enterprise switch that has way more ports and is rack mounted for those same 300 USD in the second hand market.
 

BSim500

Posts: 859   +1,978
Great advantage of 5.25 drive bays = even if you don't own an optical drive, you can easily upgrade front USB ports to new ones / add more without throwing away an otherwise liked case or have more external hub clutter. This includes ports that most cases never come with, eg, power-only (no data) fast charge ports that connect directly to the PSU via SATA connectors and tend to charge fast charge capable mobile devices noticeably quicker than going through the motherboard on a regular port.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,724   +4,259
How I miss cases like the corsair 230t and the haf x. The rosewill thro is the last of the giants, I should grab one before they dissapear too.
 

madboyv1

Posts: 1,726   +642
I remember salivating over the Antec P180/181 back in the day... Could fit just about anything in it (including >10.5" cards if you removed one of the drive cages), 5.25 and 3.5 bays, sound dampened side panels and sound dampened front door... It could get a little toasty sometimes but man did I want one back then.
 
I can't believe that no Lian Li PC - V1000 series cases were included. Many of the features seen on current cases were pioneered by Lian-li. To this day, I use a Pc-v2120, right after using a PC-V1010 and V-1020. These can be found for $20-100 depending on the shape and spec. I'm running my 3900x and rtx 2070 and 5 hard drives and staying nice and cool with hours of gaming.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 474   +511
Now these are actual good cases, instead of the trendy garbage TS featured in their previous case articles. I wouldn't call any of these cases "old school"... they are simply cases for power users that are actually practical, functional and discreet, instead of "gamer" cases that prioritize style (often in dubious taste) over functionality.

I don't understand why the Thermaltake Core X71 was considered "not old school enough". For my new rig I've built this year, I got a Thermaltake Core X31 (more compact, mid tower version of the X71) and it has all "old school" power user features one might want (I think the only thing it's missing is an external 3.5-inch bay, but it has 2 external 5.25 bays). It's a great case that I can strongly recommend. My only nitpicks on the X31 are: 1. the USB and audio ports positioned on the top of the case without any sort of dust covering; 2. the fans are only 3-pin and fairly noisy.
 
Last edited:

ThrakazogZ

Posts: 50   +73
These are considered "old school" now, huh ? The first case that came to mind when I imagined a good old school case was the Cooler Master CM 690 II. That was a great case.

 

Jpe1701

Posts: 72   +69
I had a 280mm radiator in a Focus g for my first gaming pc build actually. An I5 6600k with an MSI Z170 gaming 5 and a Sapphire R9 390. I had always built pcs for just basic office stuff and had consoles for gaming. The case definitely felt cramped with all of that but it got me by until I moved over to Ryzen and was able to afford a better case.
 

bviktor

Posts: 497   +827
I want a case with USB-PD ports and possibly a Qi wireless charging dock, while also not costing an arm and a leg. I can already buy these devices separately dirt cheap, I don't see why case makers ignore these advancements in tech.
 

RobMonteforte

Posts: 24   +9
Received a Fractal R5 in 2014 with my AmigaOne X1000; I was so impressed with the case that I bought 2 more over the next 7 years, one of which houses my MSI Unify X570 with a 3900X that I am currently using.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 303   +532
These are considered "old school" now, huh ? The first case that came to mind when I imagined a good old school case was the Cooler Master CM 690 II. That was a great case.

Best Old-School case needs Turbo LED and keylock.

s-l1600.jpg
 

corrosive23

Posts: 29   +51
I remember salivating over the Antec P180/181 back in the day... Could fit just about anything in it (including >10.5" cards if you removed one of the drive cages), 5.25 and 3.5 bays, sound dampened side panels and sound dampened front door... It could get a little toasty sometimes but man did I want one back then.
I remember salivating over the Antec P180/181 back in the day... Could fit just about anything in it (including >10.5" cards if you removed one of the drive cages), 5.25 and 3.5 bays, sound dampened side panels and sound dampened front door... It could get a little toasty sometimes but man did I want one back then.
My XP retro pc lives in one of these. $5 off a guy on Craigslist.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 566   +430
I don't want to get rid of my Fractal R4 - even got a usb c header to dremel into the case - I also have a Phanteks Eclipse p500 air and a R6
So my family can game together . Have an Lian Li lancool 215 in a box - so next year when I upgrade the R4 - I can throw it's m/b & 1060 in that for a 4th person .
Had Antec and a massive Lian Li in the past - both good cases