There's no point spending lots of money on PC hardware if you don't have a great case to put it in. But with so many options out there, how do you know what's best for you? There are plenty of factors to examine: looks, size, cost, features, thermals, etc. But we're here to make the process easier and narrow things down to a few excellent options for you to consider.
The perfect PC chassis is a bit of a misnomer. Plenty of cases over the years have been highly regarded as being great, trend-setting or iconic, but one size does not fit all. This article aims to help you construct that shortlist of options and steer your search in the right direction.
If you want to push your CPU to the point where it begs for mercy, you're going to need a good cooler. Like most PC components, there are different options for those with different wants and needs. We've rounded up what we believe are the best in each category by taking into account performance, price, noise levels, and design.
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.
Following the success of 2008's HAF 932 chassis, Cooler Master didn't waste any time adapting its High Air Flow design to various other form factors and price points -- many of which we've covered in depth. Along with its larger options, the company offers three mid-towers: the $50 HAF 912, $100 HAF 922 and $130 HAF XM.
While the cost of these cases varies significantly, they're all fairly similar in terms of stature in that their tall, rectangular profile resembles most other mid-towers. Mixing things up, Cooler Master's latest mid-size enclosure, the HAF XB, breaks the conventional mold with boxier dimensions -- in fact, the company describes it as a "LAN box".
Cooler Master recently launched yet another enthusiast-friendly CM Storm chassis, the Scout 2. Despite its relatively low $90 price tag, the Scout 2 has plenty to offer, including ergonomic steel-reinforced carrying handles, USB 3.0 support and room for up to two SSDs, nine fans and any graphics card around.
Although we reviewed several Cooler Master enclosures in 2012, it's been a year since we laid hands on a new CM Storm-branded case, so it'll be interesting to see how the company's latest offering holds up in the increasingly competitive sub-$100 territory.
The Silencio 650 not only resembles a cleaner version of Cooler Master's more aggressive HAF series, but it touts many attractive features, chief among which is sound absorbing foam mats and specially designed air vents to minimize noise while maintaining low operating temps.
The Silencio's ability to muffle high-end hardware is undoubtedly its key selling point, but there's plenty more to see here. Other noteworthy features include a "DualBoot HDD Switch" for toggling between OSes, a fan speed controller, a memory card reader, 1amp USB 3.0 ports for charging smartphones and tablets, as well as X-Dock, Cooler Master's hot-swappable 2.5"/3.5" HDD/SSD drive bay.