Building your own PC starts with the case, the chassis that will hold all your components and shield them from the outside world. There are cases that can take larger ATX motherboards and offer ample room for air flow and expansion, while others are more suited for smaller constructs that don't require much power and are ideal for media setups.

The best part about shopping for computer cases is you don't have to fork out a fortune to purchase a sleek-looking design with unique features. Let's take a look at some of the best cases out there.

Best overall

Fractal Design Define S

Fractal Design

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Fractal Design is a brand of cases that are regarded as some of the best options for not only accessibility, but also cooling and overall performance too. The Define S is the company's more affordable option, but don't let that fool you into believing they've cut corners and this is just another case — it's a worthy addition to the highly-rated Define series of chassis.

Bottom-line: The Define S is not only Fractal Design's more affordable chassis, but it's able to accommodate even the more demanding setups.

One more thing: Be sure to take full advantage of cooling potential with the numerous fan and radiator mounting points.

Why the Fractal Design Define S is a stunning case

Fractal Design took what made its main Define series of cases so great and bring the price down slightly, as well as packing in some cool unique features.

The Define S by Fractal is an interesting chassis. While not as expensive as its more advanced Define siblings, this case sports some unique features, including the option of a window side-panel (should you enjoy the daily light show) and a huge number of mounting options for water cooling components. Upon first opening the Define S, it's clear just how much room there is to work with — say goodbye to that pesky drive bay.

The front of the Define S sports two vents running up the side that allow for substantial amounts of air to be sucked inside to cool components, and that's pretty much all there is on the outside of the case itself, aside from the front port connectors. There's no drive bay, nothing. It's simple, modern and clean — something we've come to appreciate from other companies like NZXT.

But where does one install hard drives in the Define S? There are five mounting brackets included with the case that hold said storage drives behind the main structure. This aids with keeping the main area clear and keeps cabling in view of the window to an absolute minimum. Here are some other features of the Define S:

  • 7x PCI slots
  • Front audio and USB 3.0 ports
  • Air filters for front and bottom intake
  • Modular top vent cover system

The Define S isn't the most advanced case on our list, nor does it cater to PC enthusiasts, but it offers ample room for upgrades and is a great case for the price.

Customizable

Cooler Master MasterCase

Cooler Master MasterCase

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The Cooler Master MasterCase is an exciting investment for those who enjoy switching up their configuration, allowing the owner to swap out specific parts of the chassis for supported optional extras. Want to swap the top exhaust points for external bays? Go right ahead. Need to take out the front and add in noise insulation, drive bays and more? That's certainly possible.

Bottom-line: If you're looking for a modular case to accommodate different setups and configurations, look no further than the Master Case. It's a worthy alternative to the likes of Fractal Design.

One more thing: Take a look at the various accessories that can be purchased to add new functionality to the chassis.

Stylish

NZXT Noctis 450

NZXT 450

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The Noctis 450 by NZXT is very cool looking. From the mesh grill on the front to the numerous access points located inside the chassis for effective cable management, this case is ready to not only look good on your desk, but also ensure that those looking into the panel on the side will be able to see a neat, clean-looking PC configuration.

Bottom-line: Looking for style? Check. Looking for practicality? Check. The 450 from NZXT has all that and more.

One more thing: The NZXT Phantom 410 is also worthy of mention, should this particular model not be the perfect match.

Go big or go home

Corsair Carbide Clear 600C

Corsair Carbide Quiet 600Q

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Corsair takes our position here as the case to go for if you're building a system that either features an E-ATX motherboard, or has plans that require you to inverse the layout and have your motherboard and other components to the bottom of the chassis. The gorgeous side panel is held on by a handle and two hinges that offer convenient access.

Bottom-line: This stunning case from Corsair not only offers quick, tool-free access to the insides of your PC, but it also helps keep everything cool.

One more thing: This case accommodates E-ATX motherboards and can be used in an extreme water cooling environment with multiple radiators.

Mini PC

Thermaltake CORE V21

Thermaltake Core V21

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Little cases like Thermaltake's Core V22 are perfect for media PCs and storage boxes. It can fit an M-ATX or Mini ATX motherboard and accompanying components, but there's ample room for such a small chassis just in case you want to throw in a GTX 1080. Another bonus of the Core V21 is the price.

Bottom-line: Thermalktake's Core V21 is ideal for LAN storage PCs or media hubs deployed for the big screen. It's not the smallest in its segment, but is a worthy consideration.

One more thing: It may be worth investing some more funds in a modular power supply to help with mitigating the number of cables laying around inside the case.

Best overall

Fractal Design Define S

Fractal Design

See at Amazon

Fractal Design is a brand of cases that are regarded as some of the best options for not only accessibility, but also cooling and overall performance too. The Define S is the company's more affordable option, but don't let that fool you into believing they've cut majority of corners and this is just another case in its price segment. It's a worthy addition to the highly-rated Define series of chassis.

Bottom-line: The Define S is not only Fractal Design's more affordable chassis, but it's able to accommodate even the more demanding setups.

One more thing: Be sure to take full advantage of cooling potential with the numerous fan and radiator mounting points.