Building a great PC starts with the case. It's what determines how you'll build your new rig, what parts can be used, and how easy it'll be. We've gone through some of the best PC cases and picked out a select few that we feel really shine above the rest in various categories. Whether you need a case for maximum airflow or water-cooling capabilities, we've got you covered.


Best PC cases in 2021

What are the best PC cases?

Choosing the best PC case for you largely comes down to personal preference. Mostly, it's about the look of the case, which is entirely subjective. We may have a soft spot for the excellent Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic, but it may not be to your liking. We will focus on the best PC cases on paper instead in this collection, so we take into account how many fans you can screw into the case, what size motherboards you can install, and more.

If you want the most space available, you're going to want to choose a full-tower case, something like the Cooler Master H500P Mesh. For more compact PC builds, an ITX case will do the job just fine, which is where the excellent NZXT H210i comes into play. Other shortlisted PC cases cover specialist categories like airflow, which the be quiet! Silent Base 802 excels at.

But again, the choice of a PC case is largely down to what you want to build. Take a look at our recommendations here to kick-start your creativity into putting together a PC representing who you are as an individual. Be sure to also check out our PC case deals roundup to see if you can save on any of our favorites below.

Lian Li PC-O11 DynamicSource: Lian Li

1. Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic

Best overall PC case

Bottom line: Lian Li teamed up with PC overclocker DER8AUER to design a case that not only looks special but will perform well under load-in gaming. The PC-O11 Dynamic is simply sublime, especially if you choose the Mini.

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 6 | Expansion: 8 PCIe | Features: 9x 120mm fans, up to 360mm radiator, front USB-A 3.0 and USB-C 3.1

Pros:

  • Amazing radiator support
  • Ideal for AIO cooling
  • Stunning design
  • Compact ATX chassis
  • Easy to build inside

Cons:

  • No included fans

There are some stunning PC cases out there, but if you want something exceptional, you'll want to check out the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic. Not only does this case look good, but it's also straightforward to build a PC inside, supports water-cooling with plenty of radiator mounting options, and can even take two PSUs.

Category Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
2x USB 3.0 Type-A
HD Audio
Expansion 8x PCI
6x 2.5-inch
3x 3.5-inch
Fans Side: 3x 120mm/2x 140mm
Top: 3x 120mm/2x 140mm
Rear: 1x 120/140mm
Bottom: 3x 120mm/2x 140mm
Radiators Side: Up to 360mm
Top: Up to 360mm
Bottom: Up to 360mm
Rear: Up to 120mm
Filters Side, bottom, top
Clearance GPU: 420mm
CPU: 155mm
Weight 9.7kg
21.3lbs
Dimensions 272x446x445 mm
(10.7(W)x17.5(H)x17.5(D) inches)
Materials Steel, Aluminum, Tempered Glass
Warranty 2 years

On paper, the Lian Li O11 Dynamic looks like your everyday PC case, but it's not. This sleek and well-designed chassis is a gorgeous piece of engineering. It's not all about looks either. Since Lian Li brought DER8AUER on board, you know it's going to perform well. With enough space for up to three 360mm radiators, there's plenty of room for a custom water cooling loop.

You can throw up to 9 120mm fans inside the O11 Dynamic from Lian Li, allowing ample air to be pushed through the four filters. There are also a few variants of this chassis, with our own review taking shape inside the Mini, a more compact version that's still able to take a full-sized ATX motherboard, though you do lose out to an SFX PSU.

As well as rocking a striking design made up of steel, tempered glass, and aluminum, the HDD cage can be removed for a second PSU to be installed. Lian Li made sure to include plenty of cable management features, and you can easily create a clean PC with powerful hardware.

Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic

Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic Gaming Computer Case

Do you want a compact chassis that's easy to build a PC inside and looks amazing? That's what Lian Li offers with the PC-O11 Dynamic, designed in partnership with DER8AUER.

$150 at Newegg

When choosing a PC case for your next build, you'll need to consider a few factors. First, do you want a large or compact design? Does it need to support a beefy 360mm radiator for your all-in-one CPU cooler, or are you planning to maximize airflow with all the fans in the world? Once you've got a rough idea in mind, you can start browsing specific categories and form factors.

The more you spend on a case (and some of our choices here are fairly pricey), the better the construction, materials, finish, and features usually are. By going with a barebones $10 basic case, you'll likely have issues with effectively managing cable routing (though it's still possible to do a good job), you may not be able to create a custom water-cooling loop, and chances are it'll not have a fancy glass side-panel.

Motherboard size doesn't matter too much since that largely boils down to how many on-board features you require and if you intend on installing more than a GPU to use up all the PCIe expansion slots. ATX is generally a good size to go with, though if you really want that compact PC case, MicroATX is a great substitute that doesn't sacrifice too much on functionality.


NZXT H210iSource: NZXT

2. NZXT H210i

Best ITX PC case

Bottom line: Looking to build yourself a compact PC? You'll want to consider the excellent H210i from NZXT. It's our favorite Mini-ITX case because of the exquisite design, expansion, and cable management.

Size: Small form factor | Motherboard: Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 3 | Expansion: 2 PCIe | Features: 4x 120mm fans, up to 280mm (front) and 120mm (rear) radiators, front USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 and USB-C 3.1 Gen 2

Pros:

  • Gorgeous design
  • Good airflow
  • Cable management
  • High-quality build
  • Can take larger GPUs

Cons:

  • Larger than other ITX cases
  • Pricey

NZXT makes some compelling PC cases, and the company has tried shaking the industry up with concepts like the NZXT H1, but for our Mini-ITX tower pick, it has to be the H210i. This small form factor chassis has plenty going for it, rivaling features found in larger cases. It's available in black, black and red, and black and white.

Category NZXT H210i
Motherboards Mini-ITX
I/O One USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
One USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
One Headset Audio Jack
Expansion 2x PCI
3x 2.5-inch
1x 3.5-inch
Fans Front: 2x 120/140mm
Top: 1x 120mm
Rear: 1x 120mm
Radiators Front: 120/240mm and 140/280mm
Rear: 120mm
Filters Front, PSU
Clearance GPU: up to 325mm
CPU: up to 165mm
Weight 6kg
13.22lbs
Dimensions 210x349x372mm
(8.26(W)x13.74(H)x14.64(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel, Tempered Glass
Warranty 2 years

Because it only fits Mini-ITX motherboards, you'll only be able to use two PCI slots, but this should fit most GPUs considering the clearance available hits up to 325mm before you're going through the front panel. It may be a compact package, but NZXT managed to work in up to two front 140mm fans, a single 120mm on top, and another in the rear.

You could even get away with up to a 240mm radiator in front, 280mm up top, and 120mm in the rear. There are plenty of configuration options here, allowing you to utilize more than one AIO loop (one for the CPU and another for the GPU). There are also two dust filters, one in the front and another for the PSU intake.

The H210i is quiet, allows your components to run cool, and looks great. Throw in some RGB lighting you can control from within Windows 10 using NZXT CAM software, and you've got a winner. This is a sound option for anyone wanting to put together a Mini-ITX build that won't be housed inside a cube.

NZXT H210i

NZXT H210i Mini-ITX PC Gaming Case

The H210i is better than ever, allowing you to put together a compact mini-ITX PC build in a small form factor case with smart features and a solid design.


be quiet! Silent Base 802Source: be quiet!

3. be quiet! Silent Base 802

Best PC case for maximizing airflow

Bottom line: be quiet! almost hit a home run with the Silent Base 802 thanks to its impressive airflow and thermal performance, plenty of expansion points, and awesome water-cooling support.

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: E-ATX, ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 15 | Expansion: 9 PCIe | Features: 7x 120mm fans, up to 280mm radiator, front USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 and USB-C 3.1 Gen 2

Pros:

  • Gorgeous, subtle styling
  • Easy to build a PC inside
  • Includes optional mesh panel
  • Great AIO water-cooling support
  • Amazing airflow and performance

Cons:

  • Size
  • Awkward case feet
  • Cable management

The be quiet! Silent Base 802 is the case to buy if you value noise dampening over all else. It's a subtle case that doesn't scream gaming and the focus on airflow and cooling makes it one of the best around if you want the lowest system temperatures. You can buy this case in black, black with a window, white, and white with a window.

Category be quiet! Silent Base 802
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
HD Audio
Fan controls
Expansion 9x PCI (2x vertical)
15x 2.5-inch
7x 3.5-inch
Fans Front: 3x 120/140mm
Top: 3x 120/140mm
Rear: 1x 120/140mm
Radiators Front: Up to 420mm
Top: Up to 360mm
Rear: Up to 140mm
Filters Front, top
Clearance GPU: 432mm
(287 mm with HDD cages)
Weight 12.59 kg
(Glass window: 13.15 kg)
Dimensions 281x539x553mm
(11.06(W)x21.22(H)x21.77(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel, Tempered Glass
Warranty 3 years

This behemoth of a case supports motherboards up to E-ATX, has 9 PCI slots on the rear for all your GPUs and expansion cards, and comes rocking plenty of 2.5 and 3.5-inch drive bays for an insane amount of storage space. The best part is the mesh front panel, which allows for a substantial amount of cool air to be sucked into the chassis.

be quiet! also made sure to include two dust filters to keep the insides clean, with one being on top and another on the front. I get the call that top-mounted dust filters are a little silly due to the top vents usually being used for exhaust, but this does help trap dust as it falls onto the case when not in use.

There's so much room inside the Silent Base 802 that you can easily put together a custom water-cooling loop, but even if you don't go down that route, the result will be a whisper-quiet PC build. It's pretty massive, so this case will only be suitable for you if you don't mind such a thing being located on or underneath your desk.

The version with the side panel window is well worth the additional $10 if you ask me.

be quiet! Silent Base 802

be quiet! Silent Base 802 Mid-Tower ATX

be quiet! almost nailed it with the Silent Base 802. It's the perfect case if you can overlook the awkward feet, cable management on the rear of the motherboard tray, and sheer size.

$182 at Amazon

Fractal Design Define R6Source: Fractal Design

4. Fractal Design Define R6

Best PC case for silent builds

Bottom line: When things simply need to be quiet, Fractal Design has you covered with the Define R6. It's a little older now, but this chassis remains one of the best for sound dampening.

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: E-ATX, ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 6 | Expansion: 9 PCIe | Features: 9x 120mm fans, up to 360mm radiator, front USB-A 3.0 and USB-A 2.0

Pros:

  • Virtually silent
  • Good dust filters and airflow
  • Supports radiators and AIO cooling
  • Plenty of expansion
  • Solid, robust build

Cons:

  • Slightly bland design
  • Pricey

Not everyone wants blinding RGB lights, nor do they desire a jet engine to be sat next to their desk, which is precisely where the Fractal Design Define R5 comes into play. It's subtly designed with good use of steel, but some may find the look to be a little dated and somewhat dull. As aforementioned, this will be subjective.

Category Fractal Design Define R6
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB-A 2.0
2x USB-A 3.0
HD Audio
Expansion 9x PCI (2x vertical)
6x 2.5-inch/3.5-inch
Fans Front: 3x 120, 2x 140mm
Top: 3x 120, 2x 140mm
Rear: 1x 120/140mm
Bottom: 2x 120/140mm
Radiators Front: Up to 360mm
Top: Up to 360 mm
Rear: Up to 120mm
Bottom: Up to 280mm
Filters Front
Clearance GPU: 440 mm
CPU: 185mm
Weight 12.4 kg
27.33 lbs
Dimensions 233x465x543mm
(9.17(W)x18.03(H)x21.3(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel
Warranty 2 years

Should you dig the design, you'll be greeted by quite the specification list. It may be mid-tower chassis, but you can cram up to six 2.5 or 3.5-inch drives inside, up to nine 120mm fans or some 140mm blowers, and some radiators to boot. I'm talking up to 360mm on the front, up to 360 on top, 120mm on the rear, and up to 280mm on the bottom.

The GPU and CPU clearance is good enough for larger cards to be installed alongside beefy CPU air coolers. It's a rather spacious mid-tower case, allowing you to fit in plenty of kits. What sets the Define R6 apart from the competition is the sound dampening materials used. Even with this many fans installed, you'll barely hear any noise.

Even though the design may be a little understated, this Fractal Design case is ideal if you want a simple PC build that's easy to put together and barely makes a whisper once you're up and running. As a bonus: A fan controller is present that'll let you play with temperatures to get everything running just right.

Fractal Design Define R6

Fractal Design Define R6 Mid Tower Computer Case

Fractal Design is better known for its silent PC cases with superior sound dampening, and the Define R6 is but another fine example of the company's craftsmanship. It's a great option for those after a sleeper PC build that won't keep you up at night.

$160 at Newegg

Lian Li Lancool 205Source: Windows Central

5. Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh

Best value PC case

Bottom line: The Lancool 205 Mesh from Lian Li is stylish, focuses on cooling, supports RGB and has tempered glass. It's also relatively affordable and simple to build inside.

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 6 x 2.5-inch | Expansion: 7 PCIe slots | Features: Up to 5 x 120mm, up to 280mm radiator, front USB 3.0 and HD audio

Pros:

  • Looks incredible
  • Masses of drive bays
  • Great cable management
  • Integrated PSU shroud
  • Three 120mm fans included
  • Great airflow

Cons:

  • No 360mm radiator support
  • Radiator bracket could use additional fixing points
  • GPU support bracket for longer/heavier cards would be nice

The Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh is a fine example of the company successfully branching out into the more affordable PC case segment of the market. It's towards the higher reaches of the mid-range, but it's still an affordable PC case. Better still, it's an affordable PC case packed with that premium Lian Li style.

Category Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh
Motherboards ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB 3.0
HD Audio
Expansion 7x PCIe
6x 2.5-inch
2 x 3.5-inch
Fans Up to 5x 120mm/4x 140mm
Radiators Front: Up to 280mm
Top: Up to 280mm
Filters Front, bottom, top
Clearance GPU: 350mm
CPU: 170mm
Weight 8.5 kg
(18.73 lbs)
Dimensions 205 x 415 x 485mm (8.07(W)x16.36(H)x19.09(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel, ABS, Tempered Glass

This mid-tower is capable of holding inside an ATX, Mini-ITX, or microATX motherboard. For cooling, you can install up to five 120mm fans or four 140mm fans (with one 120mm rear blower). Radiator support allows for the installation of up to two 280mm units. It's a mesh case with filters on the front, bottom, and top panels.

It's a clean-looking, yet highly functional case. You could throw inside a power-hungry Intel Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 processor and not have any cooling issues. So many times have we seen manufacturers try to stand out from the crowd by going for form over functionality. Thankfully, Lian Li knows how to make excellent cases.

Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh

Lian Li Lancool 205 Mesh

A stunning, high-quality, easy-to-build PC case that should definitely be on your shortlist in the mid-range. Lian Li knocked it out of the park with the Lancool 205 Mesh.

$100 at Micro Center

Phanteks Eclipse P350XSource: Phanteks

6. Phanteks Eclipse P350X

Best budget PC case

Bottom line: The P350X is compact, stylish, packs RGB and tempered glass, is a dream to build in, and costs under $80. What more could you ask for?

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: E-ATX, ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 3 x 2.5-inch | Expansion: 7 PCIe slots | Features: Up to 5 x 120mm, 2 x 140mm fans, up to 280mm radiator, front USB 3.0 and HD audio

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Room for the largest GPUs
  • Tempered glass side panel with PSU shroud
  • Great cable management
  • Lots of storage bays

Cons:

  • Only one fan included
  • Roof space for fans is tight
  • No built-in USB-C

The Phanteks Eclipse P350X is a PC case that probably should cost more than it does. Whatever you're making, keeping something down to a budget usually involves cutting back, but it's hard to see just where Phanteks might have done that with this case.

Category Phanteks Eclipse P350X
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB 3.0
HD Audio
Expansion 7 x PCIe
3 x 2.5-inch
2 x 3.5-inch
Fans Up to 5 x 120mm
2 x 140mm (front)
Radiators Front: Up to 280mm
Filters Front, bottom
Clearance GPU: 400mm
Weight 6.4kg
14.10lbs
Dimensions 200x450x455mm (7.9(W)x17.7(H)x17.9(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel, ABS, Tempered Glass

The P350X is a mid-tower case with RGB, tempered glass, and support for large-scale builds that include E-ATX motherboards and 400mm GPUs. It supports up to five 120mm fans or, if you're going AIO, a 280mm front-mounted radiator. You get trays for two 2.5-inch SSDs included, with space for a third and a pair of 3.5-inch bays at the bottom.

Those are hidden behind the shroud, which is built into the case. This is probably one area Phanteks did manage to keep costs down by only having a 3/4 length glass panel and the PSU shroud just being the bottom of the case. But it works. Your build will look clean, your cables will all be well hidden, and you'll be left with a stunning build that didn't break the bank.

Phanteks Eclipse P350X

Phanteks Eclipse P350X Mid-Tower Computer Case

The best budget case you can buy is also one that ticks the boxes for quality, style, and ease of use. The P350X is a dream to build in with superb expansion capabilities and top-notch cable management. It beats a lot of much more expensive cases in every way.

$70 at Newegg

Antec CubeSource: Antec

7. Antec Cube

Best cube PC case

Bottom line: Antec and Razer came together to make this boxy PC case, complete with Razer branding, green LED lighting, side and top viewing panels, and a roomy interior for easy Mini-ITX building.

Size: Mini Tower | Motherboard: Mini-ITX | SSD bays: Up to 4 | Expansion: 3 PCI | Features: 4x 120mm fans, up to 240mm radiator, Razer styling, and green LEDs

Pros

  • Matches your other Razer gear
  • Built-in LED lighting
  • Roomy interior
  • Included filters
  • Fits just about anywhere

Cons

  • On the pricey side, when you can find one
  • Panels aren't tempered glass
  • Only fits Mini-ITX

Razer pumps out branded gaming gear at an incredible pace, and despite this, its quality doesn't suffer. Some of the best PC gaming accessories come from Razer, and the best gaming laptop also falls under the Razer line.

Category Antec Razer Cube
Motherboards Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB-A 3.0
3.5mm audio in/out
Expansion 3x PCI
1x 3.5-inch (or 2x 2.5-inch)
2x 2.5-inch
Fans Front: 2x 120mm or 1x 140mm/180mm
Rear: 1x 120/140mm
Radiators Front: Up to 240mm
Bottom: 140mm
Filters Includes
Front and bottom
Clearance GPU: 350mm
CPU cooler: 190mm
Weight 6.5kg
14.3 lbs
Dimensions 250x365x460mm
(9.84(W)x14.37(H)x18.11(D) inches)
Materials Galvanized steel
Acrylic panels (sides and top)
Warranty 2 years
Color Black
Green Razer logo
Green LED strips

It's no surprise then that Antec decided to team up and build the Cube case, complete with a green LED Razer logo on the front and dual green LED strips along the sides. The case is made primarily of steel, but it has acrylic viewing panels on the sides and top for a peek at the hardware inside.

The case is roomy for an easy build, and it fits a Mini-ITX board. There are three PCI slots so that you can fit larger GPUs (with up to 350mm of length clearance), there's space for two 120mm fans or up to a 180mm fan on the front, as well as up to a 140mm fan at the back. The case actually comes with a built-in rear fan with a green LED. If you're going for a water-cooled build, radiator support includes up to 240mm at the front and 140mm at the bottom.

Three included dust filters behind air intakes keep out unwanted particles, and they're removable for easy cleaning. As for storage space, there's room for dual 2.5-inch SSDs, as well as another 3.5-inch HDD or two 2.5-inch SSDs. And powering it all won't stick out, as there's a shroud along the bottom with space for up to a 200mm PSU below.

Overall, the case does a great job of balancing size, support, and design. It's on the pricey side of things (no doubt partly due to the Razer collaboration), and it isn't that easy to find at the moment, but it is a great option if you'd like a cubed build that will fit just about anywhere.

Antec Cube

Antec Razer Cube Mini-ITX Case

Antec and Razer teamed up to make this stylized cube with plenty of room inside for an easy Mini-ITX build. Green LEDs and Razer branding keep it in line with your favorite PC accessories.


Thermaltake Tower 900Source: Thermaltake

8. Thermaltake Tower 900

Best PC case for water-cooling

Bottom line: The Tower 900 is a truly unique-looking PC case with space for the largest systems and is a perfect housing for a fully water-cooled build.

Size: Full-tower | Motherboard: E-ATX, ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 8x 2.5-inch | Expansion: 8 PCIe slots | Features: 14x 120mm or 140mm fans, up to 560mm radiator, front USB 3.0 and HD audio, up to 400mm graphics card

Pros:

  • Massive space for water-cooled setup
  • Support for the biggest radiators and GPUs
  • Unique styling
  • Choice of black or white

Cons:

  • Huge
  • Heavy
  • No built-in USB-C

You won't find another case that looks like the Thermaltake Tower 900, and it doesn't even cost a lot when you consider its massive size. Up close, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was one of those claw machines you find in an arcade. It's pretty substantial. If you're looking for a solid platform for a water-cooled behemoth, this is about as good as it gets. This case comes in black and white.

Category Thermaltake Tower 900
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 4x USB 3.0
HD Audio
Fan controls
Expansion 8x PCIe
8 x 2.5-inch (or 6 x 3.5-inch and 2 x 2.5-inch)
Fans Up to 14x 120mm/140mm fans
Radiators Left: Up to 560mm
Right: Up to 560 mm
Filters -
Clearance GPU: 400 mm
CPU: 260mm
PSU length: 220mm
Weight 12.59 kg
(Glass window: 13.15 kg)
Dimensions 752x423x483mm
(16.7(H)x19(W)x29.6(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel, Tempered Glass

If you're planning a particularly ambitious, water-cooled build, though, that size is perfect. The Tower 900 accepts up to E-ATX motherboards, over a dozen fans, and a pair of enormous 560mm radiators. The space inside is plentiful for pumps, reservoirs, pipes, and the layout of your dreams.

It's been around for a little while now; as such, you won't find USB-C on the front, nor anything newer than USB 3.0. And you will need a pretty sturdy place to keep it since on its own; it weighs 54lbs (24.5kg). But in either black or white and trimmed with glass on three sides, this case is going to lead to one killer build.

This case is about as good as it gets for anyone wanting to build themselves a custom water-cooling loop. And if you don't quite know where to start with a custom loop, we've put together a comprehensive PC water-cooling beginner's guide. That'll run you through all the parts you'll be able to cram inside the Tower 900 with plenty of room to spare.

Thermaltake Tower 900

Thermaltake Tower 900 Vertical Super Tower

This big, unique-looking case is unlike any other you can buy right now, and it's ready for even the most ambitious water-cooled builds of your dreams. Plus, you'll still have plenty of space left over.


Thermaltake Core P3Source: Thermaltake

9. Thermaltake Core P3

Best PC case as an open bench

Bottom line: Thermaltake sometimes goes all-out with its PC case designs, and the Core P3 range of open-air chassis are simply sublime for system builders. You've got radiator support, more (vertical) PCI slots than you know what to do with, and great cable management for a killer finish.

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 5 | Expansion: 8 PCIe | Features: 3x 120/140mm fans, up to 420mm radiator, front USB-A

Pros:

  • Unique design
  • Easy access with no front, top or rear panels
  • Good radiator support
  • Great for modding
  • Supports up to ATX motherboards

Cons:

  • Risk of damage to components
  • Less airflow over VRMs and other parts
  • Dust
  • Dust
  • Dust

The Thermaltake Core P3 is something special. This open-air case is unique because it doesn't actually have a front, top, bottom, or rear panels. The side panel is plastic and can be removed by unscrewing it from the main chassis. This provides unmatched access to your PC internals. It also creates quite the aesthetic. The Thermaltake Core P3 is available in black, white, and red.

Category Thermaltake Core P3
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
2x USB 2.0 Type-A
HD Audio
Expansion 8x PCI (2x vertical)
5x 2.5-inch
4x 3.5-inch
Fans Side: 3x 120/140mm
Radiators Side: Up to 420mm
Filters Side
Clearance GPU: 450mm (280mm with water-cooling)
CPU: 180mm
Weight 10.3 kg
22.7 lbs
Dimensions 512x333x470mm
(20.15(H)x13.11(W)x18.50(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel
Warranty 3 years

Because everything is bolted onto the side of the Core P3, you're able to get away with up to a 420mm radiator for water-cooling builds (and this case screams out loud to have a custom loop build). You can only have three 120/140mm fans installed on the rad, limiting the airflow passing over the motherboard and other components.

Still, the barebones nature of the Core P3 makes it ideal for modders who want to push the boundaries of PC building or who prefer a blank canvas to work with. Being able to fit up to ATX motherboards is also a bonus, so too is the three-year warranty and steel construction. It's a sturdy case that can even be hung from your wall, because why not?

My favorite part of the case is how you can install a GPU vertically with the included bracket and PCIe riser card. This is completely optional but does provide additional support to even the heaviest, yet best graphics card. Overall, it's a dream to build a PC on.

Thermaltake Core P3

Thermaltake Core P3 Gaming Computer Case

Thermaltake's Core range is all about showing off your PC internals. There aren't front, rear, or top panels, allowing your guests to gaze at your mystical prowess in PC building. Just watch out for the dust.

$160 at Newegg

Corsair iCUE 5000X RGBSource: Corsair

10. Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB

Best PC case design

Bottom line: Corsair made the 5000X RGB all about the looks. It has tempered glass everywhere. There's space for three intake fans on the front, a further three on the side, as well as three exhaust blowers up top. If you want to do some water-cooling, this chassis is primed for a custom loop.

Size: Mid-tower | Motherboard: ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 4 | Expansion: 9 PCIe | Features: 3x 120mm fans, up to 360mm radiator, front USB-A

Pros:

  • Tinted tempered glass everywhere
  • Ample space for intricate builds
  • Excellent airflow throughout
  • Intuitive design for easy building
  • Overall premium quality

Cons:

  • Some wonky cable management with certain builds
  • On the expensive side

A good PC case needs to be an attractive chassis for you to build a PC inside, but it shouldn't come at a thermal performance cost. Thankfully, Corsair managed to score big on both fronts with the Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB. It's a case for those who want a great-looking foundation for a PC build without needing to go all out. It's available in black or white.

Category Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x USB 3.1 Type-C
HD Audio
Expansion 9x PCI (2x vertical)
4x 2.5-inch
2x 3.5-inch
Fans Front: 3x 120 / 2x 140mm
Top: 3x 120mm / 2x 140mm
Right: 3x 120mm / 2x 140mm
Rear: 1x 120mm
Radiators Front: Up to 360mm
Top: Up to 360mm
Right: Up to 360mm
Filters Front, top, right, bottom
Clearance GPU: 420mm
CPU: 170mm
Weight 13.84 kg
30.51 lbs
Dimensions 520x245x520mm
(20.47(H)x9.65(W)x20.47(D) inches)
Materials SGCC Steel, Plastic
Warranty 2 years

Because Corsair decided to throw in some side fan mounts, it's possible to install up to three radiators inside the iCUE 5000X RGB. Up to a 3600mm can be installed in the front, up top, or side, depending on preference. Up to three 120mm fans can be installed in all three locations, with a total of 10 fans (120mm).

The rest of the case is brilliant too. The tempered glass outer design is gorgeous, so, too, is the cable management and ability to install up to ATX motherboards. There's a two-year warranty just in case anything happens. You should be fine since this is a rather expensive case compared to other options in our round-up.

It's best suited for custom or AIO water cooling, thanks to the sheer space available inside. If you like the look of the Corsair 1000D but don't have that much budget available for just the case alone, this Corsair chassis is worth considering.

Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB

Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB Tempered Glass Mid-Tower

The Corsair iCUE 5000X RGB is a premier option for PC builders who prefer the look of tempered glass. It's rather expensive, but it makes for an easy, satisfying build.

$205 at Newegg

Corsair Obsidian 1000DSource: Corsair

11. Corsair Obsidian 1000D

Best enthusiast PC case

Bottom line: Corsair's Obsidian 1000D ticks so many boxes for PC builders it's unreal. You can even install two PCs inside this impressive chassis. Just watch out for the price and weight.

Size: Super-tower | Motherboard: ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX | SSD bays: 6 | Expansion: 10 PCIe | Features: 7x 120mm fans, up to 480mm radiator, front USB-A 3.1 and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2

Pros:

  • Amazing radiator support
  • Ideal for water-cooling
  • Stunning design
  • Can contain two PCs
  • Subtle RGB lighting

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavy

It's not often we come across a case that's more than large enough to house two PCs inside, and that's precisely what the Corsair Obsidian 1000D can do. You can build two separate computers inside, and I'm talking two motherboards, two PCUs, and more. It truly is a marvel of PC engineering.

Category Corsair Obsidian 1000D
Motherboards E-ATX, ATX, microATX, Mini-ITX
I/O 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
4x USB 3.1 Type-A
HD Audio
Expansion 10x PCI (2x vertical)
6x 2.5-inch
5x 3.5-inch
Fans Front: 8x 120mm
Top: 3x 140mm
Rear: 2x 120/140mm
Radiators Front: Up to 2x 480mm
Top: Up to 420mm
Rear: Up to 280mm
Filters -
Clearance GPU: 400mm
CPU: 180mm
Weight 29.5kg
65.03lbs
Dimensions 505x800x800mm
(19.88(W)x31.49(H)x31.49(D) inches)
Materials Steel, Aluminum, Tempered Glass
Warranty 2 years

And the insane specifications don't end there. You could (if you_really_ wanted) install up to two 480mm radiators on the front, with a further 420mm radiator on the top, and a 240mm on the rear. Who requires that much cooling, you ask? Well, someone with two PCs inside a single chassis, of course!

Up to 10 120mm fans can be installed, as well as a further three 140mm blowers for the top-mounted radiator. The GPU clearance is good, too, coming in at a massive 400mm. However, there is a drawback to all this metal, space, and capabilities, and that's the weight. The Corsair Obsidian 1000D comes in at 29.5kg.

But, seriously, who could need a case that holds two PCs? Think of it this way. You could build a PC with plenty of space inside for airflow or go all-out with two PCs, one for gaming and another for streaming. There are plenty of scenarios where two computers make sense, and having them in a single box just makes it more user-friendly.

Corsair Obsidian 1000D

Corsair Obsidian 1000D Aluminum Smart Case

The Corsair Obsidian 1000D is pretty ridiculous. You can install two PC builds inside, as many radiators as you can purchase, and still have room to spare. It's also very well designed but comes with a hefty price tag.

$515 at Corsair

What about all other PC cases?

There are so many PC cases out there, so you will find plenty that takes to your liking. It's impossible for us to expand this guide to cover more PC cases and keep it updated with all the latest models. We feel this collection of PC cases reflects the very best available on the market.

We're regularly reviewing PC cases from various vendors. Should we come across new cases that deserve a spot in our best PC case collection, we'll consider replacing an existing listing or creating a new category altogether. PC cases come in all shapes and sizes, but the best part is (so long as you make sure everything fits) there's no wrong choice since it's all down to what you prefer your PC to look like.


What to look for in a new PC case

While you can technically choose any case you want for a PC build, it's best to bear a few important factors in mind. Here are a few things we like to consider when shopping for (and reviewing) PC cases:

  • Motherboard support.
  • Support for AIO and water-cooling radiators.
  • Front I/O.
  • Dimensions if you have tight desk space.
  • Effective cable management support.
  • Number of SSDs and HDDs that can be installed.
  • Dust filters.

Motherboard support is important if the case is the last part you're buying for a PC build. Larger PC cases like mid- and full-towers will be able to support all sizes of motherboards (ATX down to Mini-ITX), but smaller cases will likely only support Mini-ITX and MicroATX, so bear this in mind.

Not all cases offer support for AIO and custom water-loop radiators. Even if you can bolt a 360mm radiator to the inside of the chassis, does it allow you to mount a pump and provide enough space for the necessary tubing? Front I/O is a minor consideration since most cases come with USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks.

If you have a tight space where the PC will lay rest, dimensions will play a major part in your decision-making. And if you want the insides of your case to look neat and tidy, effective cable management is a must with grommets, ties, and other useful features. Finally, you're going to want to consider dust filtering to keep it clean and any SSDs or HDDs that need to be installed.

Our recommendations are a great place to start. We rounded up the very best PC cases for a variety of builds.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Rich Edmonds is a staff reviewer at Windows Central, which means he tests out more software and hardware than he cares to remember. Joining Mobile Nations in 2010, you can usually find him inside a PC case tinkering around when not at a screen fighting with Grammarly to use British words. Hit him up on Twitter: @RichEdmonds.

Author:

Richard Devine Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming.

Author:

Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, accessory coverage, and the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

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