The Best Gaming PC Cases (August 2018)
Choosing the best gaming PC case for your new build is a crucial decision. It’s easy to get carried away maxing out your budget on powerhouse graphics cards, lightning-quick processors and elaborate cooling systems. But don’t dismiss the actual chassis that houses it all as a mere afterthought.
An unsuitable case could make it a nightmare for you to put everything together. It may not support adequate airflow and cooling to keep your components at a safe temperature, and it could limit your ability to overclock the system to its full potential. Worst case scenario? You may not even be able to fit your components inside, full-stop.
A good gaming PC case will allow plenty of room for your chosen build in an efficient layout. Tool-less installation can help to make construction as easy as possible, while thoughtful cable management features ensure that everything is kept nice and tidy. Some cases come with effective fans right out of the box, or at least support plenty of aftermarket fans or water-cooling. Our buying guide will help you find the best gaming PC case for your new rig whether you’re on a budget or splashing out, with micro-ATX, mid-towers and full tower cases included. And if you’re looking for pre-built rigs, check out our best gaming PC guide right here.
© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
Glance at a checklist of must-have features for a gaming PC case and you’re unlikely to find “stackable” listed on there. But that’s exactly what the Thermaltake Core V21 brings to the table. This impressively customisable little cube can be combined with its brethren for split designs – one half housing your motherboard while the other is dedicated to liquid cooling, for instance. Symmetrical panels and modular fan rails and drive mounts allow for a variety of configurations, with the relatively tool-less design helping you to achieve them with ease. The V21 still has a lot to offer for those without Franken-PC aspirations, too. Large ventilated panels with magnetic dust filters help keep its innards cool, as does the large front 200mm fan. The only downside of this airy design is a lack of noise absorption.
Alternative: Thermaltake Versa H15
If you’re really wanting to scrimp, this even cheaper offering from Thermaltake provides ample space for most m-ATX and mini-ITX builds. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
The Corsair Carbide 280X is a successor to the popular Air 240. While sporting a similar form factor, it boasts a slick new design with three tempered glass panels. The regular 280X is reasonably priced for such a solid, attractive chassis, though you’ll likely be tempted to stump up the extra for the RGB SE variant (pictured). This includes two RGB 120mm fans for fantastic rainbow lighting, albeit via Corsair’s proprietary iCUE software. What’s smart about the 280X is its incognito secondary chamber in which you can hide the PSU, storage drives and – most importantly – the cabling. While you won’t receive the best cooling performance from the stock fans, there’s room for water-cooling radiators at the front and top of the case.
Alternative: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv mATX
The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv offers great cooling capabilities and looks smashing to boot. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
The NZXT S340 mid-tower case was popular for its clean, minimal design and enticing price tag. The H500 revamps this old favourite with a new tempered glass side, increased air intake and other design tweaks. While airflow still isn’t the best due to the solid front, it’s adequate for many builds. The H500’s steel cable management bar and PSU shroud are a godsend for keeping things tidy. This case’s thoughtful design and solid build quality are a pleasant surprise given its reasonable price. This budget hero is smart and understated, and comes in a range of new colours. Splash out a little more for the H500i and you’ll receive smart cooling features and two RGB LED strips, plus the option to mount your GPU vertically.
Alternative: Riotoro CR500
Looking for something even cheaper? The CR500 from Riotoro offers a solid feature-set at a remarkably low price. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
Take a look at the Corsair 570X and it’s hard to not to fall instantly in love. This stunner is covered in panels of tempered glass and features three RGB fans for a show-stopping display of your rig’s interior. Check out the Mirror Black variant for a reflective surface that reveals all when powered on and lit up. The 570X isn’t just a pretty face, either. Glass can be risky for heat but this case is well ventilated with room for six fans and all manner of cooling systems. Full top-panel and face-panel filtration helps keep out dust, the bane of a cool machine. The only disappointment is that cable management is sub-par for such a revealing case.
Alternative: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE
Another marvel of luxurious tempered glass and customisable RGB fans, the Corsair 500D RGB SE is a sight to behold. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
A big case doesn’t have to mean big money. The Phanteks Enthoo Pro Glass has enough space to swing a cat inside – or at least a very large GPU – without costing the earth. It doesn’t feel like a compromise, either. This case is solidly built and looks the business thanks to a sleek black exterior with tempered glass side panel. One of the Enthoo Pro’s deceptively premium features is tool-less, modular drive bays. Whether you’re prioritising storage or making space for your components or cooling it can be tailored to your needs. Handy cable routing options and Velcro straps ensure that however it’s built, it’s tidy. Thanks to its size, this chassis has both great airflow and space for multiple radiators and fans. Only a front intake and rear exhaust fan are included, but there’s space for up to four more.
Alternative: Cooler Master Stryker SE
Admittedly, the Stryker SE leans more towards the mid-range in pricing but this Stormtrooper-esque goliath offers a lot of interior space for your cash. © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.
The Cooler Master Cosmos C700P is an ode to excess, pushing boundaries in size, style and customisation – as well as in price and weight. This brushed aluminium brute sports curved tempered glass in a design that wouldn’t look out of place on a spaceship. The C700P’s standout feature is its modularity. With cutouts and frame rails on all sides you can mount your motherboard and components in any orientation imaginable – even on the opposite side of the case, switching side panels to match. Needless to say, there’s enough room for extensive cooling configurations too. Carry handles let you take the C700P with you, provided that you’re strong enough to lift it. Its cool gunmetal grey exterior is something you’ll want to flaunt, after all. The only letdown is the stingy default storage bays allowing just one SSD and two HDDs.
Alternative: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 v2
Another highly modular option. This revamped model sports a range of upgrades to an already attractive full tower chassis.
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© Courtesy of Games Radar Games Radar image
The Best Mid-tower Case
Some users prefer to build itty-bitty small form factor PCs with mini-ITX cases and others like to load up multiple graphics cards in large full towers. But the most commonly used case that’s versatile enough for most situations is the ATX mid-tower case.
More PC cases
Looking for more sizes and designs? Check out our bigger guide to the best PC cases, which covers a wide range of sizes, prices, and styles.
This time, there’s a new kid on the block: the NZXT H700i, our new favorite high-end mid-tower case and one of the best PC cases of any type. Clean design, some additional thoughtful touches, and just a well-built case all-around, the H700i is our new go-to choice when building a PC in a mid-tower.
There are several really good reasons to go with a mid-tower. First, they support regular, full (sometimes even extended) ATX motherboards. This is the biggest class of desktop motherboard, which means you’re also likely to find a board that fits your budget and needs pretty easily. Another reason to go with a mid-tower is ease of installation. Micro-ATX and mini-ITX cases are often much tighter and can offer less flexibility in a build. That’s not what you want if this is your first rodeo. Finally, ATX full-tower cases can get quite large, and take up a lot of real estate. In comparison, you can easily fit a mid-tower under a desk since they’re lighter and require less effort to move.
Mid-tower ATX cases are great because they generally keep things simple, and offer the baseline when it comes to form. While you may find some compromises in the area of cooling capabilities, the right mid-towers can offer just as much as you’d expect from a high end full-tower case. We tested out all sorts of cases to find the best ATX mid-tower for PC gaming. Here’s what made the cut.
Our favorite overall mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX and EATX(Up to 272mm or 10.7-inches) | Dimensions: W: 230mm H: 516mm D: 494mm | Weight: 12.27 kg | Radiator Support: Front: 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm with Push/Pull, Top: 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm, Rear: 1 x 120mm | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x Audio/Mic | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 7, 3.5”: 2+1
Integrated addressable LED lighting
CAM powered “smart device”
No USB Type-C
Cramped HDD space
One of our latest favorites is NZXT’s H700i, released last year. The ease of building in it and the satisfaction it provides are second to none. NZXT markets the H700i as a “smart” case thanks to the inclusion of a new smart hub powered by the company’s CAM software.
This hub acts as both a digital fan controller and a RGB LED controller that uses machine learning to find the perfect balance between noise and cooling for your fan speeds in real-time. The H700i generously includes four pre-installed fans and two RGB strips to make full use of the smart hub out of the box.
These features already set the H700i apart from the crowd, but the cable management on the backside is the star of the show. Four different cable routing channels with integrated cable tie downs made the process effortless and extremely satisfying. Priced at $200, the H700i is one of the more expensive cases we’ve recommended but it’s about as premium as it gets.
Corsair 500D SE
The best high-end mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX | Dimensions: 500mm x 237mm x 507mm | Weight: 11.75 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm | I/O Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3 3.5”: 2
Brilliant RGB lighting
Easy cooling installation
Not much cable management space
Corsair’s Obsidian 500D took everything we loved about the 900D, added a ton of modern updates and brought it to a smaller more accessible mid-tower. Like its predecessors, the 500D offers an elegant blend of smoked tempered glass and brushed aluminum for a truly premium look and feel.
While most tempered glass cases require you to remove screws to open them up, this one features magnetic doors that swing wide open for easy access. As expected from a modern Corsair case, the 500D and the 500D SE offer plentiful support for liquid cooling and convenient cable management options.
The 500D SE replaces the aluminum front panel with more smoked tempered glass and features a built in version of Corsair’s RGB LED/fan controller along with three pre-installed addressable RGB LED fans. This makes it easy to expand your glowy arsenal and it also synchronizes perfectly with your Corsair peripherals. The end result is an iconic enclosure that is as beautiful as it is functional.
Cooler Master H500M
The best airflow mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX (support upto 12″ x 10.7″) | Dimensions: 544 x 248 x 546mm | Weight: 14.2 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm | I/O Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3 3.5”: 2
It’s massive (supports E-ATX)
High airflow with 2x 200mm RGB fans
No magnetic dust filters
Cooler Master’s H500M is the company’s latest flagship mid-tower, but we’d really rather it be called a full-sized tower. Measuring 21.4 x 9.8 x 21.5 inches, the H500M is the biggest mid-tower on this list. Thanks to its large size and internal layout, it’s really easy to build in and supports a huge variety of components and custom cooling options.
The H500M comes with two massive 200mm RGB LED fans installed which do a fantastic job of increasing airflow out of the box. Other modern touches include a USB 3.1 Type-C connector and tons of modularity including the option to choose between a mesh or tempered glass front panel.
Our only major issue with the case is the lack of easily removable magnetic dust filters for the front fan intake. Luckily, all of the mesh in the entire H500 line features a secondary filter layer that’ll help keep dust out of your build. We mention the dust because the H500M features some serious airflow and comes prepared to keep the beefiest of gaming PCs cool.
In Win 303C
The best mid-range mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 500mm x 215mm x 480mm | Weight: 12.81 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 240mm, 360mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 6 3.5”: 3
RGB front panel
Spacious dual-chamber design
Unique honeycomb ventilation
Cramped bottom intake design
In Win was one of the first case manufacturers to experiment with tempered glass panels and now it looks like everyone is using them. It’s only fitting since our interior components have become more and more aesthetically pleasing. The company’s 303 was one of our favorite cases for some time thanks to its massive tempered glass door, dual-chamber design and affordability.
Now the company has updated the case with the 303C which brings a USB 3.1 Type-C connector to the front I/O and adds RGB lighting. It also includes a nifty metal GPU bracket which prevents the dreaded sagging you get with heavy graphics cards.
Overall, the 303C is a great case that is capable of supporting a wide variety of liquid cooled builds and offers a very clean aesthetic without compromising thermal performance. Installation can be tricky if you fill all of the fan slots, but the end result is well worth the trouble.
The best budget mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: W: 210mm H: 460mm D: 428mm | Weight: 7 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm; 140mm; 240mm; 280mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (Type A) | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3 3.5”: 3
Affordable next-gen S340
Compact and lightweight
Case can get a little noisy
Only supports one top fan
NZXT’s S340 has long gone unchallenged as our favorite budget mid-tower thanks to its minimalistic design, steel side panels, and most importantly accessibility. The H500 is its direct replacement and it checks off all of the boxes of its predecessor with a few modern updates that allow it to keep its place on the throne.
Like the S340, the H500’s sleek design includes a steel cable management bar and PSU shroud to keep things looking just as clean on the inside as it does on the outside. If you have an extra $30 to spare, the H500i is also available which features built in rgb lighting and fan control via NZXT’s CAM-powered smart device.
If you want to add a pop of color to your build, NZXT offers the H500 with a few different colors to match your components. Priced at $70, the case is absolutely comparable in build quality and features to $100+ competitors.
One form factor, a world of possibilities
The ATX mid-tower is the most common form of the PC. It’s what most people think of when they think of a desktop PC. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring.
There’s a big world of PC cases out there for the mid-tower form factor, and it was tough choosing just a few to feature here. If you’re shopping for a case, our general advice is to be ready to spend about $100 for a case with plenty of features and options, decently high build quality, and a look that fits your personality.
After all, this is the thing you’ll be spending a lot of time sitting next to. You owe it to yourself to make sure you get a case that you’ll be happy with.
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