When you’re building a computer, it’s easy to overlook the best PC cases in favor of the cheapest enclosure money can buy. While it’s fine to be frugal, there’s something to be said for a computer chassis that’s decked out with stylish hues, ample ventilation and otherworldly lighting effects, all while remaining criminally under budget.
It’s for that reason that we’ve gone out of our way to find the best PC case for you. Whether you plan on using your PC to play games, watch movies, create art or just plain write like us, you won’t be disappointed by the lot we’ve discovered. As always, we’ve scoured all of the biggest, and even the lesser known, names in hardware to devise a nigh-perfect list.
Although your gut might have you convinced that we’re lying, don’t confuse hunger for suspicion, as we’ve found 8 unique PC cases – each in different categories – that present an assortment of compelling arguments for why they should be the one to house your motherboard. Better yet, of these options, not one should break the bank either.
Cooler Master Cosmos II 25th Anniversary Edition
The best full-tower PC case
Form factor: Full tower | Dimensions: 664 x 344 x 704mm (L x W x H; 26.1 x 13.5 x 27.7 inches) | Mobo compatibility: Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX, XL-ATX, SSI CEB, SSI EE | PSU support: ATX PS2/EPS 12V | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, audio in/out | Includes: 1 x 120mm top fan, 1 x 200mm LED front fan, 1 x 140mm rear fan
Thirteen 3.5-inch hard drive bays
Uniquely curved tempered glass side panels
Loud, even at the lowest fan settings Exorbitantly expensive
If you have a hunch that our list might be outdated for included this familiar looking chassis, we won’t fault you for the confusion. The Cooler Master Cosmos II 25th Anniversary Edition was designed to resemble the 2012 enclosure of its namesake to – you guessed it – celebrate its 25th Anniversary. The 2017 version streamlines HDD installations with its signature X-Dock, and it’s tempered glass side panel looks gorgeous illuminated by blue LEDs.
Fractal Design Meshify-C
The best mid-tower PC case
Form factor: Mid-tower | Dimensions: 395 x 212 x 440mm (L x W x H; 15.6 x 8.3 x 17.3) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HD audio in/out, power button, reset button | Includes: 2 x Dynamic X2 GP-12
Freshly designed in multiple ways
USB 3.0 cable is too short Front
PSU dust filter is hard to remove
To find any other PC case remotely analogous to Fractal Design’s Meshify-C is uncommon to say the least. Provided that the entire front of the chassis is comprised of mesh material divvied up into countless polygonal shapes, the Meshify-C sports quite the look, and it does so without compromising on function. With two fans pre-installed, interior cooling is (forgive us) a breeze, even if the Meshify-C is set back by a handful of stumbles.
Nanoxia Deep Silence 4
The best Micro ATX PC case
Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 380 x 200 x 480mm (W x H x D; 15 x 7.9 x 18.9 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HD audio in/out, power button, reset button, two-channel fan control | Includes: 2 x 120mm fans, 2 x modular HDD cages for up to five hard drives
Onboard dual-zone fan controls
Not many extras
As its model name suggests, the Nanoxia Deep Silence 4 was created for the sole intent of being quiet as a mouse. This silence-focused chassis is a well-rounded Micro ATX case that’s smartly priced and accommodates some of the largest, most powerful graphics cards with its capacious interior. The fact that you’ll rarely hear it exceed 30 decibels is merely icing on the very reticent cake.
The best Mini-ITX PC case
Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 245 x 426 x 450mm (W x H x D; 9.6 x 16.8 x 17.7) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: LED on/off, 1 x audio/mic, USB 3.0 | Includes: 2 x 120mm front fans, 1 x 120mm rear fan
Spacious for Mini-ITX
No external drive bays
Not big enough for tall air coolers
Although Micro ATX has been around longer, Mini-ITX technology is getting to the point where it’s finally viable for PC power users and gamers alike. The problem that still remains with Mini-ITX cases, however, is the limitation they inflict on cooling and power options. Luckily, the NZXT Manta was designed for your mightier components alongside tiny mobos. The nearly full-size design might be off putting to some, but we find that it’s more than acceptable for this bubble-shaped colossus of a case.
Phanteks Evolv Shift X
The best home theater PC case
Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 170 x 650 x 274mm (W x H x D; 6.7 x 26.1 x 10.8 inches) | Mobo compatibility: Mini-ITX | PSU support: SFX, SFX-L, ATX (160mm max) | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, power button, RGB button | Includes: 2 x 140mm fan, 1 x power supply cover, 1 x pump bracket, 2 x SSD bracket, 1 x PCIe x16 Riser cable, 1 x 8-pin CPU extension cable
Plenty of room for beefy components
Massive for Mini-ITX
At first glance, the Phanteks Evolv Shift X looks more like a sound bar than a PC case, but this helps it blend into any living room or studio setup. It’s versatile to the point that it looks natural placed under a TV just as it does atop a desk, next to an equally high-end monitor. While it’s only compatible with Mini-ITX motherboards, which seems frivolous given its size, the Phanteks Evolv Shift X offers tons of space for components and liquid-cooled loops. If this chassis is a little too large for your liking, there’s also the more manageable and smaller Phanteks Evolv Shift.
Fractal Design Define R5
Form factor: Mid-tower | Dimensions: 232 x 451 x 521mm (W x H x D; 232 x 451 x 521 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, audio in/out, power button with LED, HDD activity LED, reset button | Includes: 2 x Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans, velcro straps
User-friendly (and handsome) design
Definitely not tool-less
Our second entry from Fractal Design, the Define R5 is yet another mid-tower chassis bearing lush aesthetics. The metallic and blue LED-lit front of the case is simple, yet elegant, and is complemented by noise dampening materials throughout its interior. Despite the removable ModuVent panels and drive trays not being tool-lessly accessible, the Fractal Design Define R5 is otherwise painless to build a computer inside of. Not only that, but it’s not as pricey as you might expect from a PC case with such a pretentious name either.
Corsair Carbide Spec-04
Form factor: Mid-tower | Dimensions: 492 x 201 x 433mm (L x W x H; 19.4 x 7.9 x 17 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x headphone port, 1 x microphone port, power on button, reset button | Includes: 1 x 120mm LED front fan
Premium look and feel
Compelling price point
Only one USB 3.0 port
Inputs located on right side
When you’re trying to keep the cost of your build down, we recommend not going for the absolute cheapest PC case available. For the most part, cost cutting cases are deprived of proper ventilation and airflow, not to mention you’ll wind up buying your own fans and cable management supplies. The Corsair Carbide Spec-04, on the other hand, shows up even some of the more extravagant chassis. It does so with rubberized feet, a bundled LED fan and plenty of room to spare for additional fans and components.
Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 365 x 250 x 460mm (H x W x D; 14.4 x 9.8 x 18.1 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, I/O button, audio in/out | Includes: 1 x 120mm rear exhaust fan mount
Ample space for power and cooling
Integrated fan controller
Less than satisfactory performance
This one is for our Razer fans out there. While the green snake-embellished company doesn’t make its own PCs, it has partnered with a few OEMs in the past to add its signature green-infused flare to a handful of desktop PC cases. This includes the Atec Cube, a small form factor case that tailors to Mini-ITX motherboards and is shaped like an italic font (if it was reversed). Complete with lots of headroom, either for an initial build or later expansion, the Antec Cube is simultaneously compact enough to be taken anywhere.