One of the best parts of building your own computer is choosing a case, but there are hundreds of great options out there. If you want a great all-rounder, our recommendation would be the Corsair Graphite Series 230T. It’s striking to look at, is built well, with tool-less drive bays and PCIExpress brackets, and it’s priced competitively too.
But it’s not the only great case out there. Whatever your style preferences and budget, here are the best cases you can buy today.
We received the red, windowed version of this case with a Maingear review unit long ago, and have since used the case for a variety of test rigs and in-office gaming systems. And for good reason. Not only is the system spacious and easy to build in, but it has a fair amount of metal panels, considering the price point. That helps it carry a more premium look and feel that we notice while working in it; there’s a reason we used it in our PC building guide.
It’s available in a variety of colors, and with or without a side window, which should help those who are indecisive, or picky about their aesthetic choices. Despite Corsair listing it as “beginner friendly” on the product page, there’s plenty of room for extra drives, big graphics cards, long power supplies, and fancy lighting and cooling setups. For under $100, it’s hard to ask for much else from a computer case.
NZXT has been around since 2004, but in recent years has begun to find its voice, making a name for itself among PC gaming enthusiasts with attractive cases and interesting accessories like the Puck cable management system. The H700i continues that ethos of challenging the idea of what such a product entails, offering a clean build and a whole heap of modern features to create a smart and capable chassis that would make a great home for any contemporary desktop.
The all-steel construction is a little heavier than some of the other entries on this list, at 27 pounds, but that gives it a sturdy frame to build your PC inside. It features space for three fans in the front and top and a single fan at the rear, with filters for inlets on the front panel and underslung PSU grill. It also supports custom and all-in-one watercooling loops, and a bespoke cable management system to prevent airflow impediment.
RGB lighting and fan speeds can be controlled through the CAM dashboard and NZXT even leverages machine learning to learn to optimize your system’s coloring and cooling to best suit you — augment it with a colorful memory kit if you wish. You can make sure everyone can see your fancy lighting set up too, with the built-in tempered glass side window. If you like the design of the H700i but want something a little smaller, there are micro-ATX and mini-ITX variants available too.
With a sleek appearance and an impressive variety of built-in features, not to mention a low price, the R5 from Fractal Design is a great choice for just about any system builder. It’s not as flashy as some of its contemporaries (the only full-metal piece is the aluminum front access door), but its wide configuration options make it a popular choice.
The case supports up to seven 140mm fans (two included) and an impressive amount of radiator options for water cooling, plus dampening covers for the fan slots you don’t use. It has slide-out trays for both internal hard drives, side-mounted SSD slots, dust filters for the front and bottom fans, and a quick-release system for the side panel. The R5 ranges in price from $85 to $150 based on the color (black, white, or titanium) and the optional case window.
If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to sacrifice much to make some savings, then Cooler Master’s Masterbox Q300L is one of our firm favorites. Showcased in so many of our budget PC build guides, the Q300L is an mATX case (so it won’t support full size motherboards) that has a gorgeous, compact aesthetic with enough space for full-size graphics cards, watercooling radiators, full-size ATX power supplies, and plenty of fans to keep things cool.
It also comes with magnetic dust filters, and an I/O front panel that can be placed in six different configurations. It offers all this for under $50 which seems almost impossible considering it’s built with steel, not some low-cost plastic and aluminum. It’s an astoundingly effective case at a bargain price that few other chassis can compete with.
Not satisfied with the boxy, standard selection of desktop cases? Something like the ThermalTake Core P5 might be just the ticket. Its open-air design requires frequent cleaning, but in exchange your system isn’t just a computer, it’s a showpiece. The panoramic case gives everyone full view of every system component, so make sure to keep your wire runs clean and tight. It has full support for open loop liquid cooling as well, and even has VESA mounts on the back to mount the whole system to a wall.
It’s a bit limited when it comes to drive space, with just three hidden slots and one exposed slot for either 2.5 or 3.5-inch drives, but there’s plenty of room for fans and radiators in exchange. Plus, the GPU bracket allows for vertical installation, to show off your high-end graphics card. It’s certainly not the right case for everyone, or people with pets, but it makes a beautiful addition to a flashy gaming PC setup.