Picking a case for your computer is a fun part of the customized build process. Besides protecting internal components, your computer case can make a strong aesthetic statement and give your computer more personality. New materials are opening up new possibilities for manufacturers, and there are some interesting innovations to explore.
We compared the designs and features of different computer cases to help you narrow down your options. Keep reading to find out more about the cases we recommend!
NZXT opened its doors in 2004, but only found its voice in recent years. It’s now highly popular with PC gaming enthusiasts offering attractive cases and interesting accessories like the Puck cable management system.
The H700i continues that ethos of challenging the idea of what a PC case entails, packing a clean build and a whole heap of modern features to create a smart and capable chassis. It’s a great home for any contemporary desktop.
At 27 pounds, the all-steel construction is a little heavier than other entries on this list, but the result is an extremely solid frame that fortifies your unique build. It features space for three fans in the front, three fans at the 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 water-cooling loops, and a bespoke cable management system to prevent airflow impediment.
You can control RGB lighting and fan speeds through the CAM dashboard. NZXT even leverages machine learning to optimize the system’s coloring and cooling to best suit you — augment it with a colorful memory kit if you wish. The built-in tempered glass side window allows everyone to see your fancy lighting setup illuminating from within.
If you like the H700i’s design but want something smaller, NZXT sells micro-ATX and mini-ITX variants too. You can also buy the updated model —— packing USB-C connectivity and a vertical GPU mount.
Fractal Design Define R5
With a sleek appearance and impressive built-in features — not to mention a low price — the Define R5 from Fractal Design is a great choice for just about any system builder. It’s not as flashy as some of its contemporaries but its wide configuration options make it a popular choice.
This case supports up to seven 140mm fans (two included) and provides dampening covers for the unused fan slots. It also supports an impressive amount of radiator options for water cooling.
Other notable features include 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 only full-metal piece is the aluminum front access door.
The Define R5 ranges in price from $85 to $150 based on color (black, white, or titanium) and optional case window. The newer model —— adds vertical expansion slots and a USB-C port (10Gbps) for at least $20 bucks more.
Cooler Master Masterbox Q300L
If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to sacrifice features for savings, then Cooler Master’s Masterbox Q300L is one of our firm favorites. Frequently showcased in our budget PC build guides, the Q300L is a mATX case with a gorgeous, compact aesthetic.
The Q300L doesn’t support full-size motherboards, but there’s enough space for full-size graphics cards, water-cooling 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 you can place in six different configurations.
Overall, it’s an astoundingly effective case at a bargain price making it fiercely competitive with similar cases. The sub-$50 price seems almost impossible considering it uses steel, not low-cost plastic and aluminum.
Not satisfied with the boxy, standard desktop case selection? The Thermaltake Core P5 might be your ticket. It includes VESA mounts on the back to mount the whole system to a wall like modern artwork. Its open-air, panoramic design requires frequent cleaning, but in exchange, your system isn’t just a computer: It’s a showpiece.
Thermaltake’s case provides full support for open-loop liquid cooling, Unfortunately, it’s a bit limited regarding drive space, offering just three hidden slots and one exposed slot for either 2.5 or 3.5-inch drives.
But that lack of drive space also means you have plenty of room for fans and radiators. Plus, the GPU bracket allows for vertical installation to showcase your high-end graphics card. Just be sure to keep wire runs tight, and everything dust-free for the best performance and a clean display.
The Core P5 is certainly not the right case for everyone or people with pets, but it makes a beautiful addition to a flashy gaming PC setup.
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