There's far more to consider than attractive looks when choosing a case. Good airflow is key when it comes to keeping your components cool, and noise levels can be affected by everything from the number and type of fans you use to the shape of the fan mounts. Size is also important. You need a case that's big enough to accept the components you have today, as well as what you might want to add in the future.
Choose the right case and it could serve you well through multiple PC builds, thus saving you hundreds of dollars. Pick one that you don't really like to look at, or that doesn't fit the GPU you decide you want a few months down the line, and you might be looking to replace it before that new case smell starts to fade. But with hundreds of available options, from closet-like EATX chassis to tiny sub-shoebox-size Mini-ITX models, where do you start? You're in the right place.
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Why Trust Us
We've tested hundreds of cases over the years, from massive luxury models to tiny Mini-ITX budget chassis, with plenty of RGB-lit tempered-glass models spending time on our test bench in recent years. We build a full system in each case we review, and test airflow, temperature and noise. Below you'll find our favorites among dozens we've tested, broken out by size and, with the most-common ATX category, price.
Quick Shopping Tips
- Figure out what parts you have/want first. Aesthetics are important, but before you get to that, you’ll want to know what motherboard, graphics card, and cooler you’ll be using, plus how many drives you’ll want to install. This will dictate the size and shape of the cases you should be considering.
- You probably don’t need a huge tower. Multi-card setups seem to be on the wane, storage is always getting denser (plus with an M.2 SSD, your SSD is physically smaller than ever), and coolers are getting more efficient. So unless you are building a component-packed workstation or you just like the looks and upgradability of a full-sized tower, something smaller will probably serve you well.
- Cooling is key, especially in small cases or with lots of components. Airflow is important, especially when it comes to high-end components in tight spaces. Check our cooler reviews for our cooling test results before buying, and remember that cases with tempered-glass fronts and tops often restrict airflow and may require additional fans.
- Tiny cases are tougher to build in. This is especially important if you’re a novice builder, but even veterans can find it tough to fit components in a small Mini-ITX chassis. There’s no doubt that compact builds with powerful parts are impressive and space-saving. But remember to set aside extra time and patience—and double-check those key component dimensions—before attempting to build a tiny PC.
- Choose a chassis that you like to look at. Unless you don’t care about aesthetics at all and are going to be shove your new system far under your desk, your case is likely to spend lots of time in your peripheral vision. Don’t forget to check airflow and that your parts will fit. But after that, find something that appeals to you visually, whether that be a glass-enclosed rainbow of RGB LEDs, or a simple black box with smooth lines and lots of top-mounted USB ports. There are tons of case options out there. You should take the time to find one that appeals to you visually.
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Best High-End ATX Case
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Best Budget ATX Case
Best MicroATX Case
Best Mini-ITX Case
Best Tempered-Glass Case
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