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Best PC Cases 2021: Our Tested Picks for Your New Build

Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Choosing the best PC case for your build often gets overlooked, or pushed off until the very end of the part-picking process. When building a new PC, you might start off choosing one of the best gaming CPUs and the best graphics card for your needs and budget. You’ll then want to pick the best motherboard for your system, and perhaps some storage devices. But builders frequently overlook the case, thinking of it as just a box to put your components in.

But the truth couldn’t be further from that. Getting the best PC case is key, because it's arguably what forms the identity of your computer, dictating not only its looks but also what fits inside, the noise levels in your room, and the cooling potential for your rig as well. You can choose to go for a small ITX case to minimize your system’s footprint on your desk, like Phanteks’ excellent Evolv Shift 2, or you can get a chassis like Fractal Design’s Meshify 2 to house a big, badass workstation with endless expansion possibilities.

Below we’ve compiled a list of the best PC cases from the dozens of models we've tested. As long as you check whether the parts you want will fit and you like the looks, one of these cases should keep you happy for years to come.

Recent Case News 

If the best PC case for you is something premium and compact, Louqe’s Raw S1 is a niche Mini-ITX case that, while limited in expansion and cooling capacity, does feature a very compact footprint and some of the most stunning design and materials I’ve seen in years. It is expensive at $330, and at the time of writing, it isn't widely available. But you can buy it direct from the manufacturer.

If you're looking for something more mainstream, we recently reviewed the Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact, a good option for understated ATX systems. And there's Thermaltake’s ITX The Tower 100 if you'd like something that’s a more unique showpiece.

Meanwhile, although not a candidate for this list, we’ve also built a system in Singularity Computer’s Spectre III chassis -- a $1400 open case designed purely for liquid cooling, and it’s a truly stunning piece of kit. This adventure started with assembling the case itself as it comes flat-packed, followed by building a sweet system into it that we called ‘Blue Shift’

While these cases aren't strictly all on our list of best PC cases below, they're still worth considering if you like the way they look and have (or plan to buy) components for a PC that fits within their specs.

Quick PC Case Shopping Tips

  • Figure out what parts you have/want first. Before prioritizing looks, 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 of the cases to consider.
  • Cooling is key, especially in small cases. Airflow is important in choosing the best PC case, 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 glass fronts and tops restrict airflow and may need extra fans.
  • Choose a chassis that you like to look at. Your case of choice 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. Take the time to find a case that appeals to you visually.

The Best PC Cases You Can Buy Today

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

1. Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact

Best All Round Compact ATX Case

Type: Mid Tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 360mm (14.2 inches) | Storage Support: (2) 3.5” (2) 2.5” | Included Fans: (3) 2x, 140mm, 1x 120mm

Thoughtful Interior and cable management
Ships with 3 quality fans
Excellent thermal performance and easy filter access
Materials could be better
Fans don’t have PWM control
No RGB

Fractal Design’s Meshify 2 Compact offers an excellent foundation for simple ATX gaming systems, and a chassis that will stand the test of time well. It doesn’t go out of its way to be eccentric, rather providing the user with a classy chassis that will look good for a long time to come -- a chassis you can grow up with. 

And while its materials quality could be seen as a little lacking, this is a case where you pay for its excellent design, not only in looks, but also practicality: it has tons of cable management space, is laid out logically and with easy to access filters, a breeze to use and maintain as your daily driver. 

The biggest catch to this case is its slightly steep price and lack of RGB, but we believe it’s worth paying just for how well thought-out its practical design is. 

Read: Meshify 2 Compact Review 

Lian Li Lancool II Mesh (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

2. Lian Li Lancool II Mesh

Best Mid-Range ATX Case

Type: Mid Tower ATX | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 15.1 inches (384mm) | Storage Support: (4) 2.5-inch (3) 3.5-inch | Included Fans: (2) 140mm, (1) 120mm

Excellent thermal performance
Thoughtful interior
Ingenious cable management
Three included fans with controller
Affordable
No RGB (a pro, for some)
Exterior design is a bit boring
USB-C costs $15 extra

If you’re in the market for a no-fuss, built-like-a-tank, high-performance, competitively priced PC case and don’t mind this model’s somewhat boring appearance, we can do nothing other than recommend the Lian Li Lancool II Mesh.

Aside from being a great performing case, the Lancool II Mesh is also a dream to work in and offers unparalleled flexibility. The case is heavy, but feels extremely solid and is clearly meant to last.

Read: Lian Li Lancool II Mesh Performance Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Fractal Design Meshify 2

Best Case for High-End Rigs and Workstations

Type: Mid-Tower ATX | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX (285 mm) | Card Length Supported: 467mm (18.4 inches) | Storage Support: (11) 3.5" (6 brackets included), (4) 2.5" (2 brackets included) | Included Fans: (3) 140mm

Interior brilliance
Excellent cooling performance
Easy panel and dust filter removal
Overkill for modest builds
Slightly buzzy fan motors

Fractal offers a thoughtful, versatile design aimed at ease-of-use, and delivers a very pleasant and enjoyable building experience with the Meshify 2. Whether you use this case as a system where you just want to deliver tons of airflow and room for expansion, a workstation with tons of hard drives, a server, or high-end custom liquid cooling, the Meshify 2 will find a way to accommodate your build. For that, along with thermal and acoustic performance that is in-line with what we expect from a mesh front, it earns a rare five-star rating.

The Meshify 2 doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to case design, instead gently chiseling away at it to refine the experience. There’s only one thing about it that you need to ask yourself before smashing the buy button: Will you really use the room for storage or cooling parts, or can you buy a smaller case and save yourself some space and money?

Read: Fractal Design Meshify 2 Review

Phanteks P360A (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

4. Phanteks Eclipse P360A

Best Budget ATX Gaming Case

Type: Mid Tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 400mm (15.7 inches) | Storage Support: (2) 3.5” (2) 2.5” | Included Fans: (2) 120mm ARGB

So much RGB
Includes well-featured standalone D-RGB controller
Chart-leading thermal performance
Excellent case for simple ATX systems
Just $66
Materials are kinda cheap
No real intake filtration

Phanteks’ P360A comes in at a street price of just $66, and that isn’t much especially if you consider its feature set. Sure, it won’t blow you away with quality materials or extreme silence, but it comes with all the essentials needed for simple, budget-minded ATX gaming systems while still offering a fun bit of flair.

Behind the mesh front panel you’ll find two 120mm addressable-RGB fans, which provide the chassis with class-leading thermal performance at perfectly acceptable noise levels. This is a case that’s more than capable of dealing with today’s high-TDP GPUs, and a 240mm radiator mount at the top can be used with an AIO to keep your CPU cool too.

And as a cherry on top, Phanteks also throws in an addressable-RGB strip along the side of the chassis, along with an excellent software-free RGB controller, creating a very complete and easy to use ‘just throw parts at it’ package.

Read: Phanteks P360A Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

5. Phanteks Evolv Shift 2

Best Case for Quiet High-End Rigs and Workstations

Type: ITX Tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Card Length Supported: 335mm (13.2 inches) | Storage Support: (1) 3.5" (2) 2.5" | Included Fans: (1) 140mm

Beautiful glass & aluminum paneling
Small footprint
Straightforward interior layout
Fits big GPUs
Only fits 120mm AIOs for CPU cooling
Challenging build due to tight space
Riser cable only does PCIe 3.
 Wobbly switchgear at top

The Evolv Shift 2 stands out at first glance for its its towering, small footprint design and beautiful anodized aluminum panels. Priced at $100 for the mesh version and $110 for the variant with TG and an addressable-RGB fan, it easily earns a spot on our Best PC Cases list. 

With a small footprint and beautiful finish in both the tempered-glass and mesh variants, the Evolv Shift 2 is perfect as an SFF PC for use in the living room, moving around the house wherever you need it or taking to LAN parties. The easily accessible top IO makes plugging devices in a breeze too. Building in it was tight, and came with the typical frustrations associated with Mini-ITX systems, but I still managed a build within about 3 hours, and the end result was well worth the effort.

Read: Evolv Shift 2 Review 

Corsair 4000X (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

6. Corsair Obsidian Series 4000X RGB

Best Premium RGB ATX Gaming Case

Type: Mid Tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 360mm (14.2 inches) | Storage Support: (2) 3.5” (2) 2.5” | Included Fans: (3) 120mm ARGB

Clean aesthetics and refined interior
Good enough thermal performance
Mesh option (without RGB) for performance enthusiasts or budget builders
RGB variant includes iCUE hub
Relatively quiet
Only one front USB-A port
Fans don’t spin fast enough for extreme performance requirements

Corsair’s 4000X RGB is a sleek gaming tower that comes with two glass panels and three RGB spinners. Priced at $135 noq, it’s not cheap, but its design is thoroughly considered and as you build with it, it’s clear where Corsair’s gaming and PC building pedigree comes from. Indeed, the 4000X RGB (as well as the similar 4000D airflow), is an extremely easy and convenient chassis to build a system in, and everything just makes sense. 

While it won’t blow you away with premium materials such as aluminum, the dark tinted glass ensures that you only see RGB lighting inside the case, allowing you to be a little sloppy with cable management because you won’t see it anyway. Add to that Corsair’s class-leading RGB ecosystem, and you’ve got a very pretty case that’s convenient in use and always looks good, no matter what you install inside it.

Read: Corsair Obsidian Series 4000X RGB Review 

Fractal Design Define 7 (Image credit: Fractal Design)

7. Fractal Design Define 7

Best Case for Quiet High-End Rigs and Workstations

Type: Mid-Tower ATX | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 18.4 / 12.4 inches (467 / 315mm) | Storage Support: (7) 3.5", (2) 2.5" | Included Fans: (3) 140mm, (3) 120mm

Tempered-glass side panel
Filtration system
Good thermal performance
Low noise
Water cooling support
USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
Versatility
No RGB Lighting

A dual-layout (open or extra storage) interior, vented top panel, dedicated water cooling fill port under the top filter, and a Nexus+ 2 PWM fan hub add to the Define 7's extremely solid construction and top-notch fit/finish to make it a sure hit with performance enthusiasts. If you're looking for top notch performance with a strong feature set, the Fractal Design Define 7 is worth the money.

Read: Fractal Design Define 7 review

Antec P82 Silent  (Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

8. Antec P82 Silent

Best Budget Silent ATX Case

Type: Mid Tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 380mm (15.1 inches) | Storage Support: (2) 3.5” (2) 2.5” | Included Fans: (3) 3x 120mm

Includes 3 quality fans and fan controller
Excellent acoustic and good cooling performance
Fan controller switch feels sludgy
No top radiator mount

Antec’s P82 Silent takes case design in a slightly different direction than most ATX cases do these days, instead focusing on silence and understated looks. While this means that you won’t be able to mount an AIO at the top,thanks to the closed panel there for sound dampening, the P82 Silent is an excellent air-cooling case for systems that need to draw less attention.

Priced at $60, the build quality is in-line with what we'd expect featuring mostly painted steel and cheap plastics, but the case comes with three quiet fans and a fair amount of damping material to keep it all hush hush. 

With room for up to ATX motherboards, more than adequate cable management, and surprisingly good thermal performance despite the quiet intentions, the P82 Silent is a great value for those seeking a quiet PC.

Read: Antec P82 Silent review 

be quiet! Dark Base 700

9. be quiet! Dark Base 700

Best XL/EATX Case

Type: Mid Tower | Motherboard Support: E-ATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX | Card Length Supported: 286mm (11.2 inches)/430mm (16.9 inches with HD cage removed) | Storage Support: (7) 3.5, (9) 2.5" | Included Fans: (2) 140mm

Good thermal performance
Great looking chassis
Embedded lighting
Tempered-glass side panel
Low noise
Excellent filtration system
Price
Only two 140mm fans (three would be ideal at this price)

The be quiet! Dark Base 700 is in a class of its own. At first glance it may seem like just another case with a tempered-glass side panel. But upon further inspection, it’s clear how much time and effort went into the design. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more versatile, high-performance enclosure.

It’s clear that be quiet! put a great deal of thought into the design of this chassis’ filtration system. Every intake fan mounting location in the Dark Base 700 is equipped with a washable nylon fan filter. Gaining access to filters requires removing the front panel, but even though the front and bottom filters are extremely long, maintenance and cleaning is a snap.

Read: be quiet! Dark Base 700 review

Phanteks Enthoo Pro II (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

10. Phanteks Enthoo Pro II

Best Dual-System Case

Type: Full-Tower ATX | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX(2), Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX | Card Length Supported: 19.8 inches (503 mm) | Storage Support: (12) 3.5", (11) 2.5" | Included Fans: None

Excellent thermal performance and cable management
Flexible interior and lavish front I/O
Affordable for its size and features
Unnecessarily big
No fans included
Materials could be of higher quality

Phanteks’ Enthoo Pro II is a very unique chassi, offering the most seamless dual-system support we’ve ever seen. And its new fabric mesh front looks really great, especially when you get close to the case. 

Thermally and acoustically, the Enthoo Pro II also performs phenomenally well. Of course, the mesh does let more noise out than a closed-front case would, but if you’re careful in your component selection and only pick quiet parts, it should all remain very tolerable.

Read: Phanteks Enthoo Pro II review

Discounts on the Best PC Cases

Whether you're buying one of the best PC cases on our list above or a different product, you may find some savings by checking out the latest Corsair coupon codes,  Newegg promo codes or Micro Center coupon codes.

Niels Broekhuijsen
Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware news on all components and peripherals.
  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3761873/cases.html
    Reply
  • Peter Martin
    Lol. No thanks. Lian-Li for me
    Reply
  • 1_rick
    In the info block at the top, the "review" link for the H200i goes to the Define R6 review; it's correct at the page bottom.
    Reply
  • Scrotus
    Why are front panel USB ports, power switches, activity lights, etc. placed on top of cases? If I interpret correctly a desktop computer indicates it is placed on your desktop. My last 3 or 4 cases had everything on top and I couldn't see them without standing up and the hard drive activity light was out of sight while I'm sitting in my normal position. I wish they would start putting front panel stuff on the front panel and not on top of the case.
    Reply
  • joedavies87
    Why isn’t Phanteks on this list?
    Reply
  • Lucky_SLS
    The pc O11 dynamic will get a 2/5 in Tom's review cuz they test it at stock fan configuration. Maybe that's why it's not in the list XD.

    But you still have the pc o11 air and Lan cool one to test! Reviews for the lancool one digital asap plz!
    Reply
  • invisiblezombie
    A lot of cases aren't available in this part of the world and computer parts are priced at 50% or higher premium against US prices. Amongst those that were, I found Corsair Obsidian and Corsair Carbide cases generally good but overpriced. Personally I liked the Corsair Obsidian 750D most, but purchased what I consider the next best case and much better value for money - the Antec 1100 V2. Being the first desktop I assembled myself, the Antec 1100 made the job a lot easier.
    Reply
  • kep55
    Why do so many of the top cases have glass panels? Glass is a bit of a thermal insulator, add unnecessary weight, and serves no practical purpose in a PC case. If you want to see all your gear, don't bother putting it a case.
    Reply
  • fredfinks
    21359713 said:
    Lol. No thanks. Lian-Li for me

    I had the Lian Li A20. It was an expensive beast, and a damn good case, but i find Fractal Design's cases to be more practical, same build quality - if not better, and definitely quieter.

    The thin aluminium of the Lian Li was prone to vibration.
    Reply
  • fredfinks
    21360113 said:
    Why are front panel USB ports, power switches, activity lights, etc. placed on top of cases? If I interpret correctly a desktop computer indicates it is placed on your desktop. My last 3 or 4 cases had everything on top and I couldn't see them without standing up and the hard drive activity light was out of sight while I'm sitting in my normal position. I wish they would start putting front panel stuff on the front panel and not on top of the case.

    It's a legacy name thing from a time when your CRT monitor sat upon a PC case that was designed to be laid flat & sit on a desk. It then served as a distinction between laptops & other equipment.

    If you have your mid-tower case on your desk you are doing it wrong.
    Its noisier and it eats up valuable desk real estate. Its a big stupid box on a desk - F it off.

    'But how else can we look at the purty lights?!' they might ask. That's where it all went wrong.
    Reply