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

Included in this guide:

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

It's easy to overlook the task of choosing the best PC case for your next build, or push the decision off until the very end of the part-picking process. When building a PC, you might prioritize choosing one of the best CPUs for gaming 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 mostly just a box to put your components in.

But the truth couldn’t be further from that. Getting the best PC case for your 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, butt-kicking workstation with endless expansion possibilities.

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

Recent Case News 

Things have been busy in the PC case world of late, especially in the Mini-ITX space. Recently Teenage Engineering released an orange flat-pack Computer-1 case that, while intriguing, only supports GPUs a few hairs over 7 inches long. Hyte, a new brand owned by iBuyPower, introduced the Revolt 3 chassis that left us quite impressed. Cooler Master’s NR200P Max blew stunned us with its highly complete package that includes a case, 850W PSU and 280mm AIO. But, Lian Li’s Q58 is the ITX chassis that left us most impressed, packing a proper system into a tiny case that balances airflow, looks, and size better than any other -- and it’s available starting at just $130. 

Meanwhile, it hasn’t been quiet in the ATX space either. It's again Lian Li that delivers a winner: The O11 Air Mini. Although it is in fact bigger than the original O11D Mini, it swaps the glass front for a mesh panel, throws in some fans, and keeps nearly the same price. With handsome looks, it’s a case to seriously consider for your next mid-sized build. Good luck finding it in the US though, as it's been out of stock for weeks. Hopefully that changes before the holidays are here.

NZXT also revealed its H510 Flow, updating the timeless classic with a mesh front. Although it’s a good case, current pandemic and market conditions have pushed its price a little too high. 

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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Thoughtful Interior and cable management+Ships with 3 quality fans+Excellent thermal performance and easy filter access
Reasons to avoid
-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 O11 Air Mini (Image credit: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

2. Lian Li O11 Air Mini

Best Compact ATX Case

Specifications
Type: ATX Case
Motherboard Support: ATX
Card Length Supported: 362mm (14.6 inches)
Storage Support: (4) 3.5” (2) 2.5”
Included Fans: 2x 140mm PWM, 1x 120mm PWM
Reasons to buy
+Improved cooling and 3 PWM fans+Supports ATX boards and PSUs+Affordable at $110
Reasons to avoid
- Ditches aluminum panels for steel-No longer as ITX-focused-Ugly bottom air filter implementation remains

Lian Li’s PC-O11 Dynamic has been a staple, go-to PC case for pretty builds in recent years, but its days might be numbered. The O11D Mini was inspired by its design, but had a few issues. But now, the O11 Air Mini comes in as a brilliant alternative. 

Priced at just $110, you get a lot for your money with this case, including three PWM fans, bits of pretty aluminum, a glass panel, handsome looks, plentiful IO, a brilliant internal design and full ATX compatibility. 

The chassis features an unusual side-by-side chambered design, but building in it is a breeze and its performance is well up to snuff by modern standards. With this many features, great handsome styling, and such value for money, it’s a case that easily earns its place on this list. 

Read: Lian Li O11 Air Mini Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

3. Fractal Design Meshify 2

Best Case for High-End Rigs and Workstations

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Interior brilliance+Excellent cooling performance+Easy panel and dust filter removal
Reasons to avoid
-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

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+So much RGB+Includes well-featured standalone D-RGB controller+Chart-leading thermal performance+Excellent case for simple ATX systems+Just $66
Reasons to avoid
-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: Niels Broekhuijsen, Tom's Hardware)

5. Lian Li Q58

Best Mini-ITX Case

Specifications
Type: ITX Case
Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX
Card Length Supported: 320mm (12.6 inches)
Storage Support: (1) 3.5” (3) 2.5”
Included Fans: None
Reasons to buy
+Tidy, chic looks+Great thermals+Easy to build in+Flexible build options+Great finish quality+Affordable at just $130
Reasons to avoid
-Cable management is a bit tough-PCIe riser card needs additional support

Lian Li hasn’t been quiet about its upcoming case launches, but when it did finally launch the Q58, it blew us away. This is a 14.3 liter Mini-ITX case that costs just $130 in its base variant, and it packs great looks, excellent cooling potential, and a flexible internal design.

The basic frame is made from steel, and each side houses a half-glass, half -perforated steel. The front face and the top plate are made from fancier, prettier aluminum, giving the case a very premium feel overall. The GPU can draw fresh air straight from the side, but you can still see its pretty RGB through the glass, and you can squeeze a 280mm radiator into the case’s roof. 

But the case can also be reconfigured to sacrifice some AIO and storage options in favor of fitting an ATX power supply, which is a great way of achieving some cost savings in combination with opting for the plain PCIe 3.0 riser cable. Throw another $30 in, and you can also get a version of this case with a PCIe 4.0 riser cable, ready for RTX 3000 and RX 6000 (and future) graphics cards. There are few things not to like about the Q58.

Read: Lian Li Q58 Review 

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

6. Phanteks Evolv Shift 2

Best Mini-ITX Case Value

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Beautiful glass & aluminum paneling+Small footprint+Straightforward interior layout+Fits big GPUs
Reasons to avoid
-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)

7. Corsair Obsidian Series 4000X RGB

Best Premium RGB ATX Gaming Case

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+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
Reasons to avoid
-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)

8. Fractal Design Define 7

Best Case for Quiet High-End Rigs and Workstations

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Tempered-glass side panel+Filtration system+Good thermal performance+Low noise+Water cooling support+USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C+Versatility
Reasons to avoid
-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)

9. Antec P82 Silent

Best Budget Silent ATX Case

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Includes 3 quality fans and fan controller+Excellent acoustic and good cooling performance
Reasons to avoid
-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

10. be quiet! Dark Base 700

Best XL/EATX Case

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Good thermal performance+Great looking chassis+Embedded lighting+Tempered-glass side panel+Low noise+Excellent filtration system
Reasons to avoid
-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)

11. Phanteks Enthoo Pro II

Best Dual-System Case

Specifications
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
Reasons to buy
+Excellent thermal performance and cable management+Flexible interior and lavish front I/O+Affordable for its size and features
Reasons to avoid
-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 reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • 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