How to pick the best PC case for your needs in 2023


Shopping for a PC case is a little bit of a tough course of. Your coronary heart could inform you to go for the shiniest, RGB-filled monster of a case, otherwise you may be on the opposite finish of that spectrum and simply need a darkish field that doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Irrespective of the aesthetic, you’re not incorrect — it’s simply that there are numerous extra issues to contemplate, too.

Issues like type issue, cooling, and particular options all play an element once you’re choosing the best PC case in your construct. On this information, we’ll go over every part it is advisable know to make the suitable selection.

Issues to verify earlier than shopping for

The Hyte Y40 PC case sitting on a table.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

The entire means of constructing a brand new PC typically begins with the CPU and the GPU. No marvel — these two elements have the most important influence on the efficiency of your pc. You’ll comply with that up with a motherboard, after which delve into choosing coolers, SSDs, the ability provide … and on the very finish, you’ll begin eyeing a PC case that matches your funds and your fashion.

There’s nothing incorrect with following that order once you assemble your subsequent PC build, however it’s vital to do not forget that seems to be aren’t every part, particularly in a PC case. You may be shocked to learn how a lot can go incorrect once you attempt to match sure elements with out doing the mathematics beforehand.

Crucial query to ask your self earlier than you select a case is whether or not the motherboard goes to suit inside it. This implies deciding on a type issue, be it E-ATX, ATX, microATX, or mini-ITX. Even when the case helps the kind of motherboard you wish to purchase, double-check the precise measurements to not run into hassle.

You’ll additionally must be aware of the scale of your different elements. This contains the graphics card, the CPU fan, and the water-cooling resolution if that’s what you’re going for. Even the power supply may cause some hassle when you select a large mannequin and attempt to squeeze it right into a tiny case.

Under, we’ll go into larger element about all of the issues it is advisable know earlier than you store.

Type issue

Whether or not you begin with choosing the case after which select a motherboard that matches it or vice versa, the shape issue goes to be your important level of consideration. Do you want a full tower, a mid-tower, or a mini-ITX? How does that match up towards a few of the hottest motherboards? Let’s take a more in-depth look.

Full tower

A huge Cooler Master full tower PC case sits on a table.
Cooler Master

A full tower is the biggest sort of case, and once we say giant, we actually do imply huge. Many of those circumstances are over 20 inches tall and might weigh between 30 and 60 kilos, and that’s with out the elements. When you decide to a full tower, you higher have a number of area on (or round) your desk.

These circumstances are a few of the finest ones on the market, although. They’re roomy sufficient to suit graphics playing cards just like the RTX 4090 with their demanding power connectors, in addition to a customized loop cooling system. Mostly, a full tower will be capable to accommodate even the biggest E-ATX motherboards, though once more, be sure that to verify earlier than you really purchase one. Becoming an ATX board inside one in all these is just about a given, although.

We suggest utilizing all these circumstances for high-end fanatic builds because of the capacity to put in 360mm radiators and additional followers. There’ll even be area for extra growth slots. With that stated, most individuals are going to be simply superb with a mid-tower, and that’s the commonest case dimension.


a PC case with RGB lighting inside.
Syafiq Adnan / Shutterstock

You gained’t be shocked to listen to {that a} mid-tower PC is basically the identical factor as a full tower, simply scaled down. Most of them are somewhat underneath 20 inches tall, however they’re nonetheless sizeable circumstances that may match an ATX motherboard. Sure fashions may even accommodate an E-ATX, however after all, all of it is determined by the case.

Whereas smaller, a mid-tower is usually nonetheless giant sufficient to put in most closed loop (also referred to as All-In-One, or AIO) coolers. You’ll additionally see loads of room for varied storage drives and even multi-GPU setups, though that’s not likely a factor anymore.


A mini PC sitting in front of the PS5.
Jacob Roach / Digital Traits

Because the identify itself suggests, these small circumstances have been designed to suit mini-ITX motherboards. They’re nice when you’re constructing a small type issue PC — one thing like your personal model of Intel’s NUC.

These circumstances are nice in order for you one thing moveable and unobtrusive, however you would possibly run into issues with thermals when you load them up with a few of the newest {hardware}.

Evidently, not every part will even match inside such a case; overlook water cooling, and watch out when purchasing for a CPU fan. Pay additional consideration to the scale of the motherboard and the graphics card, full with all of the cables, as greater playing cards just like the RTX 4090 or RTX 4080 take as much as 4 slots, which makes buying a motherboard and matching case much more tough.


Corsair iCUE H100i AIO Cooler in a PC.
Corsair / Corsair

Thermals play a key function within the total efficiency of your pc, and retaining all of your elements good and funky is usually a little bit of a undertaking. You may sort out it from many angles, and every a type of angles is determined by your PC case in a technique or one other.

For one, you’ve got your conventional CPU fan, and that’s one factor it is advisable verify the measurements for earlier than you store. Sure coolers gained’t match each case, and as you progress right down to smaller type components, you’ll must be increasingly more cautious with this explicit part.

Subsequent comes water cooling in its varied iterations. Customized loop cooling is a no-go for a lot of circumstances, though it is going to slot in some mid-towers and most, if not all, full towers.

AIO coolers will match inside mid-towers, however the radiator dimension could pose an issue, so once you store, be sure that to confirm whether or not your case of selection can work with that particular radiator dimension. Many mid-towers can solely help radiators no bigger than 240mm, though you’ll discover fashions which can be superb with as much as 360mm.

Subsequent, the case could include some followers of its personal, and it’s by no means a nasty thought to have just a few additional. Simply what number of you’re right here often is determined by the scale of the case, however equally, the value performs an element right here too.

Most circumstances could have not less than one fan on the rear, however it’s optimum when you’ve got not less than two in complete. Newer circumstances supply as much as 4 followers, however that’s often at the price of the 5.25-inch storage/optical drive bay on the entrance of the case. The excellent news is that even when you purchase a funds case with just one fan, it’d include additional mounts which you could add followers to down the road; these are often low cost.

Drive bays

Samsung 980 Pro SSD being held in someone's hand.

Lately, many individuals gravitate towards the slim NVMe SSDs, which makes drive bays in a PC case lots much less vital than they was. Nonetheless, you would possibly nonetheless be utilizing a SATA HDD or SSD, and meaning they’ll want some storage bays to enter.

Most circumstances could have sufficient 2.5-inch and three.5-inch slots to work for normal shoppers, however when you’re somebody who wants a number of storage, that is one thing to contemplate. Your case may also have mounting factors for SSDs on the again of the motherboard tray.

Extra importantly, take into consideration the 5.25-inch bay on the entrance of the case. Simply 10 years in the past, just about each case had it; today, many circumstances don’t, similar to laptops not include a DVD drive. The reason being easy — that is the place the optical drive used to sit down, and since most builds now don’t embrace one, case designers depart it out. If a case has these fancy RGB followers everywhere in the entrance panel, it probably doesn’t help including an optical drive on the entrance.


Ports on a PC case.

Whereas all of the I/O ports in the back of your pc are a part of the motherboard, the connectivity on the entrance is often guided by the PC case. Relying on the fashion of your case, it’s possible you’ll or could not have loads of ports on the entrance. This contains issues like USB and USB-C ports, an audio jack, and card readers. The facility button is often someplace round right here too, and sometimes, RGB controls.

It’s good to pick circumstances with loads of USB ports, however don’t fear an excessive amount of in case your case doesn’t have an audio jack. It’s all the time higher to plug your headset into the motherboard as an alternative, which means in the back of the case.

Cable administration

The cable management in the back chamber of the CLX Scarab.
Matthew Connatser / Digital Traits

Relying in your case, managing the quite a few cables concerned in constructing a PC may be simpler or tougher to do.

Correct cable administration can enhance the airflow inside your case. Plus, when you decide a mannequin with a tempered glass facet panel — which is fairly widespread today — cable administration turns into much more vital, as a result of having all these completely different cables in the best way and protecting up your elements simply isn’t good.

Cable administration is why it’s good to learn the small print when shopping for a case, because the producer could generally inform you what to anticipate in that regard. Some circumstances have cut-outs within the motherboard tray, and people are nice for retaining it tidy and routing all of the cabling via the again.

You might also encounter cheaper circumstances with holes punched within the motherboard tray, however dearer choices could not simply route your cables via the rear, but in addition embrace helpful tie-off factors.

Type and RGB lighting

The Cougar Cratus PC case alongside a monitor and keyboard.

No shock right here — it’s vital to choose a PC case you really just like the look of. You may simply begin right here after which search for elements that swimsuit a specific case, too. A technique or one other, fashion performs an enormous half in purchasing for a case, because it’ll doubtless take up area in your room for a few years.

Gone are the times when PC circumstances have been simply easy packing containers. Lately, it’s all RGB galore, with particular person elements being geared up with configurable lighting, after which the circumstances themselves typically characteristic RGB followers, too. You may even add RGB bars to the case to gentle it up from the within.

Instances are most frequently both black or white, however you’ll additionally see different colours once in a while, comparable to this loopy yellow

. Many circumstances allow you to peek inside and have a look at the elements via a glass facet panel.

Outdoors of tiny dice PCs, the form of your case gained’t matter as a lot as the quantity of area you continue to have left over after putting in every part and the variety of followers that constantly hold the within of your PC cool. Nonetheless, remember that weirdly-shaped circumstances could have subpar airflow, so learn some opinions earlier than really shopping for a type of.

Selecting the correct PC case in your funds

Gaming PC on a desk.

We’ve gone over a lot of the vital factors to be aware of once you store, however it may be laborious to know what matches and doesn’t match inside sure budgets.

A PC case can price you something from $50 to $500, and it’s a type of elements (if it may be known as that) which can be simple to strive to save cash on. In any case, if it matches, it really works.

You may pair the costly Intel Core i9-13900K with a funds PC case and it’ll be superb, however it’s often higher to go for one thing higher in case your elements are all enthusiast-grade. It’s all in regards to the airflow and cable administration, each of which will probably be higher inside a roomier case with additional followers.

Under, we’ll present you some circumstances which can be price contemplating at every worth level. Understand that we even have a devoted information that takes you thru the entire best PC cases, so be sure that to test it out.

Underneath $100

Within the as much as $100 vary, you’ll often discover mid-tower circumstances which can be appropriate for ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards. There are some choices for small type issue PCs, comparable to this tiny

, however principally, it’s all customary circumstances in your common use.

A few of these cheaper circumstances look much more high-end than they are surely, and that’s all because of the rise of the RGB aesthetic. You may slap just a few low cost followers inside a funds case and it’ll look much more gamer-friendly.

Nonetheless, remember that the followers often solely characteristic a single pace and might not be as highly effective as they have a look at first look. The construct high quality may also be worse than in dearer fashions.

With that stated, there are many respectable choices to contemplate. The

is a well-liked selection coming in at slightly below $100. In case you don’t thoughts a plain black design, this

case can be a good possibility right here. Fractal Design’s Focus 2 comes with fancy RGB and prices simply

, so whereas it has simply two followers, it’s just about a steal.

Over $100

Opening up the funds somewhat bit extra will get you a greater case, but in addition a typically a lot wider choice. There are a number of worthwhile fashions that break the $100 restrict by a bit, however not by a lot, and in case your funds can stretch to it, it’s often name.

The Lian Li LanCool II is an excellent well-liked selection amongst RGB lovers, and it often prices round

. It solely has three ARGB 120mm followers on the entrance, nonetheless, so that you’ll want to purchase an additional fan to put in on the rear for optimum airflow. On the upside, it has lighting and coloration controls on the entrance, so that you don’t must dig deep to optimize the aesthetic.

On the opposite finish of the spectrum is the Corsair iCUE, which is a mid-tower ATX PC case that prices a fairly penny — simply over

. The cooling on this case is great, it’s simple on the eyes, and it has some good cable administration choices. Nonetheless, at that worth, we don’t suggest shopping for it outdoors of high-end builds.

Talking of high-end, when you’re shopping for a full tower case, Corsair additionally has the iCUE 7000X at

. Nonetheless, there are cheaper choices, just like the

, which do the job simply as effectively.

If the funds is of no concern and it is advisable match an E-ATX mobo, the Cooler Grasp

is insanely costly, but in addition stable sufficient to warrant the expense.

Don’t overlook to do the mathematics

The Alienware Aurora R13 gaming desktop on a desk next to a monitor.

Finally, the PC case that you just decide is of lesser consequence than the GPU, CPU, and even the motherboard. Nonetheless, don’t let your PC case be an afterthought. Strive your finest to choose a case that matches not simply your explicit style, but in addition the aim and the general price of your construct.

All dimension issues apart, it’s often higher to place high-end elements inside high-end circumstances that may hold the temperatures at bay somewhat higher. Even a strong processor or graphics card will wrestle when you simply barely handle to stuff them inside a small case and depart them to fend for themselves with restricted cooling. Throttling, overheating, and even critical crashes could occur at that time.

In fact, there’s additionally the opposite facet of the coin, which is that you just don’t want to overpay in your case. You’ll typically find yourself paying extra for greater manufacturers, and the extra gamer-like the case seems to be, the dearer it’s going to be. In case you’re on a decent funds, then let the scale and the cooling be your two important guides. There are nice-looking circumstances at each worth level, and generally, you simply must dig somewhat deeper.

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