A computer case is not just a box to put all your PC components in, it helps you with the management of all the components and cables, it ensures that your rig has the adequate cooling to prevent overheating, all while also giving your rig an aesthetic look.
When investing in a good computer case, don’t only look for one that will perfectly fit the current PC that you’re building. It’s better to look for a case that will give you the flexibility to expand your build in the future.
We cover in our list the best computer cases for the different sizes of rigs.
Top 5 Best Computer Cases Comparison Chart
Our Top Picks
The Corsair Obsidian is a super tower that is 27.3 inches tall. It is compatible with Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, and even E-ATX motherboards.
This case has a dual system layout which means it can simultaneously host two systems with an E-ATX and a Mini-ITX.
It can house up to 18 fans and has room for 4 radiators with telescoping fan/radiator trays for easy installation.
The Obsidian 1000D features the Corsair Commander Pro controller for the fans and lighting. It has smoked tempered glass side and an RGB lit front panel with support for two USB 3.1 Gen-2 Type-C ports.
The Obsidian series also offers the 750D full-tower option as well as the 500D mid-tower case.
The Cooler Master Cosmos is a high-end full-tower case with great modularity features. It supports motherboards with form factors from Mini-ITX up to E-ATX. The cutouts and mounts of the case make it possible to put the motherboard and components in different orientations.
It has a sleek design with an aluminum side panel and dual-curved tempered glass and RGB lighting. It supports 2 3.5 inches bays and 2 2.5 inches bays, one for the RGB controller. It also has a USB 3.1 Gen-2 Type-C port.
The Fractal Design is a mid-tower case with a unique design. Its front panel is a mesh of black diamond shapes and the side panel is tempered glass with a distinctive tint.
It supports ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards. The available drive bays are 2 3.5 inches and 3 dedicated 2.5 inches.
This case offers great cooling performance with a cooling system comprising of 7 fan mounts with two of the fans pre-installed. It also includes dust filters for the bottom fan and the PSU.
The NZXT H200i is a mini-tower that supports Mini-ITX form factor. It has an all-steel construction with a tempered glass panel.
It has a CAM controlled smart device for the fans and lighting, and it comes with two pre-installed fans and an RGB LED strip.
This case supports up to 4 four fans and is water cooling ready with space for radiators. It has a 3.5 inches bay and three 2.5 inches bays. It also provides 2 USB 3.1 Gen-1 ports.
The Dark Base Pro is a full-tower with support for Mini-ITX up to E-ATX. It’s a highly modular case that can fit all kinds of motherboards in normal and inverted layout, and the tray could be adjusted to three different heights.
It also includes modular HDD slots. It has room for up to five HDD and ten SSD. The front panel has USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C ports and it offers a Qi wireless charger for smartphone devices.
The case comes with three PWM fans with totally silent operation. It can hold up to 8 fans over a dual-rail controller and can be switched between silent and performance modes. RGB LED lights are also pre-installed.
Things to Consider When Choosing a PC Case
With all the available options for computer cases, trying to find a suitable one for your rig could get a little complicated. You must take into account the amount of space you have, the different components of your PC, their sizes and supported headers, and possibly the ability to expand or upgrade your rig later in the future.
To make things easier and clearer, we cover the most important factors to consider before buying your case.
Motherboards come in different form factors, the most popular being the ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. The standard ATX board has a size of 12×9.6 inches, the Micro-ATX is 9.6×9.6 inches, and the Mini-ITX is 6.7×6.7 inches. Other less common boards of smaller sizes are the Mini-ATX, Nano-ITX, and Pico-ITX.
The ATX form factor is the most common option for hardcore users as it offers lots of expansion and PCI slots and RAM slots. The Micro-ATX provides fewer PCI and RAM slots, while the smaller Mini-ITX has only a single PCI Express slot and a single standard PCI slot with only 2 RAM slots.
You should be aware of the form factor of your motherboard so that you can choose a chassis that is compatible with it. Most larger size cases support smaller motherboards, but it’s unwise to get a large case if you have a small motherboard, unless you need the extra space for other components like the drive bays, the cooling, or the graphics card.
The size of the PC case is mainly dependant on the form factor of your motherboard that we already discussed. The sizes of computer cases are usually categorized as follows:
Other than motherboards’ compatibility, the case’s size dictates the amount of space available for the cooling system and the number of GPU and drive bays they can host. Mini-tower cases usually have one or two bays and only one GPU space, Mid-towers can fit up to two GPUs and between two to four drive bays, while Full-towers can support between five to ten external bays and multi-GPU configuration.
Mini-towers are good if you’re building a small PC with ITX and little extra expansion. Mid-towers are suitable for Micro-ATX with several expansions. Go with a full-tower for the ATX if you’re gonna use the expansions to the max with multi-GPU or multi-drive RAID configurations.
Don’t waste a lot of money on a large size case if you can fit all that you need in a small size one and if you’re not planning to expand your rig in the future.
The two types of cooling systems used in computer cases are air cooling and liquid cooling. With larger size cases, you have more space to mount your cooling system and heat doesn’t build up as fast as it does in smaller cases.
For air cooling, cases usually come with some number of fans already installed.
Additional fan mounts are also available in order to add more fans to your case. They have distinct sizes, the most popular being 120mm, and 140mm. Other options are 80mm, 92mm, 200mm, and 230mm.
Depending on the size of your build, you should a suitable number of fans that will produce enough airflow to dissipate the heat and prevent your components from heating to a damaging degree. Common configurations include a fan for intake to draw in cool air and the other fans for the exhaust to push out the hot air. Some cases also include air filters on the front face of the fan mount to prevent dust from accumulating inside the case.
Make sure to get a case that has enough mounts of the right size to house the fans you will be using.
Liquid cooling is more complicated and more expensive than air cooling, so unless you really need it for a high-end PC or overclocked processors that reach high temperatures, it’s better to stick to air cooling.
Liquid cooling uses a pump, a radiator, a fan, and a reservoir. You need to make sure to buy a case that provides appropriate mounting options for your water cooling equipment. Some cases have a cutaway for the cooler for easy mounting, while others don’t have enough space to house it so they provide passthrough ports to route the water hoses and have some components externally.
Having the proper cooling system for your case will maintain the high performance of your components and considerably extend their lifetime. Also, take into account the level of noise caused by it as air cooling is noisier due to all the fans.
Graphics Card and Expansion Slots
One important thing to check is the GPU clearance. Make sure that the length of your graphics card fits into the designated space in your case. In some cases, the GPU clearance could be extended due to the removable parts in the case. Take care to accommodate the power connectors of the graphics card as they will require extra space. Also, the cooling for the card takes up an additional slot.
The expansion slots are usually found at the back of the case and they match the form factor of the supported motherboard, so take into consideration the number of slots you need and how many PCI expansion cards like sound cards and video cards you will install in order to match the motherboard with the case accordingly.
Drive bays are used to house your drives and they come in three different sizes: 5.25 inches for optical drives like CD/DVD drives or Blu-ray drives, 2.5 inches for SSDs (solid-state drives), and 3.5 inches for standard hard drives.
The 5.25 inches bays are starting to disappear from most cases as optical drives are nearly extinct now. All cases include the 3.5 inches bays that will contain your storage drives. Some chassis have dedicated 2.5 inches bays for the SSDs that could be fitted in different parts of the case due to their small size, while others support the smaller size drives to be put in the 3.5 inches bays.
These bays are also sometimes used to host additional features on the front panel of the case like fan controllers or temperature readouts.
Drive sleds are included with some cases, which are metal or plastic frames that allow the drives to be easily slid in and out of the bays.
The number of drive bays you need depends on how much storage and subsequently drives are required, which will affect the size of your chassis to be able to host as much as needed. Consider having extra bays to be able to expand your drives with ease later on.
Front Panel Ports
The I/O ports of the front panel are typically USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, headphone and mic jacks, and power and reset buttons.
The newer cases also provide support for USB 3.1 Type-C ports.
You need to make sure that your motherboard has the appropriate headers for the ports available in your case.
Otherwise, you might need adapters to make things work.
In addition to the nice look, good cable management protects the cables from being twisted and damaged, and it’s also better for the airflow.
Look for cases that provide good options to help you manage your cables like cutaways in the motherboard tray, holes, and clearances behind the panels to easily route the cables. Some cases also come with Velcro restraints and niches to have better control over excess cable.
If you’re going to build a high-end hardcore rig, the Corsair Obsidian 1000D is the super tower you need, the only problem being its high cost.
For the best full-tower case, you should consider the Cooler Master Cosmos while the Fractal Design case is a great mid-tower option.
The NZXT H200i is the best mini-tower for small PC systems.