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What are the best gaming PC cases?

What are the best gaming PC cases?

For this instalment of our PC hardware guides, we’ve decided to review the five best PC cases for gamers, including all you sim racers!

We’ve ranked these products based on different categories, and we’ve hand-picked five fantastic models to help you build the ultimate gaming rig. If you’d like to see more info on how to build a complete gaming PC, be sure to check out our comprehensive PC building and buyers guide, where we get into the nitty-gritty of PC building and show you all the components you’ll need as well as how they all fit together.

Corsair’s OBSIDIAN 1000D – our top pick for high-end PC gaming

But for today’s post, we’re only going to be focusing on the best high-end cases, and we’ll focus on what features you should look out for when you decide it’s time to buy a new PC case.

Our best gaming PC case picks:

  1. Best for airflow: Cooler Master H500P Mesh
  2. Best silent case: Fractal Design Define R5
  3. Best mini ITX case: NZXT H200
  4. Best mid tower case: Fractal Design Meshify C
  5. Best high-end case: Corsair Obsidian 1000D

The last 12 months have marked a significant turning point for case manufacturing and design, where we’ve finally gotten into territory where there’s a lot of cases now available on the market that have either potential for very high performance thermally, or ship with a good configuration stock that allows for high throttle performance. This means that we now see a reasonably diverse case market where we’ve gotten away from just slapping glass on all the sides and putting RGB LEDs in it and calling it a day.

With so many exceptional cases to look at, we hope this roundup will help you figure out what to buy.

What PC case size do you need?

First, I want to talk about a few things that you should look at before buying a new case with the first major consideration being size. Before anything else you should decide what case size you need. As you may (or may not) know there are three primary case sizes; Full Tower, Mid Tower, and Mini ITX.

PC case sizes explained (source)

Mid Tower and Full Tower cases can fit standard ATX motherboards, and they can also accommodate smaller micro ATX motherboards also known as mATX.

Full tower cases are massive, and I’d recommend these if you plan on loading up your rig with extensive water cooling, three and four-way graphics card setups, or storage galore. On the other hand, Mini ITX cases are built for diminutive Mini ITX motherboards.

Price

After you decide how big of a PC case you need, you should figure out your budget next. There are plenty of excellent PC cases on the market right now, and I would recommend steering clear of the absolute cheapest of the cheap because they’re not very durable and they don’t have some extra features that might help you with your overall build.

However, that doesn’t mean to say I would only indorse ultra-expensive ones; you have to figure out your budget and pick the one that fits you best.

Additional features

Lastly, before we get to our top five cases, I want to talk about some other features you should look at before buying a PC case. Generally speaking, the more advanced features utilized in a case, the more expensive it will be.

Some of the more critical features to look out for that can significantly help or improve your PC building process include integrated lighting, cable management, mounting points, removable motherboard trays, dust filters, adequate GPU and CPU clearance, and support for water cooling.

Finding the balance between size, budget, and features will help you on your way to deciding which is the right case for you. So, let’s get to it and check our top five PC case recommendations.

Cooler Master H500P Mesh – Best airflow

At number five is the Cooler Master H500P Mesh. When it comes to PC cases, Cooler Master needs no introduction. Since 1992 the company has done a great job and has manufactured plenty of great PC cases. This model is one of their best to date and comes with a superb design which is very popular among PC enthusiasts. On the front of the case, it has mesh to ensure optimal airflow, along with two 200mm RGB fans, and there’s a single 140mm non-RGB fan at the rear.

MasterCase H500P Mesh ARGB
MasterCase H500P Mesh ARGB

The chassis has support for up to 360mm radiators at the top and the front, which is marvellous. Moreover, this drive cage has two caddies, and two 2.5″ SATA brackets are also provided. On the back of this case, there’s a large cut out on the left side for the motherboard’s IO shield, and there’s mounting for 120 or 140mm fans with ample height adjustment on the right side.

Furthermore, four feet are cut to shape on the bottom to match the overall design symmetry, which is a nice touch. On the top of the front side, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, two audio jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, a reset button, an LED indicator, and a power button.

Overall, it looks like a premium grade piece of kit, and the chassis features 7+2 PCIe slots. You should know that there’s no 5.25″ drive support, but this chassis can support up to four 2.5″ SATA drives and two 3.5″ SATA drives in the storage department. You can easily mount the graphics card in the vertical layout, though it sits much closer to the tempered glass side panel in this configuration. To sum up, this case offers almost everything a gamer could need to build a high-end PC.

Fractal Design Define R5 – Best silent case

Moving on and at number four on our list, we have another brilliant PC case; the Fractal Design Define R5. This one is packed with intelligently designed features delivering a silent case with powerful and expansive airflow. It has liquid cooling support, and it reaches the highest level of silent computing through the module fan vent covers and the nicely tuned dynamic series fans. For sim racers, or indeed any gamers, less noise is a huge plus point as it’s one less distraction and will help your concentration levels when playing.

Fractal Design R5 pc case
Fractal Design R5

The case looks and feels refined, and there’s plenty of other features that a high-end gaming PC case should have. When it comes to design, this one seems very simple and plain, and depending on your tastes that could be a pro or a con. It’s a mid-tower case made of steel and plastic, and it weighs around 11kg.

Fractal Design R5 - front
Fractal Design R5 – front

The front side of this case comes across as quite edgy with sharp corners and straight lines. You’ll find the redesigned dust filter at the bottom of the front, and behind the dust filter, there’s a 140mm fan.

Fan mounted at rear

I should also mention that there are mounting holes for a 120mm variant which is great because it gives you a certain amount of flexibility. The interior of the Fractal Design Define R5 looks very traditional, and everything is made of metal. It’s also a versatile case because you can remove just about every piece, while the installation process for the motherboard and other significant components is done by traditional means.

If you’re interested in one of the best silent PC cases available to buy now you should check out the Fractal Design Define R5 which comes at a reasonable price considering all of its features and materials.

NZXT H200 – Best mini ITX case

At number three on our list is the NZXT H200, a premium Mini ITX PC case with almost every feature that a high-end PC case should have. It offers excellent performance, a stunning design, and included RGB and fan control, along with an attractive price to wrap up the package. This mini case is made of tempered glass and steel, and it comes available in matte black, black, red/black, blue/black, and white colour schemes.

NZXT H200 White
NZXT H200 White

Furthermore, this case has two USB 2.0 ports, standard audio jacks, and the power button on top. There’s a fan mount that can house 120mm fans and it supports PS2 form factor power supplies and an SFX form factor adapter for ITX builders who want to utilize a smaller format for their rigs.

Front view with ample airflow capacity

On the front, it has removable air filters, and it also features a dedicated top air intake system that comes with its own air filters. You should be aware that you can’t remove the top air filter for cleaning unless you remove the fan; however, there’s space for a removable radiator that you can install on the front.

H200 side view

The cable management process should be straightforward on this one because there’s a lot of clearance behind the motherboard tray. If that’s not enough, there’re specific channels for cable management so you can secure excess cables with ease. The NZXT H200 is undoubtedly one of the best Mini ITX cases you can buy thanks to the build quality, excellent features, and fantastic performance.

Fractal Design Meshify C – Best mid tower case

Coming in at number two is the Fractal Design Meshify C, one of the best Mid Tower cases money can buy. This case has a very aesthetically pleasing design and has plenty of options when it comes to ports. In terms of design, it’s available with either metal or tinted tempered glass side walls, and overall, the look is sleek and elegant.

Fractal Design Meshify C
Fractal Design Meshify C

The chassis and structure of the Meshify C are made primarily of solid steel components and has a few parts made of ABS plastic, meaning it’s a well-built case that can last you for years without a problem. The only bit of coloured LED to see is the backlit power button which glows blue, while everything else is black, which in my opinion is very stylish.

Furthermore, the front IO panel is part of the front bezel, and it includes the reset button, HD audio jacks, the power button, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. If you opt for the tempered glass edition, the chassis’s left side will be the window into the interior. On both the standard and tempered glass variants, the case’s right-hand side has little to see with an expansive steel plate covering the whole flank.

Performance-wise, this case is compatible with Mini ITX, mATX, and ATX form factors that features a highly optimized open-air interior design offering room for the most popular component setups. Regarding its size, the Meshify C has a compact footprint with the high-end component support of larger towers, and with seven fan mounts and multi-radiator liquid cooling capabilities, it has the cooling capacity to match.

Overall, it’s a very classy looking PC case with a superior design and delivers excellent performance. To conclude, I’d say that if you’re looking for a great value case that has plenty of great features the Fractal Design Meshify C could be the one for you.

Corsair Obsidian 1000D – Best high-end case

Our top pick and coming in at number one is the Corsair Obsidian 1000D. This is a full-size tower is an absolute beast with an ultra-premium look and feel while delivering outstanding performance.

It can house two power supplies, two motherboards, and complete ATX and Mini ITX systems concurrently, which means it can hold two full PCs in one case!

However, the size is not the only thing to get excited about as this goliath has a very stylish exterior and uses brushed aluminium and fully smoked tempered glass panels that make this one look first-class. Being a Full Tower, it weighs around 30kg, and it supports eight ports up front, while the back panel has seven expansion slots for PCIe.

There’s also vertical GPU mounting space, which is a nice touch, and all-in-all it can support up to eleven drives; five in 3.5″ format and six in 2.5″ format. It has two USB 3.1 type C ports, four USB 3.0, two 3.5mm jacks, a reset button, and a power button. With its astonishing design, great connectivity options, and plenty more great features the Corsair Obsidian 1000D is one of the best PC cases you can buy today.