5 Best Open-Air PC Cases For Your Dream Build
When it comes to putting together a new Gaming PC, there are a lot of components to pay attention to. In the midst of all this, it’s easy to forget about one component when you are worrying about saving up for something else. With all that said, never underestimate the importance of a great case for your rig. If you are an enthusiast builder, this is something worth paying even more attention to.
A great PC case can provide incredible airflow, and even enhance the overall look and aesthetics of a system. Nothing does this better than an Open-Air PC case. As the name implies, these cases give you a clear view of all components, and the case is open from all sides. It’s all about how one utilizes the uniqueness of these cases, as they can take your rig to the next level.
Open-air cases are a good option for experienced builders. They are also the best options for both air cooling and even a custom watercooling loop. But some novices are already worried about leaving their side panel open, so is an open-air case a safe option?
The answer depends on how enthusiastic you are about making your rig look unique. An open-air case will require more attention, but it definitely pays off in the end. Enough talk, let’s have a look at the best open-air PC cases.
1. Thermaltake Core P5 Open-Air Gaming Case
- Premium fit and finish
- Minimal and Sleek aesthetic
- Included VESA mount
- Great for watercooling
- Very few cable routing holes
Form Factor: Full Tower/ATX | Fan mounts: 4 | Storage Expansion Bays: 4 | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 12.2kg
The Thermaltake Core P5 TG is by far the most ambitious take on an open-air case. It is the perfect blend of premium design, well thought out layout, and customization. This is an enthusiast builder’s dream come true. Coincidentally, it’s also one of the best cases on the market for building a full custom loop. All of that thanks to the genius design.
Assembling an open-air PC case isn’t easy, but Thermaltake tried to alleviate that pain. The main chassis is the first thing you’ll see after opening the box. Surrounding it are all the mountable trays and accessories. Brackets for the PSU and expansion slots, mounting gear for a custom loop, and even a PCIe ribbon cable are all included.
A VESA mount is included at the back, which is great for mounting it on the wall. You can also use the sturdy feet included in the box if you aren’t feeling that ambitious. The motherboard tray is quite standard, and it is very similar to a regular case. However, you can add in a vertical PCIe bracket for the GPU, or even flip the whole motherboard to 90 degrees.
On the outside, one side is completely solid and has no ports. The ports, power button, audio jack, and a Thermaltake logo are all located on the right side. The hard drive and SSDs trays are located at the back. A hard drive cage is also included. You can also install a 480mm radiator.
Overall this is an excellent case. It can benefit from a few more cable routing holes, but that’s not much to complain about.
2. Cougar Conquer ATX Gaming Case
- Extremely eye-catching
- Sturdy build quality
- Watercooling support
- Lots of customization
- Definitely not for everyone
Form Factor: Mid Tower/ATX | Fan mounts: 5 | Storage Expansion Bays: 7 | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 14kg
This is a case that immediately catches the eye of anyone who sees it. Arguably, this is the flashiest looking case on this list. Nothing screams standing out quite like the Cougar Conquer Gaming case. This is one of those cases that you’ll either love or hate. So, if you love the design already, let’s see what else this case has to offer.
For a case this expensive, build quality should be exceptional. Fortunately, the Cougar Conquer lives up to this expectation. Each side has quite thick and heavy tempered glass. The aluminum bars stand out from the central frame, which is also entirely aluminum. It is important to keep in mind that the case will be unassembled when you get it. So you’ll have to put it together on your own.
The bottom feet are quite wide and provide some form of stability. When it is completely assembled, there is little to no wobble. Knocking it over is not an easy feat either. The look and aesthetics are subjective. If you’re a fan of the angled design and sharp metal, this will immediately please you. The top panel has a hinge, which is quite unique. Unscrew it and you can lift it up.
You can mount a 360mm radiator at the top or a 240mm at the front. Although, if you are thinking of watercooling in any form, be sure to plan your loop ahead of time. The case isn’t perfect as it’s hard to put together and there is a chance it could get damaged in shipping. Apart from that, this is one of the most eye-catching cases ever made.
3. Streacom ST-BC1 Open Benchtable
For Hardware Enthusiasts
- Ideal for reviewers
- Rigid industrial design
- Extremely Versatile
- Prone to dust collection
- Not practical for the average person
Form Factor: Test-Bench/ATX | Fan mounts: 2 (Included radiator brackets) | Storage Expansion Bays: 2 | I/O Ports: N/A | Weight: 1. 82kg
We’re switching things up a bit with our third case on this list. While technically it is a test bench more than a case, it is worth keeping an eye out for. There are plenty of enthusiasts out there who swap components out a lot. For those people, an open-air test bench can be a very viable option. They are technically open-air cases, but with more room for modifications.
The Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable is the best option out there. The BC1 is vastly different from most open-air cases. It arrives in a slim metal cardboard box. It uses a single piece of anodized aluminum for the construction. There is something about the industrial look that is aesthetically pleasing.
It also happens to be quite portable, which is helpful for modders and reviewers on the move. Building on this test bench is actually quite easy. You’ll have to attach the feet first, but that’s as simple as screwing them into the sides. Motherboard standoffs are included, and just about any motherboard will work.
The CPU backplate can be easily accessed, as the motherboard will sit slightly above the main chassis. This is a clever design, no doubt. The PSU attaches to the bottom right, and you will need three screws to attach it securely. Your hard drives and SSDs attach vertically to the left side of the test bench. Cables are easy to manage, as you can tuck them neatly at the bottom.
Unfortunately, there are obvious downsides here. With a completely open system like this, the components are prone to collect dust. Apart from that, the average person might not benefit much from this case.
4. Thermaltake Core P1 Tempered Glass Edition
- Competitive pricing
- Solid construction
- Watercooling support
- Poor quality riser cable
- Diffiicult to build in for beginners
Form Factor: Mid-tower/Mini ITX | Fan mounts: 2 | Storage Expansion Bays: 3 | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3. 0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 9.5kg
Think of the Thermaltake Core P1 as the younger brother of the Core P5. It is the Mini-ITX variant of the Core P5 and shares mostly the same design language. Of course, some sacrifices are necessary to make a smaller version. Fortunately enough, it retains most of the redeemable qualities of a bigger case, with a few minor drawbacks.
As I just mentioned, the Core P1 still utilizes the same minimal and unique design from the Core P series lineup. It is an open-air case with sturdy metal construction. The main aluminum chassis feels rigid, and you’ll feel confident when building inside of it.
Speaking of which, building in this chassis is a bit tougher due to the smaller size. However, if you’ve ever built in an ITX case before, you’ll do fine. Just remember that this was made for modders, not for an inexperienced builder. There is enough space to work around along with great cable management routes. You can even house a full custom water-cooled loop, which isn’t always easy in an ITX case.
However, there are a few downsides that might hold you back. The motherboard spacers screws are a bit wobbly and don’t instill a lot of confidence. Also, certain radiators can be difficult to mount as the space for the rad is not that wide. The included riser cable for the GPU isn’t that great either. With all that said, it’s not a bad case for the price and definitely stands out in that category.
5. InWin D Frame Mini
The Ultimate Showpiece
- Stands out from the crowd
- Lots of versatility
- Separate PSU shroud
- Difficult cable management
- Not practical
- Very Expensive
Form Factor: Mid-tower/Mini-ITX | Fan mounts: 2 | Storage Expansion Bays: 5 | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3. 0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 7.22kg
A lot of expensive cases on the market can end up looking extremely similar. Most of them are large boxes of metal with a tempered glass side panel on the side. While this trend is minimal and sleek, it’s hard to make your rig stand out when compared with thousands of others out there. If you are the sort of person who cares about that, have a look at the InWin D Frame Mini.
The D Frame Mini is unlike anything we’ve seen before, and the same is probably true for most people. This completely open-air chassis uses “motorcycle tubes” for the construction. The octagon shape is supported by rigid metal tubes, which gives the case its own separate identity. If we didn’t tell you it was a PC case and showed it to you completely empty, you’d have a hard time guessing what it is.
Depending on how you set it down, the motherboard can either be placed horizontally or vertically. To be completely honest, placing it down so the motherboard is flipped looks more natural. The GPU can also be mounted vertically this way. The power supply is behind that in a separate compartment, and a 240mm radiator can go at the bottom.
The backside is completely open, hence cable management will be quite the chore. The case is also quite massive, despite the “Mini” in the name. It also happens to be extremely expensive, which is expected since this is more of a showcase chassis. The InWin D Frame Mini is not practical, but it does its job of standing out, at the sacrifice of your wallet.
11 Best Airflow PC Cases For Massive Airflow
COUGAR Mesh-G Powerful Airflow with Stunning ARGB…
Fractal Design Meshify C — Compact Mid Tower…
Cooler Master MasterCase H500M ARGB Airflow ATX. ..
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COUGAR Mesh-G Powerful Airflow with Stunning ARGB…
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Fractal Design Meshify C — Compact Mid Tower…
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Cooler Master MasterCase H500M ARGB Airflow ATX…
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PC building is not just about assembling all the parts and going straight into your game. It is how you decide its functionality. PC heating is among the major issues that lead to lower performance and decreases PC parts’ lifespan.
Airflow has been the issue in cases since 2017 when we saw a series of different cases with blocked airflow from the front but now as the companies started listening, we have dozens of cases with the finest airflow without lacking the aesthetics.
After checking out more than 50 top PC cases, I have listed around a dozen cases that excel in airflow and will keep the performance to your expectations. On top of that, each of these comes with great components compatibility and a neat cable management system.
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Important: The availability of the cases and their pricing fluctuate on a daily basis. We do not control them and some of the cases listed here might not be available at the time you are reading this post.
Best PC Cases For Airflow
Rosewill Gaming Challenger S
ROSEWILL ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case,…
- Classic and Professional Design: ROSEWILL…
- All-Around Airflow: With 2x front blue LED 120mm…
- Spacious Internal: The ATX case pre-installs 2x…
- Hassle-free Installation: The ATX mid tower case. ..
The minimum and the best budget case I can recommend is the Rosewill Challenger S. It’s an awesome case for airflow despite being cheaper than most of the airflow cases. Well, it’s cheap because of its construction. The material used in this case is neither of that good quality nor it’s poorly made. It’s just intermediate which is justified for its price.
At its side panel, it has ventilation through honeycomb mesh on which you can install 2x 120mm fans for even more airflow. This case doesn’t have any transparent window panel to make it better in terms of cooling. The case comes with 2x 120mm pre-installed BLUE LED fans at the front and 1x 120mm pre-installed Non-LED fan at the rear.
In total, this case can have up to 7x 120mm fans that will create so much airflow in the case that it will never heat up in any circumstance.
COUGAR Mesh-G Powerful Airflow with Stunning ARGB…
- One Window to View Them All: MX330-G Air features. ..
- Massive Expandability: Seven PCI slots and support…
- Strong Cooling: Want to cool all those powerful…
- Minimalist Beauty: The cover for the PSU and the…
While most of the airflow cases with the latest trend of full-length PSU shroud and LED fans are expensive, Cougar has a good option for those who don’t want to spend more than $60 and want all those features. The MX330-G is a well-designed mid-tower chassis that is equipped with everything you would want now.
For aesthetics, you will have side tempered glass panels secured with four screws and along with that, you will get 3x 120mm blue LED fans pre-installed: One at the rear and two at the front. The case is highly ventilated from the front and uses honeycomb mesh to allow a lot of air for intake.
The top of the case too has good ventilation and provides dust-free operation with the help of a dust filter. You can install 2x 120mm more fans at the top for proper airflow which is highly recommended and you can also swap up the front fans for a radiator.
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DeepCool TX Mid Tower TESSERACT SW
DeepCool TX Mid Tower Tesseract SW
- Case Type: ATX Mid Tower
- Material: SPCC + Plastic + Rubber Coating (Panel…
- M/B Type: ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Expansion Slots: 7
At the same price as that of Corsair Carbide Series Spec-02, a good case is available from DeepCool. DeepCool isn’t known for awesome cases and it doesn’t produce better quality cases than Corsair or Cooler Master but for people who are on a budget and want more for less, then DeepCool has some good solutions.
There is a meshed front panel on the case that has good ventilation from top to bottom and comes with a pre-installed 120mm BLUE LED fan for intake. At the rear, it comes with one more Blue LED fan for the exhaust.
At the top, it comes with support for installing up to 2x 120mm fans. Although you cannot install a radiator at the top because of the clearance issue, you can install a 1x 120mm radiator at the rear just like the Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02.
SilverStone Technology RL05BR-W
SilverStone Technology ATX Gaming Computer Case -…
- Includes front mounted USB 3.0 Type-C port
- Includes two 140mm LED fans designed to generate…
- Super clean internal look with PSU and drive bay…
- Motherboard back plate opening for quick CPU…
Unfortunately, this case did not get as much popularity as the others. The reasons may be many but putting those aside, We will focus on what it delivers and how is it for the money. Silverstone is definitely the producer of one of the best Mini-ITX cases and this one is best for airflow without a doubt. Everything, in this case, is good and I don’t find any major CONs in it.
There are two pre-installed 140mm RED LED fans at the front for intake. Those are bigger and better than the 120mm fans that are present in the previous above-mentioned cases. The front panel is meshed and has a dust filter to stop the accumulation of dust easily inside the case. You can also install a radiator instead of only fans which are great for CPU cooling.
The case is 6 kg heavy and the material is just fine. Still, it’s better than the previous cases. But the price is also more. For the increase in price, it comes with better airflow and the top of the case also has support for 2x 120/140mm fans or 240/280mm radiator. The bottom of the case also has one dust filter for the PSU that is very much needed.
So cooling-wise, it’s far better than the above cases and is worth every penny.
Corsair 275R Airflow
Corsair 275R Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower…
- A slatted front panel design allows ample airflow…
- Clean and modern styling, with an angled…
- Includes 3 120mm cooling fans for powerful airflow. ..
- Room to install up to 6x 120mm cooling fans or…
Do you want something that is unique and also cheap? Do you want a Corsair case, White or just plain black in color?
Then take a look at this gorgeous mid-tower chassis from Corsair that provides a unique way of cooling through the front panel. The 275R Airflow stands for its name and provides a slatted front panel that lets the air inside through different angles making it easy for the air to reach every corner of the case. This case has great support for fans and radiators with up to 6x 120mm or 4x 140mm fans to choose from.
You can install up to a 360mm radiator at the front and up to 240mm radiator at the top. It comes with 3x 120mm pre-installed fans that are unfortunately non-LED and considering the price it comes for, it is justified. This is our Editor’s Choice of the best budget airflow cases which you should definitely buy if you own less than $100.
Fractal Design Meshify C TG
Fractal Design Meshify C — Compact Mid Tower. ..
- Streamlined high-airflow design: The performance…
- Distinctive new styling with stealthy…
- Flexible storage options: room for up to 5 drives…
- Great cooling support: 2x preinstalled Fractal…
If I can choose a perfect case for you for under $100, then I will recommend the Fractal Design Meshify C TG is also among the best mid-tower case you can find right now. This is a deal-breaker and consists of every feature that you would want and need.
It can take AIO coolers, custom liquid loops, and long graphics cards. The interior and the exterior are at their best and I like the white edition which has a white exterior and Black interior. There are a total of 5 color editions of this case including a fully black one that provides users with different options to choose from.
The front panel features an angular design which Fractal Design claims increases the intake. There are dust filters at the front, top and bottom so that the case accumulates less dust. Unlike the Meshify S2 case which is bigger and packed with features, you can take advantage of good airflow by installing up to 3x 120mm/2x 140mm fans at the front, 2x 120mm/140mm fans at the top, a 1x 120mm fan at the bottom and 1x 120mm fan at the rear. The case already comes with two 120mm fans pre-installed- one at the front and one at the rear.
For AIO cooling, you can install up to a 360mm radiator at the front and up to 280mm radiator at the top. Therefore, cooling wise it doesn’t fall back and provides the maximum support. The material quality, as well as the aesthetics of this case, is 10/10 for the price.
Cooler Master MasterBox TD500
Cooler Master MasterBox TD500 Mesh Airflow ATX…
- Polygonal Mesh features a 3-dimensional contour…
- A crystalline tempered glass side panel dons a…
- Three included addressable RGB fans flood the…
- For enthusiast-grade cooling, 2360 millimeter. ..
The new MasterBox TD500 isn’t that behind of Meshify C and features a similar front panel in order to create an ideal airflow to cool your components. While some area of the front is covered by opaque material, there is still around 80% of the vented area that you will need to cool your chassis from inside.
It features a tempered glass side panel with some random design and has two thumbscrews on the top to secure it properly. It has a very long PSU shroud that will hide your cables and power supply but leaves sufficient space in the front for radiators to be installed. So, you can either keep those 3x 120mm ARGB fans for amazing airflow and for also maintaining the aesthetics, or you can water cool your CPU for reaching new overclocking heights.
The hot air can be exhausted through the rear and through the top by installing a single 120mm fan at the rear and up to 3x 120mm fans at the top, making the airflow balanced. For supporting your components, it has an adequate amount of clearance from the CPU cooler to the graphics card and provides ample space for your cables to be managed at the back.
There is another similar case from Cooler Master which has a little different design than this one. That is the MasterBox MB511 ARGB which features a vented front panel and pre-included ARGB fans. You can check out that too if you want some alternatives from Cooler Master.
Corsair Carbide Series Air 540
Corsair CC-9011030-WW Carbide Series Air 540 High…
- Dual-chamber Direct Airflow Path design for…
- Features 8 Case Expansion Slots
- Also features 2 x 5.25 inch , 4 x 2.5inch and 2 x…
- Full side panel window
When you need cases with the best airflow then Corsair has several cases like these. Among them is the Corsair Carbide Air 540 ATX cube which also has a smaller version for mini-ITX form factor motherboards. This case is very innovative and has a unique design when comes to installing the components.
For cooling, it has ventilation from the front to the top and comes with a pre-installed 2x 140mm Fan at the front which can be interchanged to either 3x 120mm fans or a 240/280/360mm radiator. But then you won’t be able to install a very long graphics card as some clearance issue may occur. But at the top, there is a lot of space for installing even a dual-fan radiator and you can even install very thick radiators which are used for custom water loops.
This case can have 6x 120mm fans or 5x 140mm fans at the same time and supports several storage devices at the same time. As most of the wiring stuff goes at the back, cable management is very easy due to the large empty space present at the back. Rubber grommets are a huge Pro in this case and are present for routing cables from different directions. This case is all the way to one of the best airflow cases right now in the market although it’s not cheap and comes for around $140.
Another alternative you can go for is the Corsair 280X or Corsair 680X if you want a similar design but the airflow of that case isn’t good as it uses tempered glass panels instead of ventilated or meshed panels.
Thermaltake Core X31 RGB Edition
Thermaltake Core X31 RGB Edition Black ATX Gaming. ..
- Unprecedented space for high-end hardware and…
- Pre-installed three patented circular 256…
- Power supply placement design is one of the Core…
- A «2 + 3» drive bay design for storage devices…
For $100, I find the Core X31 to be the best case both for airflow and customization. The reasons for choosing this case over other cases with the same amount of fan slots are modular design and better ventilation. You can take apart almost every drive cage and even the PSU shroud from it to build in it accordingly.
Users who want to do a custom water loop will definitely need this case because even if you remove all the cages, you will still have drive bays at the backside of the motherboard tray where you can install hard drives and SSDs. In front, you will still be left with plenty of space for a custom water loop and great ventilation for sending the heat out, out of the rear and top of the case where you can install up to 4x 120mm fans collectively.
The top also supports 3x 140mm fans and has a dust filter. Not only on the top but the bottom, the front also has dust filters for preventing dust accumulation. Fan support is astonishingly not limited to the front, top, and rear but you can also install up to 2x 120mm or 2x 140mm fan at the bottom beside the PSU. The airflow will be ridiculously high, in this case, leaving no room for overheating whatsoever.
For $100, This is the best case which is modular, has great airflow, and also comes with 3x 120mm TT RGB fans pre-installed. I use the TT Riing fans myself in my personal rig for radiators and those are some of the best PC fans I have ever used.
Thermaltake Commander C36
Thermaltake Commander C36 Motherboard Sync ARGB…
- Light up the system : 2 Pre installed 200 mm 5V MB…
- Built in dual mode 5V ARGB switch board : Control…
- 27 LED modes through I/O port button : Wave mode;…
- Clear view of PC gaming : one 4 mm tempered glass. ..
While most of the cases above provide either 120mm fans or 140mm fans for cooling, the Commander C36 from Thermaltake has pre-installed 2x 200mm ARGB fans that are controllable through a controller already present inside the chassis. This case is cooled by those massive fans that draw air through the honeycomb mesh front panel while maintaining cool aesthetics.
The case comes with huge support for fans, AIO coolers as well as custom liquid solutions which will ensure that your system never gets heated up even after long hours of operation which will eventually result in a better lifespan and better performance. The case has a full-length PSU shroud with a cut-off at the side to show off the PSU as well while hiding all the unnecessary stuff inside it like cables and HDDs.
For storage devices, it has 5 slots in total that can be used in different ways. You can either install 4x SSD and 1x HDD or you can have 2x SSD with 3x HDD. The case can support long graphics cards and tall CPU coolers as well if you opt for air cooling and as I mentioned above, for aesthetics the fans can be controlled using a single switch at the top which provides 8 different modes to choose from.
CoolerMaster MasterCase H500M
Cooler Master MasterCase H500M ARGB Airflow ATX…
- Four Tempered Glass Panels : Edge to edge glass…
- Glass & Mesh Options Included : Choose between the…
- Rich Connectivity : The I/O panel comes with a USB…
- Covers For Clean Building : A total of 9 covers…
Cooler Master MasterCase H500M is the revised edition of the original H500P which also got a revision for the front panel but this one adds some more features to the case which helps in both aesthetics as well as airflow. This case costs $200 due to the premium quality materials used in it and the features it has been equipped with for components support as well as cable management.
Our Senior Editor Subhanka has reviewed this case and is using it on his personal computer and believes that it lives up to its name and is worthy of being included in the Half series that CoolerMaster has specifically made for high airflow.
The front panel uses a quality mesh design that features more width from the sides which results in increased airflow and the middle part can be interchanged with the glass panel if you want to limit the dust intake. In both cases, the case performs absolutely great in terms of cooling and as the case is equipped with 2x 200mm ARGB fans, you will be enjoying both the great airflow and multiple colored lighting effects.
Inside it, there is a lot of space for installing tall CPU coolers, AIO coolers as well as long graphics cards that will get clearance up to 412mm. There are multiple features that are still needed to be discussed but it will be better if you read our full review of this case which will let you decide if this case is worth the money or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which fans to use in Airflow Cases?
As more and more fans are being released on a monthly basis, there are a lot of new fans from Arctic, Corsair, Cooler Master, and many other brands that will help you achieve your desired airflow in the whole system. These fans are not only awesome in throwing a lot of air but are packed with features like RGB/ARGB lighting that can sync with other components.
Do NZXT Cases have good airflow?
Short Answer- Most of the NZXT cases have limited airflow due to the opaque front panel and no ventilation. This is the reason we didn’t include any of them on our list. But they are still good for building a PC because they bring a minimalistic design to the table.
If you want a detailed analysis, check our article- NZXT Cases and Airflow.
Are Open Air PC cases good?
Though the open-air PC cases don’t have any issues of overheating, they collect a large amount of dust in a very short time which again results in higher temperatures. If you can maintain your open-air PC case properly, then there should be no problem in using one but it’s hard to maintain them on a daily basis as I have used TT Core P3 myself and I was forced to change due to dust accumulation.
Or you can also create your own custom PC case by modding the front panel for more ventilation. It’s difficult but it’s a permanent solution to create a continuous airflow.
Does cooling your computer make it faster?
Yes, it makes it faster on some occasions. Suppose you have overclocked your CPU or GPU and it’s going close to the critical temperature, cooling it properly will result in lower temperatures that will help the CPU/GPU retain its clock speed. If it reaches the critical temperature the CPU/GPU will automatically downclock making your system slower.
- Best Mid-Tower Cases
Computer Service — Choosing the Right PC Enclosure
In the article we will tell:
- Case for system unit
- Order PC case
- Cost of services
The case of the system unit is an important part of the PC, where the internal components are installed, from the power supply to the hard drives and the motherboard. It is also one of the main components of the cooling system, so it must be roomy enough not to obstruct air circulation and have room for a large radiator. The last point is especially important for powerful gaming models.
Modern PC cases come in sleek or aggressive designs, with built-in tempered glass windows and RGB lighting that can be controlled manually or remotely. Such «decorations» are especially popular among gamers.
By dimensions, computer cases can be divided into the following groups:
- SFF — well suited for limited space, have a low weight, which makes them quite mobile.
- Mini Tower — used to build home PCs of both the budget segment and gaming series.
- Mid Tower is a roomy case that can easily fit a video card up to 31 cm long or a liquid cooling system with a pump, a large radiator and hard tubes. At the same time, there will be a lot of space inside the “box” to ensure good air circulation. Therefore, even under heavy load, the graphics and central processors will not heat up above 80 degrees.
- Full Tower — well suited for servers that require 2 processors and a large amount of RAM (expansion slots) to work. Accommodates a fan up to 230 mm wide, dual tower coolers, etc. It can easily cool up to 2 top-end video chips.
- Super (Ultra) Tower — large models weighing about 30kg, which can fit any hardware up to a dual-processor configuration.
- HTPC are small cases used to assemble a home multimedia system.
Below is a comparison table of 4 main types by important parameters: type of motherboard, number of bays, expansion slots, coolers and video cards:
|Parameter / Enclosure type||SFF||Mini Tower||Mid Tower||Full Tower|
|5.25″ bays (for coolant controllers (CO), optical drives and card readers)||1||1-2||2-5||3-6|
|3.5″ bays (coolers, HDD, USB hubs, card readers)||1-3||4-6||6-8||6-13|
|2. 5″ bays (SSD)||0-4||0-4||0-10||0-11|
|Motherboard type||mini-ITX||mini-ITX, micro-ATX||mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX||mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX|
When choosing a PC case, you need to pay attention to the following points:
- number of drive bays;
- type of fasteners, puffs and screws, so that it is possible to disassemble the “box” without special tools;
- the presence of recesses or rubber bushings for laying wires;
- the presence of a special cutout on the system board tray, which simplifies the process of removing the fan from the processor if necessary;
- type and number of ports on the front panel of the case or in its upper part;
- number of coolers and free places for installing additional airflow;
- ease of removal of dust filters;
- the presence of sound insulation, provided that it will not take up most of the interior space;
- for powerful computers, the ability to install water cooling is important.
If the emphasis is on the appearance of the case, you should pay attention to the presence of special windows (beautiful, but not practical) or built-in multi-colored lighting.
Thus, the most common form factor is the Mid Tower. When compactness is important, SFF and Mini-Tower are preferred. For the most daring configurations without saving on cooling and components, it is better to choose Full-Tower.
Case for the system unit
The most famous manufacturers include:
- Zalman (South Korea) — on the market since 1999, the main focus is on the cooling system.
- DeepCool (China) — is considered a leader in the production of coolers for PCs and servers, later began to produce cases for computers.
- Fractal Design (Sweden) — products are distinguished by attractive design, minimal noise level and Scandinavian quality.
- AeroCool (Taiwan) — products are designed for gamers and customers demanding functionality and good cooling.
- NZXT (USA) — focused on the gaming segment and professional eSports, products are valued for their wide functionality and the ability to upgrade.
- Be quiet! (Germany) — demonstrates the best combination of «price-quality», focuses on noiselessness.
- Cooler Master (Taiwan) is a company that is called the «cooling legend». The most famous products include the Hyper 212 Evo CPU fan from the mainstream category, VGA coolers for AMD and NVidia graphics cards.
- Cougar (Germany) is a subsidiary of the HEC Group, a global manufacturer of PC cases.
- Corsair (USA) — products are easy to recognize by intelligent atmospheric lighting. Produces premium quality streaming equipment.
Will highlight the TOP-5 best blocks that have already proven themselves in the market.
1st place. Zalman i3 Black with 4 USB ports on the external panel, 4 built-in fans with speed control and additional installation of 2 more coolers and a water cooling system.
2nd place. Fractal Design Node 304 Black — compact (MicroTower), but not compatible with all hardware. Allows you to install up to 6 hard drives, but a standard-sized board will fit in it. There are 2 coolers and a switch to adjust their power.
3rd place. AeroCool Aero-500 Window Black Edition — has a transparent side panel on the left, a wall thickness of 0.5mm, is almost silent with buttons placed on the top and 4 USB ports.
4th place. AeroCool Qs-180 Black — good for office work, has small dimensions, so a powerful video card and 3 hard drives cannot be installed. There is USB 3.0, 1 built-in fan and space for mounting 2 additional ones.
5th place. Deepcool Earlkase RGB White is a model with a wall thickness of 0.7mm, which will provide excellent sound insulation. You can install up to 7 fans, independently change the color of the backlight. The sidebar is transparent.
Order PC case
When choosing a «box» for the system unit, first of all, you need to pay attention to its size. It depends on this parameter what the «stuffing» will be:
- the size of the motherboard;
- cooling system;
- number of drive bays and expansion slots;
- ease of repair, and the possibility of upgrading.
Enclosures are now available that can be used for a wide range of applications, from a home media center to a powerful multi-board server.
Let’s highlight the 5 best chassis that will be in demand in 2022-2023. This does not mean that there are no more worthy multifunctional models, it’s just that they cannot be contained in one article. Therefore, when analyzing the rating, pay attention to the manufacturer’s company and product specifications. Our TOP-5 is as follows:
1. Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L.
Has several features. First, you can choose the location yourself (vertical or horizontal). Second, the lids are perforated to promote air circulation. Thirdly, the top, rear and front panels are a metal grill, under which there is a dust filter.
In terms of components, a lower installation of the power supply is provided, support for a mini-ITX or micro-ATX motherboard format. Allowable video card length — 360 mm, fan height — 157 mm. There is 1 cooler in the factory, but 6 more can be installed additionally. There are 2 mounts for water cooling. The control panel is located on the viewing sidewall.
2. ZALMAN Z3 Iceberg
Spacious model with a wall thickness of 0.6 mm, transparent side walls (tempered glass), 2 fans (with RGB lighting) with the possibility of additional installation of 6 more coolers and liquid cooling. It comes with a dust filter, 4 bays 2.5″ and 3.5″. Compatible with all popular motherboard formats, supports CPU propellers up to 165mm high. and a video chip up to 320 mm long.
3. Zalman S5
This is a budget case with a right-hand side of 4mm impact-resistant glass that allows you to put a mini-ITX, micro-ATX or ATX board inside. The factory package provides 2 fans, one of which has a backlight. The maximum number of coolers that the block can accommodate is 8. There is a place for installing water cooling and connecting CPI-E boards in the amount of 7 pieces. The length of the GPU should not exceed 340 mm., High CPU cooling — 163 mm. It has 2 HDD bays and 4 SSD bays.
4. Deepcool Matrexx 55
It has a viewing glass wall thickness of 4 mm, metal — 0.6 mm. Swivel front panel and coolers are equipped with adjustable backlighting, E-ATX board is supported. Inside will fit a GPU up to 370 mm in length, and a CPU fan not exceeding 168 mm in height. The maximum number of seats for fans is 6, the number of water cooling circuits is 3.
5. AeroCool Cylon Black
The chassis has a tinted viewing window on the side panel, and an LED strip on the front panel. It is well ventilated, supports connection of 7 propellers (included 1), «motherboard» of all formats except E-ATX. Often used for gaming assembly. When buying a video card of the maximum length (371 mm.