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One of the basic elements of a desktop computer is the case. There are a wide variety of forms, sizes and exclusive designs. The price will increase depending on how easy is to mount the inner components, how resistant it is or how cool the design is.
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How To Choose The Appropriate Case
There are several standard sizes, each of them adapted specifically to one or another requirement. Here I will list only the commonly used sizes used to build Gaming PCs:
- Full Tower (E-ATX). Lots of expansion options and space. This kind of cases are used for hardcore gamers, those who need multiple graphics cards, multiple hard drives, lots of RAM and free space to install triple radiators, gigantic heat sinks and 230mm case fans.
- Mid Tower (ATX). It was the standard size until we got the Micro ATX. It has enough space to accommodate two graphics cards with a proper refrigeration.
- Mini Tower (Micro ATX). This size has been replacing the mid-tower in the past years and now is the common size for most of the users. It is usually cheaper than bigger sizes cases and supports Micro ATX motherboards, which are the most common motherboard size.
- Small Form Factor or SFF (Mini-ITX). Usually used as HTPC (Home Theater PC) because of the saving space benefits.
|Cases Sizes And Common Features|
|Motherboards||Mini-ITX||Up to Micro ATX||Up to ATX||Up to EATX|
|5.25” Drive Bays||1||1 to 2||2 to 5||3 to 6|
|3.5” Drive Bays||1 to 3||4 to 6||6 to 8||6 to 13|
|2.5” Drive Bays||0 to 4||0 to 4||0 to 10||0 to 10|
|Expansion Slots||2||4||7 to 8||7 to 10|
|Graphic Cards||1||1 to 2||2 to 3||3 to 4|
|Case Fans||1 to 3||2 to 4||3 to 9||5 to 10|
- Put your case in a fresh and ventilated place. Otherwise, you will be covering the case’s air outputs and that will overheat your CPU, GPU and PSU.
- Always double check how many fans are included in the case you want to buy. Sometimes, usually in the cheaper models, the manufacturer images can be tricky.
- Clean up the case inside regularly. The dust is accumulated in all the case’s fans and CPU’s and GPU’s ones. If you don’t clean them, they will move less air and therefore the case inner temperature will get higher.
- Do not buy cases for less than $60 with power supplies included. Those power supplies will be probably cheap and of poor quality.
** Check out the following post where you can find the top 10 gaming cases reviewed:
Best Computer Cases For Gaming - Top 10 Reviewed (2017)
Functional – Up to $35
Zalman T1 PLUS
The Zalman T1 Plus is a standard micro ATX case with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 in the front bay. It allows up to 4 cabinet fans and has enough room to install a 300mm GPU. Another thing to note is that the PSU space is located at the bottom, which improves the computer cooling airflow, lowering the inside temperatures, and also you will get a cleaner interior.
It supports up to 4 fans: one 120mm in the front side, one 92mm in the rear which is included and two 120mm on the case sides. It also supports liquid cooling system in the rear. It includes dust filters installed on the front, side and bottom that prevent dust from entering.
This case has two features that are pretty uncommon within its price range:
- The whole structure is made of steel
- Cable management system. While it is a little basic, it helps to organize the cables
The Zalman T4 is a standard Micro ATX case with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 in the front bay. It allows up to 4 cabinet fans and can host up to 300mm GPUs. Another thing to note is that the PSU space is located at the bottom, which improves the computer refrigeration and also helps you to keep a cleaner interior.
The case includes one back standard-equipped fan. It supports up to 4 fans: one 120mm in the front side, one 92mm in the rear, which is included, and two 120mm on the case sides. It also supports a liquid cooling system in the rear. The front side is made of plastic while the structure is made of steel.
Check the Cases Guide to see other models within the same price range.
'Thermaltake Versa H21'
Standard – From $35 to $60
Resistant cases with good expansion and refrigeration possibilities and acceptable designs.
Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1
'Cooler Master Elite 130'
Thermaltake Versa H15
The Thermaltake Versa H15 is a standard Micro ATX case released in 2016 with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 in the front bay. It allows up to 5 cabinet fans and can host up to 315mm GPUs. Another thing to note is that the PSU space is located at the bottom, which improves the overall refrigeration and also makes it easy to keep a cleaner interior.
This affordable and robust chassis provides exceptional cooling performance, tool-free installation and options for air and liquid cooling configurations.
Standard equipped with one 120mm rear turbo fan along with optional (not included) 2 x 120mm intake fans as well as 2 x 120mm exhaust fans for improved ventilation.
The cable routing gap provides easy cable management, hiding cables behind the motherboard tray to ensure smoothness for building the chassis.
Thermaltake Versa N21
The Thermaltake Versa N21 is a mid-tower that combines great design and grade A measurement tolerances while keeping a budget-minded price. This is just the best you can get for under $60:
- Tool-free Design: The innovative 5.25″ & 3.5″ tool-free drive bay design minimized the hassles of installation/removal. The trio drive bay concept of “1 + 4 + 1” offers a good ratio for accessories and storage devices.
- Includes a 120mm rear exhaust fan and supports 2 optional 120mm intake fans with an integrated dust filter optimize system ventilation.
- Supports up to 160mm CPU radiator and up to 250mm GPUs
'Corsair Carbide SPEC-01'
'Cooler Master N200'
'Corsair Carbide Series 88R'
'VIVO Athena Case-V04'
'Thermaltake Versa N26 Dark Knight'
'Cooler Master MasterBox 5'
'Thermaltake CORE V21'
'Thermaltake Versa N24 Hell Fire'
Advanced – From $60 to $100
Here you will find the cases with the best quality/price ratio. Clean designs, easy to configure and well constructed.
Corsair Carbide 200R
'Corsair Carbide 270R'
'VIVO Titan Case-V05'
'Corsair Carbide SPEC-03'
Thermaltake View 28 RGB Gull-Wing Window
Thermaltake Core G21 Dual Tempered Glass
The Core G21 Tempered Glass Edition is one of the latest Thermaltake gaming PC cases, with an ATX full aluminum chassis and two tempered glass windows.
It supports virtually all kind of PC hardware, including the biggest graphics cards, high-wattage power supplies, and air/liquid cooling solutions.
- dual 4mm thick tempered glass panels
- built-in power supply cover for clean cable management
- excellent expandability and ventilation for high-end gaming configurations
- GPU max length 410 mm, CPU fan max height of 160 mm, PSU max length of 220 mm
- dust filters and 2x built-in USB 3.0 ports
It comes with one 120mm rear fan preinstalled. Together with three 120mm or dual 140mm front fan (not included), you can further optimize the system cooling performance for efficient airflow.
What we have here is, in my opinion, of the most beautiful cases you can find within the $60 to $100 price range with features of premium products. You won’t regret it!
Thermaltake Versa C23 RGB Tempered Glass
'Corsair Carbide 300R'
'NZXT Phantom 410'
'Phanteks Enthoo Pro M'
'Zalman Z11 Plus'
'Corsair Obsidian 250D'
'Phanteks Eclipse P400S'
'BitFenix Prodigy M'
'Corsair Air 240'
Overclocking – From $100 to $180
Optimized cases to support liquid refrigeration systems. Big cases with plenty of free inner space.
'Corsair Carbide 400C'
'NZXT MANTA M2'
'Fractal Design NODE 202 + Integra PSU'
'Fractal Design Define R5'
'Thermaltake Core P5 Open'
Corsair Obsidian 500D
'Rosewill Gaming B2 Spirit'
'Corsair Graphite 380T'
'Thermaltake Core V71'
'Rosewill Gaming Thor V2'
'Corsair Carbide Air 740'
'Corsair Graphite 600T'
Corsair Graphite 780T
Master Race – From $180
Used to support multi graphic cards configurations and big refrigeration systems.
'Nanoxia Deep Silence 6'
'Cooler Master Cosmos II'
'Phanteks Enthoo Primo'
'Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX'
'NZXT Phantom 820'
- April 9, 2018: Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1
- March 19, 2018: Corsair Obsidian 500D
- December 15, 2017: Thermaltake View 28, Thermaltake G21, Corsair Carbide 200R, Thermaltake Versa C23
- September 26, 2017: Corsair Carbide 270R
- August 1, 2017: Fractal Design Define R5 and Fractal Design Node 202
- July 2, 2017: Thermaltake Versa H15, Corsair Carbide Series 88R
- April 11, 2017: Thermaltake Versa N26 Dark Knight, Thermaltake Versa N24 Hell Fire, Cooler Master MasterBox 5, Corsair Carbide SPEC-01
- March 31, 2017: Corsair Carbide SPEC-03
- January 30, 2017: Zalman ZMT1 Plus
- August 5, 2017: Rosewill Gaming Nighthawk 117
How did you find this guide? What form factor are you currently using? Would you like to change to another one? Did you face any space problems when mounting the components?Comment Below!
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