Before showing you some of the best airflow PC cases, we have listed some important details that you need to take into account when you choose for yourself the best PC case:
1. Size & Form Factor
As you’ve probably guessed, size is one of the most important aspects of a PC case. Naturally, the exact dimensions will inevitably vary, but cases are usually grouped into the following four categories: small form factor, Mini Tower, Mid Tower, and Full Tower.
The size of the case will determine the format and the number of components that can go into it, but the main one is the motherboard. Smaller cases fit smaller motherboards, though this isn’t necessarily always true. And it’s not just the motherboards – the GPU and the CPU cooler are also affected by the size of the case, though there is no established standard like with motherboard formats.
When it comes to the GPU, the length is the most crucial factor, but the height shouldn’t be overlooked either since many modern GPUs use bulky coolers. With CPU coolers, height is the most important, as large tower coolers may not fit inside a compact case. And as for liquid CPU coolers, the case should have adequate radiator support, but more on that below.
When it comes to other components such as the RAM, the SSD, the HDD, or the optical drive, size isn’t an issue, but there are only so many of each component that you can fit inside a case. 5.25″ drive bays are reserved for optical drives, 3.5″ ones are for HDDs, and 2.5″ ones are for SATA SSDs. Meanwhile, the maximum supported number of RAM modules is limited only by the motherboard.
2. Modularity & Options
Modularity is becoming more and more popular these days, and cases are no different. Being able to add and remove parts such as trays, covers, mounts, and so on, gives a case a certain degree of flexibility that can offer the user some extra customizability.
Excessive modularity may be overkill for most, but if options are what you are looking for, then it would be a good idea to see what’s available on the market before committing to the constricting design of standard non-modular cases.
Most cases ship with a basic set of onboard controls and ports, such as a couple of USB 3.0 ports on the front, alongside headphone and microphone jacks.
You can, however, go way beyond this with an arsenal of ports as well as convenience options like heat monitoring LCD panels that show the temperature of specific components, fan controllers, volume controls, clocks, lighting controllers, and so on.
Soundproofed cases are also very popular, for example, the Fractal Design Define S especially for high-end setups that have lots of fans running at once. You may not mind it at first, but the cacophony of whirring fans and hard drives can get distracting very quickly.
There are cases out there that ship together with a power supply unit, but while it may be tempting to get one such case and save a few bucks on a power supply, it may not be a good idea.
The PSU is one of the essential components of any PC, and if you’re investing any serious amount of money in a gaming setup, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got an adequate power supply.
Essentially, you’ll want a PSU that comes from a reliable manufacturer and offers sufficient wattage for your current build while leaving room for potential future expansion.
Cooling is a significant factor to keep in mind when it comes to cases, and it is not something that should be overlooked.
Airflow is the first and, arguably, the most important thing. If a case has good airflow, it means that the PC will run more quietly, the heat dissipation will be more efficient, and the PC will also be a tad more power-efficient, too.
However, even the cases with the best airflow need the boost that case-mounted fans provide. Even one or two case fans can go a long way towards making the PC cooler and quieter, and the number (as well as the size) of supported fans varies based on the size of the case. For two-fan cases, you can try Cooler Master MCM-H500P or NZXT-H510-Elite.
Smaller cases will have fewer fans and will generally stick to 120mm and 240mm solutions, while larger cases will have extra mounts and will support even larger fans.
Finally, we have radiators, which are an integral part of every liquid cooling setup. As with fans, larger cases will support larger radiators and will have more radiator mounts, allowing for a more expansive liquid cooling setup.
5. The aesthetics
PC building has already become not only a practical but also an aesthetic matter, so the design is more important than ever in the world of computer cases. Cases utilize more and more glass these days. Still, naturally, personal preference plays a big part here, as not everyone will gravitate towards a particular style, no matter how popular it may be.
Some like glass because of how well it goes with RGB lighting, some prefer clean and unassuming matte black exteriors, all the while others very much appreciate the aggressive and angular design that has become somewhat synonymous with “gaming.”
Only you can decide what type of case you find aesthetically pleasing or if you even care about the aesthetics of a computer case at all.
1. Are bigger PC cases better?
A larger case has the potential to have more, higher CFM fans and better cycle air through the case to remove heat from the components. But without the right configuration or sufficient fans, 'dead' air inside can still build up heat and be no better than a smaller case. Of course, proximity can also play a factor.
2. How hard is it to change PC cases?
Changing cases isn't hard, just time-consuming. However, if you have an ATX board which means if you want anything smaller, you need a smaller motherboard like ITX or MATX which we don't think it's worth investing ~$200 for the case and a motherboard just for a smaller form factor.
3. Where should I place my computer tower?
Your PC will be just at home sitting on a flat floor as it would on a flat desk. Before placing your PC on the floor, be sure to think about airflow. Avoid placing your tower PC on a thick carpet. If the carpet is a problem, consider putting it on a platform or stand on the carpet.
4. Are wooden PC cases safe?
Wood does shield against EMI (electromagnetic interference), in fact, it protects better than aluminum and metal that really do little or no shielding at all, wood is a better material to build a case to protect from EMI.
5. Is Water Cooling worth it?
YES. Liquid cooling is the best way to cool a CPU because water transfers heat much more efficiently than air. Liquid cooling also makes your PC run quieter because you won't have fans constantly running at a high RPM (revolutions per minute, RPM is used to help determine the access time on computer hard drives).
However, if you are on a tight budget, air coolers are not that bad for cooling your system. Some top air coolers such as Noctua's products can even beat most liquid coolers.