Best Computer Case

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Computer cases can come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, from bizarre custom models designed to look like spaceships, to more toned-down boxes intended for the average computer user. If the motherboard is the central nervous system of a computer, and the CPU is its heart, then the case is the body of the system, which has to protect and support all of the other pieces. That makes it every bit as important to carefully consider your computer case before you buy it, and choose the perfect one for your needs.

Whether you're interested in water cooling or optimal airflow, you will find the right model here for your needs. Consider towers designed to reduce noise output, as well as the best ones that go easy on your wallet. There's also a wide range of sizes based on the type of motherboard you're using, so consider if you need a mini-ITX case or a full tower capable of housing a dozen or more hard drives. Choosing the right case can seem deceptively simple, so take a look at the computer case buyer’s guide below to know exactly what to look for before making a choice.

Best Computer Case for Airflow:

Power users, overclockers, and those seeking the very best in water cooling are interested in buying cases with the best possible airflow. In the no-holds-barred world of high-end air cooling and water cooling, you should expect to pay a premium for the best-in-class cases that have no compromises when it comes to options for fan or radiator placement. The cases we've chosen for this list fill that bill exactly with the utmost in cooling flexibility with multiple points for fans, radiators, and HDD drive cages. In that vein all the cases here have mounting points for between five to seventeen fans varying in sizes between 120 millimeter up to 230 millimeters. Additionally, all of the cases here accommodate large, three-fan radiators up to at least 360 millimeters in length; this is important because the best DIY and AIO water coolers use this type of large radiator in order to achieve the coolest component temperatures. Additionally, all the cases on this list can hold more than one radiator at the same time whichallows flexibility for users who want to water cool both the CPU and GPU or even multiple GPU's. As is fitting for these best-in-class cases, buyers can also expect outstanding case construction quality and excellent warranty coverage of between one and five years.

Thermaltake Core X9 E-ATX Stackable Tt LCS Certified Cube Chassis Cases CA-1D8-00F6WN-00

An outstanding, innovative design that offers the utmost in feasibility without being prohibitively expensive. Cases with this many options usually cost several hundred dollars more. Read Full Review

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    Thermaltake Core X9 E-ATX Stackable Tt LCS Certified Cube Chassis Cases CA-1D8-00F6WN-00

    Cooler Master RC-942-KKN1 HAF X Full Tower

    If you want the utmost in airflow and you enjoy a rugged look for your case, this fills the bill. This case has been around long enough to have established a well deserved reputation for maximum performance. Read Full Review

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      Cooler Master RC-942-KKN1 HAF X Full Tower

      Corsair Obsidian Series 900D Super Tower Computer Case CC-9011022-WW

      An outstanding offering that offers an astounding array of options that few cases can even approach. This case is definitely among the best of the best, but it carries with it a price premium. Read Full Review

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        Corsair Obsidian Series 900D Super Tower Computer Case CC-9011022-WW

        Antec Performance One Series P380 Full Tower

        This is a stately, well built case that brings a lot to the table in a design that is well thought out and offers plenty of build options while looking very good to the eye. Your spouse will love this case. Read Full Review

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          Antec Performance One Series P380 Full Tower

          Corsair Graphite Series 760T Full Tower Windowed Case - CC-9011074-WW

          This is well thought out case that offers an excellent combination of looks, airflow and lots of build options. Not the most inexpensive option, but a good value for the money nonetheless. Read Full Review

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            Corsair Graphite Series 760T Full Tower Windowed Case - CC-9011074-WW

            Best Full Tower Case:

            Full tower cases are most often used by gamers, overclockers, and power users who are looking for the best in cooling and lots of internal case area for expansion. The cases we chose for this list are the best in-class for several reasons. First, their case construction is very good and they all feature limited warranties from one to five years. Next, they all also feature “toolless' design”, meaning hardware is provided in the case for securing components such as video cards, SSD's and hard drives making component assembly more convenient.

            These cases also all have much more internal volume than mid-tower and smaller cases. The extra room not only provides ample options for expansion (since the volume of air inside the case is larger) heat generated by components such as overclocked CPU's and multiple video cards is more quickly dissipated. They all offer eight or more drive bays for SSD's hard drives and DVD drives, to maximize drive options.

            Additionally, these cases all feature enough expansion slots for setups with two and three video cards. Just as importantly, they also often offer movable drive bays in order to provide more flexibility in cooling options. Finally they also all provide ample room for two-fan and three-fan water cooling radiators in the top, bottom or front of the case. This is important to users who want the very best in CPU and GPU cooling.

            Phanteks Enthoo Series Primo ATX Ultimate Full Tower Computer Case

            This is a very high quality case for enthusiasts looking for the best even if it costs a little extra. It features the utmost in options along with excellent workmanship. Read Full Review

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              Phanteks Enthoo Series Primo ATX Ultimate Full Tower Computer Case

              NZXT Technologies H630 Glossy White Computer Case CA-H630F-W1

              An outstanding case that offers both quiet operation and plenty of cooling and drive configurations. An understated and luxurious appearance is icing on the cake. Read Full Review

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                NZXT Technologies H630 Glossy White Computer Case CA-H630F-W1

                Cooler Master RC-942-KKN1 HAF X Full Tower

                A very industrial appearing and functional case that offers outstanding cooling and a number of good drive options. Definitely for enthusiasts looking for quality, quiet operation and excellent performance. Read Full Review

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                  Cooler Master RC-942-KKN1 HAF X Full Tower

                  ThermalTake VN10001W2N Level 10 GT Black Full Tower

                  This is a case with a completely unique design that offers good cooling and an appearance that is second to none. The only downsides are a high price and more limited drive options than some cases. Read Full Review

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                    ThermalTake VN10001W2N Level 10 GT  Black Full Tower

                    NZXT Source 530 Full Tower Chassis, Black Mesh CA-SO530-M1

                    An excellent choice for those on a budget who are looking for a case that offers plenty of options without emptying your bank account. Numerous drive and cooling choices round out an excellent value. Read Full Review

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                      NZXT Source 530 Full Tower Chassis, Black Mesh CA-SO530-M1

                      Best Midsize Tower Case:

                      It used to be that if you wanted to build a truly high performance computer you really needed to use a full tower case. However, mid-tower cases have improved greatly in the last several years and now several excellent options in this form-factor are available that even include plenty of options for water cooling. The best mid-size tower cases we’ve chosen for this list all have great cooling options, providing between seven and ten positions for fans varying between 120 and 200 millimeters in size depending on the case as well as offering accommodations for a total of nine to twelve HDD's, optical drives, and SSD's. They’ll also accommodate full-length video cards, something which can become a concern with mid-tower cases. These cases also come in a variety of aesthetic pleasing designs to suit individual tastes, from subdued and elegant to very industrial-looking cases.

                      Thermaltake Core V51 ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case

                      Offering best-in-class hardware compatibility, elegant looks and excellent construction, this case deserves a serious look. To top it off, its price isn't prohibitive considering what it brings to the table. Read Full Review

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                        Thermaltake Core V51 ATX Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case

                        Corsair Vengeance Series Black C70 Mid Tower Computer Case

                        This military-looking tower case has exceptional drive flexibility and cooling options. Offering high build quality it’s definitely worth a look but the only downside is that it commands a premium price. Read Full Review

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                          Corsair Vengeance Series Black C70 Mid Tower Computer Case

                          Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 with Solid Side Panel Computer Case

                          A great value for the price although you might want to replace the fans it ships with from the factory. However, given its clean looks, drive options, and cooling capabilities, it's hard to go wrong with this case. Read Full Review

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                            Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 with Solid Side Panel Computer Case

                            Rosewill Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case Star Predator

                            This is an excellent and inexpensive case offering features usually seen in much higher end computer cases. Despite its abundance of performance options, the sculpted front panel and LED lights might not appeal to everyone. Read Full Review

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                              Rosewill Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case Star Predator

                              Fractal Design Define R4

                              Built for both silent operation and good build flexibility, this case is a serious contender for your next build. This case could best be described as a jack of all trades. Read Full Review

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                                Fractal Design Define R4

                                Best Mini Tower Computer Case:

                                The best MicroATx cases offer plenty of options for installing high quality components, good cooling options, solid construction, and good warranty periods without sacrificing a small case footprint. The cases on our list fill that bill in an outstanding fashion. All of them are made by well-respected manufacturers who implemented practical designs which offer excellent drives flexibility with mounts for between five and nine drives and cooling options for between three and nine fans depending on the case. Additionally, all these cases feature tool-less design for ease of assembly. While prices vary, because of their diminutive size, you'll generally find that the best-in-class MicroATX cases are somewhat lower priced than full tower cases of comparable quality.

                                Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 Mini Computer Case

                                This is an outstanding case from Corsair that offers the utmost in building options. You won't find a more flexible case in terms of drive options. Read Full Review

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                                  Corsair Carbide Series Air 240 Mini Computer Case

                                  Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 High Airflow Micro ATX Case

                                  An elegant design that offer solid construction and well thought out internals. It comes at a premium price, but you get a lot for your money. Read Full Review

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                                    Fractal Design Arc Mini R2 High Airflow Micro ATX Case

                                    Cooler Master Silencio 352 - Silent Mini Tower Computer Case SIL-352M-KKN1

                                    This case presents an excellent value that offers great cooling options, good build flexibility, and overall silent operation. All-in-all it lays out a lot of goodness on the table for your purchasing dollar. Read Full Review

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                                      Cooler Master Silencio 352 - Silent Mini Tower Computer Case SIL-352M-KKN1

                                      Silverstone Tek Micro-ATX Computer Cases - PS07B

                                      This clean, good-looking case is a very good value for air cooled builds. However, if you intend to use water cooling as part of your system requirements, you'll need to look elsewhere. Read Full Review

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                                        Silverstone Tek Micro-ATX Computer Cases - PS07B

                                        Deepcool Steam Castle M Mini Computer Case

                                        This case stands out on our list because of its truly unique steam punk design with a lot of extra features for the price. If its distinct style appeals to you, you won't go wrong with this case. Read Full Review

                                        Deepcool Steam Castle M Mini Computer Case

                                        Best Mini-ITX Case:

                                        Mini-ITX cases have come a long ways in the last few years and options for builders have never been better. Since these cases are meant to house the smallest motherboard form-factor, all are diminutive in size. Because they're so small, they cannot be held to the same hardware comparability standards as the best full size or mid-size cases although several on this list come close. Still, today's top-of-class cases still manage to find interior room for high-end graphics cards, plenty of cooling options, and good drive options. That being said, users should not be planning to use multi-GPU setups with this form-factor as the motherboards don't have enough PCI-E slots. The best mini iTX cases we’ve chosen come from top-tier manufacturers and are naturally are constructed to the highest standards. They all offer a minimum of between two and six mounts for fans, as well as four to eight hard drives and SSD's. Additionally, these selections all provide between two to four expansion slots for graphic cards.

                                        Thermaltake Core X1 Black Mini ITX Case

                                        This case from Thermaltake brings best in class hardware options at price point that won’t break the bank. It represents the best in its class in almost every way from drive options to cooling capabilities. Read Full Review

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                                          Thermaltake Core X1 Black Mini ITX Case

                                          Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Mini ITX Case

                                          Outstanding flexibility, excellent build quality, and very reasonable price put this case among the best of the best. You can look elsewhere if you want but it’s simply hard to outdo a combination like this. Read Full Review

                                          Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Mini ITX Case

                                          Corsair Graphite Series 380T Mini-ITX Portable PC Case

                                          This is an innovative design only available at a predictably premium price. That being said, you do get a great deal of room and features for the money you’re paying. Read Full Review

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                                            Corsair Graphite Series 380T Mini-ITX Portable PC Case

                                            Cooler Master Elite 130 - Mini-ITX Computer Case with Mesh Front Panel and Water Cooling Support

                                            This is a good case that thankfully doesn't cost a lot. While it doesn't offer the same level of hardware compatibility as more expensive cases, you still stand to gain a lot of value here. Read Full Review

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                                              Cooler Master Elite 130 - Mini-ITX Computer Case with Mesh Front Panel and Water Cooling Support

                                              Cougar Case QBX Mini ITX Case

                                              This is a very good, but not class leading design. It does everything competently, but doesn't lead the pack in any area. The real upside to this unit is its low price. Read Full Review

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                                                Cougar Case QBX Mini ITX Case

                                                Best Quiet Computer Case:

                                                Cases that are intended for quiet operation represent a popular and growing market segment. It’s a twin design challenge for manufacturers to construct cases which ensure quiet operation while accommodating high performance hardware. Fortunately, these best quiet computer cases we’ve assembled for this list more than meet these specific requirements. First of all, these cases all are manufactured with sound insulating material which helps muffle the sound of system hardware between a low of 38 to 43 decibels depending on the case. Second, they all have ample provisions for HDD's and SSD's providing space a minimum of between five and twelve drives depending on the case. They also all include class-leading cooling options with provisions for between at least seven and ten fans and provisions for water cooling radiators at least 240 millimeters long to make sure your high-end hardware is properly cooled. Finally, they all have can accommodate high-end GPU's between 294 and 425 millimeters long, depending on the case.

                                                Fractal Design Define S Gaming Case with Window FD-CA-DEF-S-BK-W

                                                This is an excellent case from Fractal Design which has been the winner of several prestigious industry awards. It ensures quiet operation while accommodating the most demanding hardware, all at a very attractive price. Read Full Review

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                                                  Fractal Design Define S Gaming Case with Window FD-CA-DEF-S-BK-W

                                                  NZXT H440 Mid Tower Case

                                                  This is an innovative case meant to ensure quiet operation of high performance components. Without any bays for DVD's, this case may not be for everyone. That being said, the design is outstanding regardless. Read Full Review

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                                                    NZXT H440 Mid Tower Case

                                                    Corsair Obsidian Series Black 550D Mid Tower Computer Case (CC-9011015-WW)

                                                    This is an expensive design from Corsair which nonetheless offers a lot for the price. It more than meets the twin goals of both quiet operation and hardware reliability in a quiet computer case. Read Full Review

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                                                      Corsair Obsidian Series Black 550D Mid Tower Computer Case (CC-9011015-WW)

                                                      AeroCool MicroATX and Mini-ITX Dead Silence Series DS Cube

                                                      This is an innovative and well-constructed case from Aerocool which gives you a lot of reasons to like it. The downside to this offering is that like some of our other picks, it’s a bit on the expensive side. Read Full Review

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                                                        AeroCool MicroATX and Mini-ITX Dead Silence Series DS Cube

                                                        Fractal Design Define R4

                                                        This is another intelligently-designed case from Fractal. It’s good at achieving both silent operation and room for top performing hardware, making it a strong contender for your hard earned dollar. Read Full Review

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                                                          Fractal Design Define R4

                                                          Best Cheap Computer Case:

                                                          When you build a custom computer, it's always great to build high-end machines but the bread and butter of this sort of business are inexpensive computers. In choosing inexpensive cases for high quality machines that don't cost a lot, individuals learn to pay close attention to case construction, appearance, warranty periods, as well as what features are included with the case (such as fans and front USB panels) in order to keep building costs down. All of the best cheap computer cases we've chosen for this ist on this list are priced at $60 or less and all are manufactured by brand name companies to have good case construction. They also all feature more fans, drive options, and expansion slots for GPU's than you might expect at such low price points. Finally, while many inexpensive cases offer included power supply’s, I do not recommend choosing these cases because with few exceptions, the sort of PSU's included with them are often sub-par. Even on an inexpensive build, you should never skimp on such an essential component as the power supply.

                                                          ThermalTake System Cabinet - Mid-tower - Black

                                                          An outstanding value, this case offer excellent flexibility, good construction, and a best in class warranty. Without a doubt, this is one to consider for your next budget build. Read Full Review

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                                                            ThermalTake System Cabinet - Mid-tower - Black

                                                            Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus Mid Tower Computer Case

                                                            With cooling options seldom seen at this price point, along with drive flexibility and good quality of construction, this case is a great value. When it comes bang for the buck this case is hard to beat. Read Full Review

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                                                              Cooler Master Elite 431 Plus Mid Tower Computer Case

                                                              Enermax Ostrog ATX Computer Case - ECA3253

                                                              Excellent build options and elegant looks make this case one of the very best for the money. This case is definitely worth a look when you're shopping for a value builds. Read Full Review

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                                                                Enermax Ostrog ATX Computer Case - ECA3253

                                                                Thermaltake Versa H24 Computer Case CA-1C1-00M1NN-00

                                                                This case from Thermaltake is worth a look in the value category. It's elegant appearance will appeal to many while its sold construction and decent flexibility earn this case a spot on our list. Read Full Review

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                                                                  Thermaltake Versa H24 Computer Case CA-1C1-00M1NN-00

                                                                  NZXT Technologies Mid Tower Case - Source 220 CA-SO220-01

                                                                  A good value with simple looks, this case is one of the best of the best when it comes to a good value for the money. Although it's not as flexible as some designs, this case is still merits a close look. Read Full Review

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                                                                    NZXT Technologies Mid Tower Case - Source 220 CA-SO220-01

                                                                    Best Case for Water Cooling:

                                                                    Ten years ago, cases suitable for water cooling were few and far between; however, as AIO water cooling solutions and most recently DIY kits gained greatly in popularity, many more cases have been built to accommodate the best in water cooling hardware have become available. Today, there are a number of cases available designed specifically with water cooling in mind. We’ve chosen these five best cases for water cooling since they obviously excel at water cooling hardware compatibility.

                                                                    They all offer between seven and sixteen fan mounts in addition to a generous amount of bays which accommodate between ten and twenty-three drives. These picks will also accept more than one radiator for builders interested in cooling both the CPU and multi-card GPU setups. Additionally, they’ll accept radiators 360 millimeters or more in length, allowing users to install powerful three or even four fan water cooling hardware. Finally, these cases all offer good flexibility in drive options, featuring tool-less designs and drive cage modularity in order to allow the greatest hardware compatibility for drives, reservoirs, and pumps.

                                                                    Thermaltake Core X9 E-ATX Stackable Tt LCS Certified Cube Chassis Cases CA-1D8-00F6WN-00

                                                                    This is a new and outstanding design featuring the best in hardware compatibility and an amazing array of build options. Best of all, considering the number of features it offers, it comes at a very reasonable price. Read Full Review

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                                                                      Thermaltake Core X9 E-ATX Stackable Tt LCS Certified Cube Chassis Cases CA-1D8-00F6WN-00

                                                                      Phanteks Enthoo Series Primo ATX Ultimate Full Tower Computer Case

                                                                      This case offers class leading compatibility that few cases can match. Clean brushed aluminum front and side panels round out a good looking, excellent design. However, expect to pay a premium price for this level of quality. Read Full Review

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                                                                        Phanteks Enthoo Series Primo ATX Ultimate Full Tower Computer Case

                                                                        Corsair Obsidian Series 900D Super Tower Computer Case CC-9011022-WW

                                                                        This case from Corsair offers drive compatibility and cooling options which are second to none. However, its top-of-class design and quality construction will have you digging deep into your pockets. Read Full Review

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                                                                          Corsair Obsidian Series 900D Super Tower Computer Case CC-9011022-WW

                                                                          Thermaltake Core V71 E-ATX Full Tower Gaming Computer Case CA-1B6-00F1WN-00

                                                                          This is a very compliant case that brings a great deal to the table for the money. It is hard to go wrong with this excellent design which is complimented by distinctive blue LED lighting accents. Read Full Review

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                                                                            Thermaltake Core V71  E-ATX Full Tower Gaming Computer Case CA-1B6-00F1WN-00

                                                                            Fractal Design Arc XL Case FDCAARCXLBLW

                                                                            This case does everything well all around and won't break the bank. It doesn't excel to the same standard in case cooling as some more expensive offerings, but then again, it doesn't come with a premium price either. Read Full Review

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                                                                              Fractal Design Arc XL Case FDCAARCXLBLW

                                                                              Best HTPC Case:

                                                                              Home theater personal computers, (HTPC's) come in a great variety of sizes and styles because different users have many different goals in mind when building these machines. Some want a the smallest form factor they can get in order to make the HTPC as unobtrusive as possible in their media center. Others need a case that will accommodate the most powerful components such as dual CPU server motherboards. Still others want a case that goes well with audio components and is meant to be seen. The best HTPC cases we've assembled for this list cover the gamut from large cases that will accommodate and cool the most demanding components, to tiny cases that are meant to house mini-ITX motherboards with integrated graphics. Still, no matter what your needs are for an HTPC, there are some features that all users have in common. In this light, all the cases on this list are from well respected manufactures, all of them meet the highest stands in terms of quality construction, and all of them will accommodate plenty of drive options and cooling capacity for the components they're meant to house. Finally, all of them pay particular attention to feature quiet operation which is always an important consideration of this type of computer.

                                                                              Silverstone Tek GD07B Aluminum Extended ATX / SSI-EEB / SSI-CEB HTPC Computer Case

                                                                              This case offers you an outstanding design that offers best-in-class build options. This case should be on your short list if you intend to build a mufti-media powerhouse. Read Full Review

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                                                                                 Silverstone Tek GD07B Aluminum Extended ATX / SSI-EEB / SSI-CEB HTPC Computer Case

                                                                                nMediaPC HTPC 8000B Computer Case

                                                                                Here's another excellent case with a truly unique appearance which is the result of high quality construction and materials. If you like its nostalgic looks, this vintage-style computer case if well worth the price. Read Full Review

                                                                                nMediaPC HTPC 8000B Computer Case

                                                                                Silverstone Milo Series ML05B Computer Case

                                                                                Despite its small size, this case offers great build flexibility and good looks to boot. Offering great value for the price you're paying, this case deserves a look. Read Full Review

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                                                                                  Silverstone Milo Series ML05B Computer Case

                                                                                  Akasa Euler S Fanless Solid Aluminum Thin Mini ITX Case

                                                                                  This is a tiny, very solidly built case intended for completely silent operation. For its intended purpose it fills the bill in an outstanding manner. Read Full Review

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                                                                                    Akasa Euler S Fanless Solid Aluminum Thin Mini ITX Case

                                                                                    Fractal Design Node 605 Silent Home Theater Computer Case FD-CA-NODE-605-BL

                                                                                    For a well built, full size case that takes pains to ensure quiet operation, this case is well worth a look. About the only downside here is you'll be paying a premium price for its quality. Read Full Review

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                                                                                      Fractal Design Node 605 Silent Home Theater Computer Case FD-CA-NODE-605-BL
                                                                                       

                                                                                      Computer Case Buyer's Guide

                                                                                      While computer cases might not have as many technical specifications as a motherboard or video card, there are quite a few important factors to consider. The form factor you choose depends on the motherboard you plan on using, and consider whether you want one that includes a power supply. Proper cooling is very important, so look at included fans plus mounts for more and filters, while you consider physical options like what the case is made from as well as the ports, drive bays, and expansion slots available.

                                                                                      Form Factor and Size

                                                                                      Also referred to as the type of case, the size or form factor is based around the type of motherboard that can fit into it, as well as how much additional room you have within the case. The most common type is ATX with sizes that include Full, Mid, and Mini, as well as MicroATX and Mini-ITX.

                                                                                      No case size is particularly better than another, it all depends on the type of computer you are building and the associated motherboard. Just be sure to pick a case with proper mounting for the motherboard and is large enough to accommodate your other components, especially if you’re looking to include a very large video card.

                                                                                      Power Supply Options

                                                                                      This is a pretty simple consideration but still one you should keep in mind before making a choice. If you need a power supply, then look at computer cases that include a PSU to save yourself some money and time in picking a separate power supply and installing it. If you already have a power supply, or want a very specific one, choose a computer case without one, but look at whether the case has top or bottom mounts for the PSU. Keep in mind, any included power supply can easily be removed and swapped out with a different PSU, but there’s no reason to pay for a power supply included with a case you don’t intend to use.

                                                                                      Fans, Mountings, and Removable Filters

                                                                                      Cooling within a case is very important so look at the fans that are included and the potential to add more of your own. What you want to look at is fan locations on the front, side, and rear panel. Some cases include fan mounts or fans on the bottom and top of the case, though this is not strictly necessary. Included fans are great, but since fans are fairly inexpensive it’s more important to look at the mounts for fans on the case; this way you can add or replace any fans in the future.

                                                                                      You want mounts for at least 140mm fans, but 160mm or up to 200mm are really ideal. At least one fan mount at each location is important, but you should look for a case with two mounts on the front and back for optimal ventilation. While you can choose fans that include filters, it’s worth considering a case which includes fan filters you can easily slide out for easy cleaning to ensure proper air flow.

                                                                                      Front Ports

                                                                                      While the usability of front ports depends a lot on your motherboard and the connections that it has, it is still worth considering what ports are available to you on the case itself. You probably want at least a pair of USB ports, preferably 2.0 or 3.0, though audio ports on the front of a case can be very convenient. If you have a motherboard already or one in mind you plan on purchasing, look at how many USB ports and similar connections it has mid-board and choose a computer case which takes advantage of these connectors.

                                                                                      Size and Number of Drive Bays

                                                                                      Looking inside a computer case, you want to be sure to consider how many drive bays are available as well as the sizes of each one. At the very least, you should choose a case with three or four 5.25 inch bays, a pair of 3.5 inch bays, and at least one 2.5 inch bay. This gives you a lot of freedom for how you want to set up your system as well as options for future expansion as you may want to add more drives.

                                                                                      Much of this will depend on the size of the case you choose, however, which is why it is important to look at every aspect of a case altogether. Plan out your system ahead of time and decide on how many drives you want and of what sizes, so you can then choose a case that gives you the options you need. However, pick a model with a few more drive bays then you plan on using so you always leave room for additions and future expansion.

                                                                                      Expansion Slots

                                                                                      You also need to pick a computer case with the right number of rear expansion slots to work with your motherboard and configured to match where your cards will be. Figure out what motherboard you want to use and your expansion cards (especially video cards) so you know how many expansion slots you need on the rear of the case. Your motherboard’s rear panel should work fine with any computer case, as long as you choose a tower that’s the right form factor for your motherboard.

                                                                                      Case Material

                                                                                      Computer cases are prone to taking quite a bit of abuse, so be sure to pick a model that can hold up to anything you throw at it. Look for cases which include as much metal in their construction as possible in order to resist most damage and protect the vital components within. While some plastic components are acceptable, the bulk of the case should be metal.

                                                                                      If you’re building a smaller case you intend to be portable, such as taking to conventions or LAN parties, then plastic materials might be ideal to keep the overall unit weight low. Just keep in mind that a plastic case will be more prone to breaks and cracks, so you will need to be more careful with it during transportation.

                                                                                      Manufacturer and Warranty

                                                                                      Although you are less likely to have manufacturing issues with a computer case compared to complex components like processors and graphics cards, it is still important to choose a good company with a reputation for reliability and durability. Look at manufacturers like Antec, Raidmax, NZXT, and Enermax for solid cases that are built well. Companies that are known for other peripherals like CoolMaster, Corsair, and ThermalTake also construct excellent computer cases. While a one-year warranty is the bare minimum you should except, there are quite a few manufacturers that cover their cases for two or three years, so keep that in mind as you consider your options.

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