Best PC case 2018: top cases for your desktop computer

 techradar.com  2/12/2018 10:35:00 PM   Gabe Carey

If you’re thinking about either buying or building one of the best gaming PCs, you might want to start thinking about picking up one of the best PC cases. Sure, a case isn’t as exciting as the best graphics cards, but all of those shiny and expensive components that you’re about to buy are of pristine quality, so why not match that with one of the best PC cases you can buy today?

Many people might believe that picking out a fancy PC case is entirely trivial, but the best PC cases will determine how much space you have for future expansion – and will also streamline your computer’s performance, thanks to the thermal benefits that the best PC cases offer. We know it’s not controversial to claim that heat is bad for your PC, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep thermals in mind when you’re out shopping for a PC case. The best PC cases will mitigate the amount of heat that your PC components are exposed to. This makes having one of the best PC cases is absolutely essential.

When you pull up Newegg or Amazon looking for one of the best PC cases, one of the first things you’ll notice is that there are dozens, hundreds even, of PC cases available. For anyone who is uninitiated in PC hardware, navigating this saturated market is stressful. But that’s where we come in, we here at TechRadar have put together this list of the best PC cases we’ve used over the last year or so, all of which have been selected based on the philosophy that the best PC cases will strike a balance between price, performance and utility. You can be confident that every case in this list is a winner, too, as we’ve tested and ranked them ourselves.

Cooler Master Cosmos C700P

Form factor: Full-tower | Dimensions: 639 x 306 x 651mm (L x W x H; 25.2 x 12 x 25.6 inches) | Mobo compatibility: Mini-ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX (12 x 11 inches) | PSU support: Bottom mount, ATX PS2 | I/O: USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C x 1, USB 3.0 x 4, fan speed and RGB control buttons, audio in/out (supports HD Audio) | Includes: 2 x 140mm front fans, 1 x 140mm rear fan

Physically controlled RGB

Universal, multi-orientation design

Comically heavy

Controversial frame rails

The Cooler Master Cosmos C700P looks at portability and simply scoffs. This 22kg (or 48.5 lbs) behemoth isn’t exactly the most lightweight case on the block. Don’t take the lack of portability to mean that the Cosmos C700P isn’t a great case, it is, but it just means that, if you want to carry it around, you’ll have to take advantage of the upper rails. Still, despite its thickness, the C700P is flexible and beautiful, thanks to Cooler Master’s decision to implement full RGB lighting and support for six different system orientations. 

Fractal Design Meshify-C

Form factor: Mid-tower | Dimensions: 395 x 212 x 440mm (L x W x H; 15.6 x 8.3 x 17.3) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x HD audio in/out, power button, reset button | Includes: 2 x Dynamic X2 GP-12

Freshly designed in multiple ways

Reasonable price

USB 3.0 cable is too short Front

PSU dust filter is hard to remove

There are very few PC cases that look anything like Fractal Design’s Meshify-C. It’s even rare to see a chassis that even vaguely resembles it.. Given that the entire front of the case is made of mesh material sectioned off into many polygonal shapes, the Meshify-C has a unique aesthetic, and it does so without compromising on function. With two fans pre-installed, interior cooling is (forgive us) a breeze, even if the Meshify-C is held back by a number of obstacles. 

Nanoxia Deep Silence 4

Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 380 x 200 x 480mm (W x H x D; 15 x 7.9 x 18.9 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, HD audio in/out, power button, reset button, two-channel fan control | Includes: 2 x 120mm fans, 2 x modular HDD cages for up to five hard drives

Low-noise

Onboard dual-zone fan controls

 Not many extras 

Nanoxia Deep Silence 4, as it’s name suggests, was crafted with the sole purpose of being quiet as a mouse. This silence-focused case is a well-balanced Micro ATX case that’s affordably priced and even accommodates some of the biggest, most powerful graphics cards with its spacious interior. The fact that you’ll rarely hear it go above 30 decibels is just icing on the very taciturn cake.   

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Phanteks Evolv Shift X. 

Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 210 x 349 x 372mm (8.3 x 13.7 x 14.6) | Mobo compatibility: Mini-ITX | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x audio/mic, 3 x fan channels with max 10W per channel output, 1 x RGB LED port support up to 4 x HUE + LED strips or 5 x Aer RGB fans | Includes: 1 x Aer F120 Case Version top fan, 1 x Aer F120 Case Version rear fan

Built-in Smart Device RGB control

Adaptive noise reduction

Ugly color options

Mini-ITX is ever so slowly getting closer and closer to finally toppling the now seemingly ancient Micro-ATX form factor, so, it only makes sense that this hot form factor has made its way into NZXT’s new H series case lineup. And unbelievably enough, NZXT has managed to incorporate a lot of the same features as its Micro ATX and mid-tower equivalents, with mesmerising, built-in and Smart Device-controlled RGB lighting and an adaptive noise sensor that sees improvement only by way of the Grid+ V3 fan controller. 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Phanteks Evolv Shift X. 

Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 170 x 650 x 274mm (W x H x D; 6.7 x 26.1 x 10.8 inches) | Mobo compatibility: Mini-ITX | PSU support: SFX, SFX-L, ATX (160mm max) | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, power button, RGB button | Includes: 2 x 140mm fan, 1 x power supply cover, 1 x pump bracket, 2 x SSD bracket, 1 x PCIe x16 Riser cable, 1 x 8-pin CPU extension cable

Plenty of room for beefy components

One-of-a-kind aesthetic

 Massive for Mini-ITX

When you first look at it, the Phanteks Evolv Shift X appears more like a sound bar than a PC case, but this helps it vanish into any living area or studio setup. It’s flexible to the point that it looks natural placed under a TV just as it does atop a desk, next to an equally high-end monitor. It may only be compatible with Mini-ITX mobos, which seems crazy given its size but the Phanteks Evolv Shift X offers tons of space for components and liquid-cooled loops. If this case is a little too large for your preference, there’s also the more manageable and smaller Phanteks Evolv Shift.  

Fractal Design Define R5

Form factor: Mid-tower | Dimensions: 232 x 451 x 521mm (W x H x D; 232 x 451 x 521 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, audio in/out, power button with LED, HDD activity LED, reset button | Includes: 2 x Fractal Design Dynamic GP14 140mm fans, velcro straps

User-friendly (and handsome) design

 Affordable price

 Definitely not tool-less

Fractal Design has scored a second entry on this list, and they deserve it. The Define R5 is yet another mid-tower case exhibiting a beautiful style. The metallic and blue LED-lit face of the case is simple, yet elegant, and is accompanied by noise dampening materials throughout its interior. In spite of the detachable ModuVent panels and drive trays not being tool-lessly accessible, the Fractal Design Define R5 is otherwise painless to build a computer inside of. Not only that, but it’s not as expensive as you would expect from a PC case with such a pretentious name either. 

Corsair Carbide Spec-04

Form factor: Mid-tower | Dimensions: 492 x 201 x 433mm (L x W x H; 19.4 x 7.9 x 17 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x headphone port, 1 x microphone port, power on button, reset button | Includes: 1 x 120mm LED front fan

Premium look and feel

Compelling price point

Only one USB 3.0 port

Inputs located on right side

Even if you’re trying to avoid spending a fortune on your build, it’s probably not a great idea to not settle for the absolute cheapest PC case you can find. For the most part, cheap cases don’t really incorporate proper ventilation and airflow, not to mention you’ll end up buying your own fans and cable management supplies. The Corsair Carbide Spec-04, on the other hand, shows up even some of the more expensive cases. It does so with rubberized feet, an included LED fan and tons of room to spare for additional fans and components.  

Antec Cube

Form factor: Small form factor | Dimensions: 365 x 250 x 460mm (H x W x D; 14.4 x 9.8 x 18.1 inches) | PSU support: ATX | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, I/O button, audio in/out | Includes: 1 x 120mm rear exhaust fan mount

Ample space for power and cooling

Integrated fan controller

Wildly expensive

Less than satisfactory performance

This case is for the Razer fans out there. While the green snake-adorned company doesn’t manufacture its own PCs, it has partnered with several OEMs in the past to add its signature green-infused flare to a handful of desktop PC cases. This includes the Antec Cube, a small form factor chassis that supports Mini-ITX motherboards and is shaped like an italic font (but backwards). Complete with lots of space, either for an initial build or future expansion, the Antec Cube is also compact enough to travel with.

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