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The 15 Best White PC Cases of 2021

White PC Case

The 15 Best White PC Cases of 2021

Kaelum Ross

I

Dec 28, 2020

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White is the new black for PC cases.

Black and grey cases have ruled the market for many, many years, and for a long time, it was hard to find a good white computer case.

But over the last few years, great manufacturers have come up with some fantastic designs.

Note for this topic: while we do have top picks, there are so many fantastic options that we’ve chosen to expand into more than usual to make sure you’ve got the right options for anything from a large white gaming PC to a compact stylish streaming/production build.

Top Picks

Overall Best White PC Case: Phanteks Eclipse P400

We can’t recommend the P400 highly enough.

Sitting in-between “not too cheap” and “not too expensive”, this Phanteks offering (one of the best case brands) provides a fantastic build quality. With a steel exterior and tempered glass fitting, in addition to the fantastic additional inner/outer features on offer.

The case boasts great space; designed for ATX but also able to cater E-ATX motherboards up to 272mm wide. It will be capable of fitting most GPUs (as always, check first), contains 7 expansion slots, and up to 6  x 3.5″ / 2 x 2.5″ drives.

The case also exceeds in cooling requirements, with simple cable management options and good space for airflow/your chosen cooling solution (up to 6 fans, 2 included, and plenty of radiator space for a liquid cooling approach). 

A nice addition is the array of magnetic dust filters accompanying many of the key parts, good for optimal airflow, and a clean presentation.

And of course, the case is a beauty. Not only does the sharp-white coloring give it a unique style, but Phanteks has taken advantage of the bright surface and included great RGB LED lighting (with 10 different color options). This comes in the form of internal strips to bring light to the inside of your case and a beautifully subtle light shining over the logo. These RGB lights reflect elegantly against the white and come off as very high-quality.

The front panel I/O is subtle and includes an LED control option on top of the usual ports (2 x USB 3.0 / audio outputs).

There are plenty more options to consider below, but if you’re looking for the best white computer case in this price range, we think you’re really going to love the P400.

Runner-Up Best White PC Case: Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic

Don’t be deceived by the black in the picture, this case has a great, sleek white design. Not only that, but this is one of the most consistently featured cases on What in Tech, and our pick for the best PC case in any category.

The O11 is another white tower case that shines in build quality. From one of the best chassis manufacturers in the business, the case boasts thiick SECC steel, tempered glass side panels, and subtle dust filters on the interior. The case simply looks incredible and is not done justice by stock photos (an example of it powered on can be seen here).

It takes the design focus one step further by offering one of our favorite features in a larger case: a dual-chamber layout that allows you to hide your “uglier” parts and cables out of view. Great from a design perspective but also for airflow, with this being one of the best white PC cases for cable management.

While classified as a mid-tower, the PC-011 boasts some impressive space, with 4 x 2.5″ / 2 x 3.5″ drive space, up to 9 fans (or 3 decent sized radiators), and GPUs up to 420mm. This is bordering on a full-tower case (which is probably why it suggests it is compatible with some eATX motherboards).

A rather uncommon feature the O11 has is dual PSU support. If you’re looking for some very efficient/powerful spec, this may be an attractive offering for you.

The front I/O panel is nice, alongside the usual 2 x 3.0 USB / HD audio ports is a USB 3.1 Type C input.

The only reason we didn’t rank it above the Phanteks pick is that the price-point of the PC-O11D is slightly higher. For most builds, to get as close to perfect as we can imagine in a white chassis, we think it’s worth it. But we appreciate that may not be the case for all mid-range builders.

Whether you’re looking for a white pc case for gaming, streaming, or business/personal use, this is an amazing tower with an unmatched ability to balance style, build quality, performance, internal layout, and price. If it gits in your budget, we highly recommend it.

Best Cheap White PC Case: NZXT H510

You might’ve already heard of the NZXT H510, and for good reasons.

This case is one of the most popular on the market. From a renowned case manufacturer, the slick style and great build quality (with price in mind) are what you expect from NZXT (and if you’re not short on budget, a great elite option is also available).

With a steel exterior and tempered glass window, the case not only feels impressively strong/secure for the price but offers decent space for popular components and an ATX motherboard.

There is less space for fans/water cooling than the top 2 choices. However, there is still more than enough to cover most building requirements (and 2 high-quality, albeit a tad noisy, fans included, really adding to the value).

Setup will be a joy if you’re a beginner too, NZXT has a tried and tested format of cable management in their cases which will give you good results without too much pain.

A nice addition to the front panel is a USB Type C connector alongside a single USB 3.1/headphone output (a slight shame there isn’t a second traditional USB port/audio output, but this likely isn’t an issue for most and can be substituted with an extender or a motherboard with plenty of ports).

One of the cheapest cases on the list, it’s impressive how the H510 retains a great level of quality, space, and ease of use. This is a fantastic option and easily our choice for the best budget white PC case on the market today.

Best White PC Case for Airflow (Premium Pick): Corsair 680X

The price may be steep, but oh boy, this case is worth it if you have the budget.

With an incredible, monolithic design, the 680X is striking in both its presentation and superb build quality and has been designed with a dual-chamber layout. This essentially means it has a large hidden compartment that hides your less attractive components (PSU, drives, and cabling).

Not only is this great for displaying your fancy GPU/motherboard, but it gives all components in the PC great airflow and install space.

Talking about airflow, this case is made for it! With room for up to 8 fans and 4 radiators (on top of the lack of PSU/drives hogging space in the main compartment), this case would really be ideal for high-spec gaming, editing, or production PC builds.

On top of that, the RGB edition of this case comes with 3 gorgeous LED RGB fans and the option to control them via a control panel (you could add more to fit into this system too).

In the second-chamber compartment hides an enormous array of quick-install drive bays, up to 3 x 3.5″ and 4 x 2.5″ drives can be installed within this, offering great storage options for anyone looking at a server/media center build.

The 680X is a huge ATX case that will support the most popular parts and even hosts compatibility for some E-ATX motherboards if you are inclined to purchase something that large.

With the 680X, you’re really getting what you pay for. If you have the money, this is the most impressive case on the list and is a fantastic option if you’re looking to build a very high-spec rig.

Best White Micro ATX Case: Corsair 280X

If you’re looking for a white mini-tower, Corsair has created a fantastic smaller brother to the 680X.

The 280X boasts a lot of similar great layout choices to our favorite high-end pick. With a dual-chamber system build that allows you to hide your drives, PSU, and cables; allowing more space for airflow and larger GPU/motherboard parts in the main section.

Bear in mind, of course, this case is designed for mini tower builds so be sure to check your part dimensions. But for a Micro ATX tower, it offers some impressive space and you’ll be able to manage certain dual-GPU builds.

Cooling is also very impressive for the small form factor, with up to 6 fans being installed (and 2 included, controllable LED RGB fans if you choose the RGB edition) and the capability to host multiple 240mm liquid cooling radiators. It’s hard to imagine needing more for a Micro ATX build even if you add very pricey hardware inside.

We may be focussed on the best white tower cases, but make no mistake; as far as Micro ATX cases go at this price range, the 280X is one of the best out of all the possible choices.

Best Cheap White Micro ATX Case: darkFlash DLM22

The DLM22 is a decent mATX alternative if the 280X is outside of your price range/style preference.

The case includes good cooling options, with up to 6 fans and 240mm radiator support; not to mention decent cable management. Some of the layout may cause the airflow to be sub-optimal but this isn’t too uncommon in mini-tower cases.

The design is wonderfully simplistic, while not quite the same build quality as the 280X, you’re still getting a tempered glass panel (which is also a magnetic door, nice and convenient during the build process).

One thing we want to call out is the complaints from customers of quality control on this one, a small portion has been receiving defective models (as is often common with cheaper cases).

Your warranty will protect you against this if you are unlucky; but of course, this is something nobody wants to go through and you may be able to minimize the risk with some of the other options available in this list.

Don’t be put off by some of the negative points here if they don’t mean too much to your specific build, as far as value goes, the DLM22 is fantastic and if you’re looking for a cheap white micro ATX case, this is certainly the best option available.

Best White Mini ITX Case: inWin A1 Plus

For those of you set on building a tiny white computer tower, inWin has created a very attractive offering with the A1 plus.

This case really shines in the design department, made out of a very attractive SECC steel exterior and tempered glass window, the whole unit sits on top of a transparent stand that hosts a set of addressable RGB lights. As you can see from the photo, this provides a very unique look; the case really looks fantastic on a desk.

For size, you have room for 2 x 2.5″ drives, 2 PCI-e slots, and reasonable dimensions allowing for a GPU of up to 320mm.

The front I/O panel rests on a gorgeous metal covering and has the standard ports (2 x USB 3 / audios, you’re unlikely to see more than this for an mITX case).

As far as the cooling goes, you’re of course not going to get the same levels as an ATX/mini-tower case. But for the size, it performs impressively and offers room for up to 4 x 120mm fans (with 2 high-quality ones included).

One thing to point out is that the provided PSU may not be well performant with high-spec builds. For most average mITX builds, the PSU should be fine. But if you have the budget and are trying to include the most powerful GPU that will fit, it may be worth purchasing a more reputable alternative (such as the Corsair SF series), and using the inWin provided PSU as a backup.

If the PSU factor isn’t offputting for you, this is our number one pick for the best white mini ITX case.

Best Cheap White Mini ITX Case: Thermaltake Core V1 Snow Edition

We really like this case, and have talked about it in another series and were very pleased to see the Snow Edition give our white builders an option.

The Core V1 is an impressive cheap white PC case. Still containing some steel exterior components and a ventilation setup similar to those of higher price.

The case comes with a pre-installed 200mm fan (very good for the price) and the option of 2 x 80mm fans on the rear, giving you a pretty decent option for cooling considering the tightness of the case.

The cube layout, while attractive and unique, means you will have to pay extra attention to ensuring your components will fit.

Similarly to our budget Micro ATX choice, there has been some feedback surrounding defective units of the V1. A large majority are fine and your warranty will cover replacement, but just bear this in mind if the risk of problems is something you want to avoid.

If your main case-purchase factor is price and your build can fit in a mITX case, this is arguably the best value white case available today.

Best Large E-ATX PC Case: Thermaltake “The Tower 900” Snow Edition

This thing is a beast.

If you’re looking for a white super tower case, Thermaltake has created a fantastic offering with a multitude of great features.

Similarly to the Thermaltake P series discussed below, The Tower 900 comes with a 3-way tempered-glass panel layout, designed to show off your components.

And speaking of components: you can fit a lot of hardware in here.

With CPU coolers of up to 260mm, multi-GPU compatibility of up to 400mm (+ vertical install options), and great modular drive design allowing you to install up to 1 x 5.25″, 6 x 3.5″ or 6 x 2.5″ (via drive cage) and 2 x 2.5″ (via HDD tray). It’s the best white case around for assembling some monstrous parts.

Like the 680X above, the case has a dual-chamber layout that is designed to “hide” the plainer components in the non-glass panel. In such a big case, this is really a nice feature. Not just from a design perspective, but also because it gives you the freedom to complete your ideal cable management without driving yourself too crazy on space allocation. Not to mention giving your GPU and CPU more room to breathe.

The Tower 900 really shines in the cooling department. This is easily our pick for the best white PC case for watercooling. Supporting up to 560mm dual radiators (for DIY units, this falls to 360 for AIO types, but still great). 

For air cooling, you can have up to 13 140mm fans installed around the case. This is one of the highest counts we have seen across all our case reviews.

The Front I/O control panel is well presented and includes the usual 2 x USB 3.0 / audio ports alongside an extra 2 x USB 2.0.

It’s worth bearing in mind that building an E-ATX tower of this magnitude can be quite an undertaking for a beginner. It’s certainly doable if your heart is set on creating some unstoppable hardware, but make sure to do some reading and have some patience once you come round to it.

The Tower 900 is not just good for someone with space, but any enthusiast  – be it for gaming, streaming or a large-scale production build – looking to create the most powerful tower they possibly can.

All this is why we rate it as the best white full tower case on the market today.

Best White PC Case for Wall Mounting: Thermaltake P3 Snow Edition

We raved about the Thermaltake P-series in our horizontal case article. It’s great news that they have created a white version of the fantastic P3.

Few cases can compete with the aesthetic of a P3 case once put together. With a tempered glass top, the case is designed to show off your components either horizontally or vertically. And if you’re looking to wall-mount, there is no case better than this.

The lack of side panels may be intimidating for some, just be sure to have this build on a desk/wall where nothing too heavy will fall on it (or a pet can get to it!) and there won’t be a problem.

The P3 boasts great space for airflow, ATX motherboards, and decent-sized GPUs. Not to mention modularity to the design that gives you good cable management and some decent flexibility in where each component goes (as of course, Thermaltake are aware you need to get it looking just the way you want it with the level of visibility).

If that modularity sounds intimidating to you, the case is also deceptively simple to set up. This is largely due to the removable glass plate that means you have very little physical barrier while completing your build, something that can be a pain with traditional cases.

The front I/O panel is also nice – including 2 x USB 2.0 on top of the usual 2 x USB 3.0 / audio ports.

If you’re looking for a white case to show off your beautiful PC hardware, this comes as one of our top recommendations.

Best Budget White PC Case Alternative: Thermaltake S500 Snow Edition

We may have a lot of Thermaltake offerings in this list, but with all their excellent snow editions, it’s hard not to rate them for white PC options.

At a decent price with both a 140mm and 120mm fan pre-installed, the S500 is really great for value. Boasting a gorgeous simplistic design and open-up window case for ease of access (much superior to screws!). The case is made from high-quality (albeit slightly thin) steel.

The space for cooling and components are decent, with a lot of customizable sizes available for air or water cooling (but to simplify, room for 5 fans, 2 x large radiators and 1 x small) and GPUs up to 400mm (including vertical riser).

We’ve talked about the S500 here as an ATX/mid-tower option, but if you’re looking smaller, consider the S300 or S100.

Overall the S500 is great if you’re looking for a bit of size, cooling customization, and style while not breaking the bank – we this is a great option for a budget gaming PC case.

Alternative White ATX Case: Corsair iCue 220T RGB

This Corsair offering impressively balances value with a unique, high-quality design.

Underneath the cool mesh-like front panel includes 3 pre-installed RGB fans with 8 adjustable LEDs per fan; allowing you to really customize the coloring of the case.

There’s a focus on presentation here. With removable dust filters, room for cable management, hidden PSU bay, and a tempered glass window/steel exterior. Again, rather impressive for the price point.

One thing to point out for this case is its rather tight for a mid-tower. Depending on your requirements this might attract you, but know this is definitely one you should research part size on before starting on an ATX build inside it.

That being said, the unit still accommodates up to 6 fans, 3 radiators, and 2 x 3.5 ” / 2 x 2.5 ” drives.

You’ll see from the above that the iCue 220T really is a fantastic value offering, if you’re keen on its design, know that this wasn’t too far from taking our “budget choice” and is definitely still a great buy for those looking for a cheap white PC case.

Alternative White Budget ATX Case: Fractal Design Focus G

We love Fractal cases. They are one of the best chassis manufacturers in the business and their offerings have been featured many, many times What in Tech (like our horizontal and quiet PC case reviews).

Here they’ve created a very popular offering at a very cheap price in a white and black PC case design.

The case offers pretty decent/standard space availability for its size, with 2 x dedicated 5.25″ brackets (not many cases these days have 2 of these if this is helpful to you), 2 x 2.5″ / 3.5″ drives, and 1 x 2.5″ dedicated drive.

With up to 6 fans, the Focus G comes pre-installed with 2 x Silent Series LL 120 mm LED fans set to white for a great contrasting look against the black front mesh panel. You can also trust the “silent” in the name as Fractal cases and fans are fantastic at low noise output (though bear in mind that that isn’t the specific focus of this case).

The Focus G, with its included fans, runs at a very impressive price-point. With that, unfortunately, comes complaints from users who receive defective models of various sorts. While this isn’t the case for a majority of customers, if you don’t want the risk of having to deal with warranty fix lead times, you may want to consider a more expensive case.

That being said with a history of great products and a unique design, this Fractal model is a great offering for someone with a limited budget who is after a white PC case with fans included.

Best White PC Case Without Window: EVGA DG-77 / DG-75

Update: We originally wrote this white PC case review highlight the DG-77. however, it seems to be sporadic in availability, if you like the look of this case, a great alternative is the similar DG-75 model, just check it still meets your space requirements.

Picking the top choices was hard for this selection because the DG-77 is only a touch behind our other top picks for a jack-of-all-trades PC case.

Designed to be the best white gaming PC case, the ATX mid-tower boasts space for most sizes of PSU, GPUs, and cooling solutions (with fans included/room for up to 7 and 360mm radiator support for water cooling). The case includes removable PCI brackets should you not require them, which will give you a good advantage for increased airflow/space.

A nice unique feature for the price point is the K-boost button on the front panel, which allows users to enable overclocking of their GPUs/CPUs with a single press (most systems can dynamically control overclocked components based on what you are doing, but it’s nice to have the option if you want to switch it on manually for gaming/editing/video and off for lower activity).

Alongside the K-boost panel is a standard but sleek I/O port set (2 x USB 3.0 / audio outputs).

Presentation is a real focus here without sacrificing space and airflow, with spacious hidden areas for the PSU/HDDs and cable management as well as dust filters to avoid build-up.

The case’s build quality is fantastic. With 3 sides of tempered glass surrounding the case’s well-built interior (not many cases are designed in this format, giving it a very unique presentation). EVGA has also included the rack kit/option for a vertical GPU install, giving you the opportunity to really show off your graphics card through the fantastic glass layout.

It stands out well as a windowless white PC case, which is nice for a unique aesthetic (though if you’re after noise reduction, we recommend the next pick).

The case’s EVGA logo lights up beautifully with software control options to manage the RGB LED lighting (alongside your other EVGA RGB parts if available).

If you like the look or features of this case over our other top picks, then we say don’t hesitate in picking it up instead! It’s a fantastic option for a white gaming PC setup or stylish production PC!

Best Quiet White PC Case: be Quiet! Pure Base 500

And last but by no means least, we wanted to include a case that is focussed on low decibels for those of you looking for noise reduction (for the quietest PC cases of any color, check our deep dive).

From a high-quality german manufacturer known for quality quiet cases, the Pure Base 500 has lots of great quiet-focussed features, to name a few:

  • Windowless design (necessary for optimal reduction).
  • Insulation mats surrounding the inside of the panels for further noise dampening.
  • 2 pre-installed “silent” pre-wing fans (great quality).

…all within a very decent price-point. This would be a great choice for a studio recording PC, streaming build extra focussed on silence, or if you’re like me, and simply like a PC that doesn’t sound like an airplane.

This white desktop case isn’t just about silence, boasting a decent size for components (including up to 5 SSDs/decent GPU size), cable management options, and a layout that can accommodate up to 5 additional fans on top of the 2 already installed.

On top of all that, the case is gorgeous, It’s covered in aluminum (albeit fairly thin) and the front has a nice finish that gives the case a great look. The Fron I/O panel is also slick and well presented (with standard 2 x USB 3.0 / audio ports).

If you’re looking for the uitest white PC case to host your next silent build without hitting your wallet too hard, then you won’t find better than the Pure Base 500.

What's Next?

The 10 Best Horizontal PC Cases in 2021

Horizontal PC Case

The 10 Best Horizontal PC Cases in 2021

Kaelum Ross

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Jan 2, 2021

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I know what you’re thinking:

“Where are all the horizontal cases amongst the thousands of vertical options?”.

Up-front cases rule the market, and it’s difficult to find a good sideways case for all of you looking for something a little different for your next HTPC, VR, gaming, or server build.

But fear not, they do exist! And were going to breakdown the best horizontal computer cases available on the market for that unique aesthetic.

 Table of Contents
 

A note on size

Before we jump in, it’s important to note that most horizontal cases are on the smaller end of the scale. Whether you’re looking for a full tower or a mini/mid-range case, we’ve covered all the options below. Just remember to check that the dimensions of the parts you’re looking at will fit.

So, without further ado:

Best Overall: SilverStone Technology GD09B

Offering both style and substance at a great price point, the GD09B really excels on multiple levels.

From a company that has specialized in building horizontal PC cases for over a decade, the GD09B has an impressive space for parts considering its overall dimensions and horizontal layout, being able to support up to an ATX motherboard.

An impressive 7 expansion slots are available for the case. With support for 1 x 5.25″ external and 2 x 3.5″/ 1 x 2.5″ internal drives, there is decent room for your various storage requirements.

Remember that with the compact nature of most horizontal cases, you may have to decide what is most important to you (e.g. it’s possible you may need a smaller fan or two in place if you require all of the above drive slots).

The case is surrounded by decent ventilation, which combined with the reasonable size, allows for builds to run cool with good airflow. This is the ideal pick for a Home Theatre PC/HTPC case where you will be able to keep fans at a lower speed due to the natural cooling capabilities of the chassis (you can also consider smaller water cooling options).

The GD09B is a great, unique looking case with fantastic build quality. Along the front of the case are 2 USB3.0 ports, audio inputs, and a very sleek looking drive bay. 

For horizontal desktop PC builds, this SilverStone offering ticks so many boxes. Considering it’s far from the most expensive on the list, it’s the amount of value demonstrated that makes it our top pick. If the design fits your idea of what you want from a horizontal motherboard PC case, we think you’ll love it.

Best Case Runner-Up: Cooler Master HAF XB EVO

We didn’t quite want to give this Cooler Master ATX unit the top horizontal case accolade partially due to it’s slightly more square/cube shape.

However, know that if this fits your idea of a horizontal case, you’re going to be in for a treat, This thing is a beast.

Somehow this unit manages to carry capacity for up to 2 x 5.25″ drives, 4 x 3.5″ drives, and 4 x 2.5″ drives. If you don’t need all that in your build, then that’s simply more room for other parts to breathe/fit!

Designed with great airflow in mind, the case has room for plenty of air cooling (up to 5 fans, with 2 XtraFlo fans pre-installed) and/or space for water cooling radiators.

The case includes the usual front I/O panel connectors (2 x USB3.0/audio ports) and boasts a build largely made from steel, the feel/quality of the HAF XB EVO is superb.

One big plus for novice builders: this case was designed for you. Some features have been included to make the build of your PC with the HAF XB EVO as easy as possible, most notably screwless installation and a removable motherboard tray (trust us, trying to install a PC in a more compact case can be a pain, so this is a massive plus!).

With a balance of great cooling, space, ease of use, and high-quality build/design, the HAF XB is simply a fantastic option all-round.

Best Premium Horizontal Case: Thermaltake Core P5 V2

This Thermaltake range is quite special, we were very close to ranking this as the best overall case despite its high price-point.

With a full-glass design, once you have installed your components in the Core P5, it is truly a sight to behold and one of the most beautiful presentations available on today’s market.

The legs are fully removable, allowing this case to look as good horizontally as it does vertically.

There is plenty of space to play with when building here and a fantastic array of modular options. Thermaltake is aware that when you buy this case you’re trying to build a PC that is fully visible, so the ability to install various HDDs, drives, and other components in various positions are well available, not to mention the amount of space in here for a high quantity of all of them!

With the great design of this case, comes the recommendation to include water cooling if possible. Given the high visibility, you’ll be conscious in wanting to avoid dust, and building air cooling will cause more of that (if you want to go down this route, however, the excellent cabling management capabilities should allow you to clear decent airflow paths and keep it relatively clean).

The front I/O panel is well presented and has 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0 plus HD audio inputs.

This case may look intimidating to assemble, but it is actually quite a beginner-friendly unit, with the ability to detach the glass during your build, in many ways, this makes the overall process a lot easier than traditional PC cases!

Thermaltake Core P1 vs P3 vs P5 vs P7 vs P8 vs P90:

Here we’ve focussed on P5 as the main choice, but there are other great options for this range. Note that all of these cases support horizontal placing.

Aside from the obvious presentation differences (especially the P90 beast…), the biggest differences here are in the size/form factor.

If you have the budget, we cannot speak highly enough of the Thermaltake P series, and the P5 stands as a case that will tick boxes for nearly every horizontal mobo builder (especially style!).

Best Budget Horizontal PC Case: Thermaltake Core G3

I know, I know, the picture shows a vertical case.

But the beauty of the G3 is that it’s designed for either vertical or horizontal placement.

The cheapest ATX case on our list, this Thermaltake offering still provides impressive performance for the price-point.

Designed to be a horizontal gaming PC option with consideration for compactness (think virtual reality or people with small media cabinets), the case is on the smaller side for an ATX but still offers 120mm / 240mm water cooling options and/or 3 fans, with 2 front fans pre-installed. This is less than a lot of the other builds, so bear this in mind if you wanted to have lots of fans in your build.

The front I/O panel is great and surprisingly offers more than many others on this list – with 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0 / standard audio ports.

Note that as the G3 was designed to be very slim PC case by ATX standards, you will likely not have room for other PCI-e cards outside of your GPU (however, the case comes with options to fit your GPU in vertically, giving you more control over space for the most demanding component).

Overall, if you are looking for a cheap Horizontal PC case and don’t have the largest of components to install, the G3 is a great option for your horizontal build.

Wanting something cheap and looking even smaller? We have more options for you below.

Best Horizontal Micro ATX Case: SilverStone ML04

We’re back to SilverStone for the best horizontal microATX computer case.

With a very high-quality steel/aluminum mix build and compact form, this unit durable and looks fantastic on display.

We’re getting into the smaller builds now, so don’t expect to be able to fit a huge GPU and motherboard in here!

However, we like this case because it still manages to offer some good internal space given its tight external dimensions (440 mm (W) x 105 mm (H) x 350 mm (D)).

This includes drive allotment for 1 x 5.25 ” external, 2 x 3.5″ and 1 x 2.5″ internal; space for 4 x 80mm fans and 4 x low profile / 1 x utility expansion slots.

Sure, this may not sound like much compared to some of the others above, but for the size? It’s impressive. And with its ventilation, if you can keep down the cabling and components not needed, you’ll manage decent airflow too.

SilverStone even suggests you can install traditional ATX/PS2 PSUs up to 140mm – impressive considering even when many vertical Micro ATX cases don’t support these.

Standard front-panel with 2 x USB 3.0 ports and audio inputs (for mATX and microITX, you won’t find more than this).

Overall, if you’re looking for a wide PC case for your micro ATX build, we don’t think you’ll find better than this.

Best Horizontal Mini-ITX Case: Fractal Design Node 202

As you may know from our silent PC case picks, we’re big fans of Fractal Design.

With the Node 202, they’ve managed to create an incredibly attractive, low-volume case that would be perfect as a horizontal gaming PC case for those looking for a console-sized portable alternative.

Despite the compactness, there is still decent room for a powerful GPU (PCI-E riser card include, supporting up to 310mm in length!) to go alongside your mITX motherboard (just remember to check dimensions as we get into such tiny builds).

The front I/O panel is the standard for small builds – 2 x USB 3.0 and audio inputs.

The inner layout provides decent ventilation for both the CPU and GPU, as well as offering 2 x 120mm fan mount options and 3 included dust filters.

Fractal are simply one of the best manufacturers of PC cases today, if you’re going for a mini-ITX build, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something so visually pleasing, high-quality, spacious (yet compact) and impressively low cost as the Design Node 202 – for this specific form factor, this one feels like a no-brainer. 

Best Large / E-ATX Horizontal Case: SilverStone GD08

A third SilverStone case in this list may seem like a lot, but they’re masters of the flat PC case for a reason.

If your budget/space allows, we would recommend the Thermaltake P7 discussed above within our P5 pick. But overall, the value of the GD08 is fantastic.

Not only do you get the high-build quality (including aluminum front-panel) that you expect from SilverStone, but also an incredible roomy environment (for a horizontal PC) that will give you the freedom to effectively balance airflow, cable management, and beefy components (with 7 expansion slots, up to 6 fans of varying sizes and good PSU/GPU compatibility).

The front panel is quite basic with standard audio inputs and 2 x USB 3.0 (would’ve been nice to see 4 USB ports on a case this size, but not a big deal considering most larger motherboards have plenty).

The case also has decent measures to allow for an easy build, with the entire top being removable, you get good access into a big space for the parts (I know we’ve talked about space a lot, but if you have the room, it really makes life a whole lot easier when building and managing temperature).

The size and quality of the GD08 make it a superb option if you’re looking to build a horizontal gaming build or large-scale media center/server PC.

More Options:

The above are our top picks, but if you’re looking for a few other options, we’ve included ones we’d still recommend for your next extra wide PC case.


Budget Horizontal ITX Case: Thermaltake Core V1

This tiny little cube was a decent second place for our “best mini-ITX” slot. It’s one of the most recommended ITX cases on What in Tech and is worth considering if you like the look (note there is also a great looking white option available too).

At a very impressive low pricepoint (one of the cheapest on the list), the Core V1 still manages to boast a great build quality, with some steel components and a ventilation setup designed to get the most cooling out of the tiny space (up to 3 fans with 1 200mm one included, very impressive for the price point).

Bear in mind while the cooling isn’t bad, you can only do so well with such a small setup! If you’re looking to run something monstrous, look at some of the larger cases above.

The front I/O panel is standard, with 2 x USB 3.0 / audio inputs.

Given the layout and the “tiny cube” design, it isn’t necessarily the friendliest to all PC component shapes/sizes and you’ll need to be careful about the dimensions of your parts for this one (you’re certainly not fitting the large PSU/GPUs in here!).

It’s worth calling out that some users have seen quality issues with the Core V1 which is why we didn’t give it a top pick. With a 3 year warranty, if you’re one of the unlucky ones, you’ll be covered; but this is, of course, a risk that many would rather pay more money not to go through.

If your budget is tight and you’re confident that your build will fit, this case is a very impressive value offering and will give you a very unique presentation compared to your peers!

Alternative Slim PC Case: Antec VSK2000

Another vertical/horizontal hybrid option, this mini-tower is a cheap case for those on a budget.

It comes with the standard 2 x 3.0 USB/audio I/O ports and a slick glossy black design.

The VSK2000 comes with a little less space for extras than our other Micro-ATX picks (4 expansion slots, 1 x 5.25″, 1 x 3.5″, and 1 x 2.5″ drives) and little room for air cooling (but one front fan included).

Despite this, the case seems to manage decent airflow, likely due to its decent ventilation and cable management options.

If you have a very minimalist build, a low budget, and are attracted to a small case for a micro-ATX build, the Antec VSK2000 will be a good choice for you.


Alternative Mini PC Case: In-Win CE685

Lastly on our top 10 list is the In-Win CE685, a MicroATX dual vertical/horizontal case.

At a cheap price point, the case offers good value for those balancing compactness and space.

A nice addition is the 4 x USB ports on the front I/O panel, many of its mATX competitors only offer 2.

The case has space for 1 x 5.25″, 2 x 3.5″ & 1 x 2.5 (pretty standard for its size).

There is one included fan and not too much room to add more. However, the case still seems to manage good airflow (possibly because at this size, you’re not going to be installing too many hot parts!).

Much of the case boasts a toolless design (aside the MB/PSU installs) so it would be a nice beginner pick.

Although not our top pick as we think the other MicroATX options are superior, if this case grabs your eye, it is still a great all-rounder and would make for a good horizontal case.

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Should You Buy or Build a Gaming PC in 2020?​

buy or build gaming PC

Should You Buy or Build a Gaming PC?

Kaelum Ross

I

Apr 22, 2020

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Oh boy, here we go!

A battle that has raged for decades. “Should I build a PC vs “should I buy a pre-built PC”, I hear you debating to yourself.

Trust me, we’ve all been there, and you’ll hear strong arguments on both sides of the fence; everyone has an opinion on this.

It may seem like a difficult decision to commit to when there are very contrasting views available. What’s more, if you’ve read/heard someone say there is a definitive answer to this question, they’re lying.

However:

We can easily find the answer that is right for your circumstances.

Today, we’re going to breakdown the build vs buy questions and get the answer right for you.

Let’s start with the obvious one:

Is it cheaper to build or buy a gaming PC?

Building is (usually) cheaper.

“How much cheaper is it?” I hear you ask: typically in the range of a 10-20%, sometimes more. Due to the lack of manufacturer assembling the PC parts, there is no “middle-man” trying to profit from the build service.

The cost savings become more impactful as you reach higher price points, in fact, if your budget is very limited (say a couple of hundred dollars) a pre-built will very likely work out similar in price. Here’s a graph to represent, because who doesn’t love a graph!

However:

It’s worth noting that this isn’t always the case. Companies can also get great wholesale discounts on PC components that drive their pre-build units down, you may also run into individual parts costing you more than they usually would during exceptional periods of certain low supply or high demand.

There are a bunch of articles titled “why buying a pre-built PC is cheaper than building one yourself”.

You should know nearly these of all originated in 2018 when GPU prices spiked dramatically due to cryptocurrency mining and that this information is outdated.

PC hardware manufacturers right now are healthily competitive and prices for components (particularly CPUs and GPUs, the two largest expenses) are looking a lot better than a couple of years ago.

By all means, compare the build you’re looking at if you want to be sure on which is better (if a pre-built option is available), but as a rule of thumb: self-built > pre-built for your wallet. If your principle concern is cost/maximizing a certain budget for the best performance, get building!

Time is money

Sure, you can probably save money by building a PC.

But what about the time spent?

It will likely take you 5-10 hours to put your first build together, you need to:

  1. Identify the parts you want.
  2. Confirm that they are all compatible/complementary (size, power, the motherboard isn’t going to bottleneck the CPU, etc.).
  3. Watch some build tutorials.
  4. And of course, the assembly itself (including OS installation).

If you value your time per hour at a certain monetary level, there will be a point where buying a pre-build becomes more “valuable” than a self-built PC.

Many who enjoy the build process would argue that this time isn’t work so it’s a false equivalency, but what do you think?

If this is a busy time in your life and you were looking for a gaming PC to use the few spare hours you do have for high-quality entertainment, then you should look at a pre-built.

After all, the cost you pay on top is for convenience. Similar to heading to your local coffee shop for that quick latte (where are the “self-built vs pre-built coffee” articles!?)

Perhaps the thought of doing the above task list is stressing you out (or not exciting you in the slightest). If that’s the case, look at a pre-built.

Your budget vs your expectations

Last point on the money topic, what are you looking to get out of your build for your budget?

Let’s say you have a strict limit of $700:

Do you want the PC to run Red Dead Redemption 2 and Far Cry 5 at an acceptable framerate/resolution?

Or are you looking for a computer that could manage Fortnite, League of Legends, Fallout 4, and other slightly older, less graphic-intensive games?

If the latter, you’ll have the flexibility to buy a pre-built if you prefer.

If the former, you need to squeeze your cash to its maximum potential and will likely need to build yourself.

Now that we have the money question out of the way, let’s look at some others:

Why you should build your own PC

The joy of the build

You’ve just finished putting all of your parts together after hours of assembly, you press the power button…

… and you hear the whir of the fans and the lights of the case come to life – Feels like magic!

Aside from the cost, this is what really motivates people to build – there is a certain rush to knowing you put the machine together yourself and for many (myself included) this alone is worth the additional time investment.

Hone your skills

It may not be hard to pick up, but building a PC is not something everyone knows how to do, and it’s very freeing knowing for yourself first hand that it’s not that hard.

Not only does building a PC now set you up for being able to do other builds further down the line, but once you know how everything fits together (how your RAM connects to your motherboard, how to screw your SSD into the case, etc.), you’ll be in a great position to upgrade parts in the future.

If you’re serious about gaming you’ll likely want to upgrade in 1-3 years time (e.g. GPU) so this will come in handy sooner than you think.

Not to mention the bragging rights of having a PC that you’ve built yourself. Just be careful not to be too proud of your accomplishment or you’ll end up being tech support for all of your friends and family!

Choose your destiny

When you think of your dream PC, do you have something very specific in mind?

Perhaps you want the pink darkFlash Micro ATX case combined with an RGB motherboard and a red XFX GPU.

Well, you might have a problem if you wanted to buy that pre-built (other than your brave design choices).

Pre-built PCs will usually have a limited amount of configurations available.

This isn’t just aesthetic, you’d be limited in what parts you want to pick in terms of specification too.

What about Operating System? Perhaps you want Linux or something less standard?

OS will nearly always be Windows for pre-builts (and may also come with undesired additional software (i.e. bloatware) that will slow your PC down).

There are some companies out there that will effectively build anything for you if you provide them the shopping list, but these services are going to come with a much higher premium.

In addition, if you’re the sort of person who likes to customize often, it’s worth bearing in mind that the warranty of a pre-built PC will likely be void if you tamper with anything (though I expect a majority of you would not upgrade your PC over the warranty period anyway).

If your heart is set on a unique configuration, I push you towards building yourself.

Why you should buy a pre-built PC

The pain of the build

You’ve just finished putting all of your parts together after hours of assembly, you press the power button and…

…you hear nothing.

This happened to me on my first ever build (many years ago…) it was an easy problem to fix but that pit-in-stomach sensation is not great!

If you want to build a PC, you should know it isn’t hard and you shouldn’t be intimidated, but it is certainly still possible to make mistakes.

If you’re buying a pre-built, there is a comfort knowing you’re purchasing a tried and tested product with no risk of incompatible parts or incorrect setup.

What’s more, building your own PC puts you at the risk of damaging the parts (perhaps you bend a motherboard pin or something is hit with static electricity), you’ll have a hard time getting any support/warranty claims if something like this happens (again, these things are unlikely if you’re careful, but they’re worth pointing out for those of you watching your blood pressure).

The warranty advantage

An often-overlooked factor is that your warranty for a pre-built PC is for the whole unit, not for individual parts.

Let’s say you’ve built your own computer:

6 months in, your PC starts to crash to the point where it’s unusable.

What do you do?

  1. Rummage through google to see if you can identify the common symptoms of the crashing (if you’re lucky, you’ll find out).
  2. If that doesn’t work, you’re going to have to obtain replacement parts to swap out one-by-one and identify which PC component is causing the issue.

Both of these take time (especially point 2) and aren’t fun.

On the other hand, your pre-built PC breakdown 6 months after purchase?

You send it back to the company and they’re obliged to take those steps for you.

Bear in mind that sometimes (but certainly not always), individual parts will have longer warranties, but don’t underestimate the convenience value of not having to troubleshoot the issues yourself. These problems can take a LOT of time to resolve.

Decision time

So, let’s summarize:

If you are not too interested in the process or are busy/value your time more than the cost savings you can get building yourself – then go and get yourself a shiny new pre-built PC!

Or:

If you are very keen on cost-saving and have a genuine interest in the process of building and developing a unique configuration, then look here everyone – we found ourselves a new PC builder!

Still on the fence? let me make one thing very clear:

Both options are great! Have you already spent multiple hours on this decision, anxious about making the wrong choice? If that’s the case: go with your gut.

Reading through the points here, which side aligns with you more? Does the thought of building fill you with excitement or dread?

My recommendation? This article likely comes across more in favor of building a PC, because it is.

I think if you’ve read this far, chances are you would probably get a kick out of the build process and have a skill you’ll take into the future, giving you more confidence for upgrades and troubleshooting problems (not to mention the joys of a more powerful PC for your budget!).

I’ll reiterate one last time: There is no “wrong choice”: pre-built or self-built, I promise you that you’ll have a great time investing in a new PC

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