The 15 Best PC Cases of 2021
Jan 2, 2021
We’ve been through a lot of cases on What in Tech.
But after 100s of PC case reviews, which stand out as the top choices?
Today’s feature is here to guide you through the best computer cases for gaming, general use, streaming, and production requirements (e.g. video editing) in all shapes, sizes, and budgets.
- Overall Best PC Case: Lian Li PC-011 Dynamic
- Best PC Case for Quiet Builds: Fractal Design Define R5
- Best PC Case for Airflow: Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Airflow Edition
- Best Budget PC Case: Phanteks Eclipse P300A Mesh
- Best PC Case for Watercooling & Large Builds: Thermaltake Tower 900
- Cheapest PC Case for Gaming: Cooler Master N200
- Best Micro ATX Case: Thermaltake S100
- Best Mini ITX Case: Thermaltake Core V1
Best of the Rest: Quick-Fire Picks
- Best Dual System PC Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 1000D
- Alternative High-End PC Case: Thermaltake Core P8
- Most Unique PC Case: Antec Torque
- Best Mid-Range Budget Alternative: Phanteks P400
- Best High-End Micro ATX Case: Corsair Crystal 280X
- Best Mini ITX Premium Case: SilverStone LD03B
- Best Mini ITX Case Alternative: InWin A1 Plus
Overall Best PC Case: Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic
What a fantastic PC case this is.
From one of the best tower manufacturers in the business today; the PC-011 is simply incredible at balancing everything most users want: build quality, design, internal features, and airflow all at a fantastic mid-range price-point.
Starting with aesthetic: the PC-011 is not done justice by stock photos.
We also gave the PC-011 the best looking PC case accolade. With an exterior made of beautifully finished thick aluminum and dual full-length tempered glass windows, it has the nicest build quality in its price range (as durable as it is beautiful).
The tower looks slick on its own, but what really gives it such a unique presentation is how a completed, powered-on build looks with the case’s fantastic internal visibility (this feature’s cover photo is an example, but the chassis looks even better in person). We love how much aesthetic customization you have here; you can go all out with an RGB lighting build, or something more minimalist. Either way, the chassis looks great.
Many of the PC-011’s competitors will just have a half-length window on the side only (with a PSU shroud at the bottom). The full-length windows on 2 sides may seem daunting if you’re a novice builder and can’t hide your cables at the bottom, but the PC-011 is a dual-chamber PC case. This means it has an additional compartment behind the motherboard designed for your “uglier” parts (think PSUs, drives, and cable management). Not only does this mean that you can get an incredibly clean aesthetic in the main chamber, but your primary parts will have more room to breathe/benefit from better airflow.
But this is far from just a beautiful chassis.
The PC-011 is an ATX PC case, with great space inside for:
- 8 expansion slots
- 2 x 3.5″ + 4 x 2.5″ drive bays
- GPU length up to 420mm (more than enough room for mainstream cards, and one of the best PC cases for RTX 3070, 3080 & 3090 graphics cards)
- I/O front panel that includes a USB3.1 Type-C
We think the PC-011 is the best ATX case for gaming available, with its excellent space for GPU installation/breathing room, more than enough storage capacity (hidden in the second chamber for a clean setup), and a beautiful aesthetic to show off your fancy hardware.
But the cherry on top for its gaming capability (or even someone more focussed on production), is the cooling. With up to:
- 9 x 120mm fans
- 1 x 360mm, 1 x 280mm & 1 x 240mm radiators
This is a fantastic allotment for the dimensions of the case. Bear in mind that’s on top of the dual-chamber design that already gives you a great internal layout for ventilation.
We’ve included a choice below that we consider the best case for airflow, but the PC-011 really does have everything most builders will need in this respect. The fact that Lian Li has also managed to create such a beautiful and durable offering alongside its internal feature/cooling capability at a mid-range price is simply fantastic.
The last PC case you’ll need for a long time, we consider the PC-011 to be the best computer tower on the market today to satisfy most builder’s needs and simply can’t recommend it enough.
Best PC Case for Quiet Builds: Fractal Design Define R5
Now, as much as we love the PC-011, there is one competitor that makes the top computer case spot a very close race.
Fractal Design has been at the peak of the case manufacturing game for years, and their flagship Define R series has been refined over many iterations to the R5 which, without a doubt, is the best quiet PC case in the mid-range price point.
If you are more inclined towards a minimalist PC case, the R5 shines in aesthetic. With a beautiful, sophisticated steel build surrounding most of its exterior (the front is plastic to retain lightness when opening the front panel, but has a beautiful metal finish).
Fractal are the masters of the quiet computer case. The R5 is the epitome of that; with its windowless design and powerful sound-dampening materials throughout. Even with a powerful gaming/production rig running inside, you can expect to have something very close to silence.
The best part about all of the low-decibel capability? The R5 is still an excellent PC case for cooling. Many towers dedicated to quietness compromise by running hotter, but this Fractal offering still records excellent low temps in benchmarks, with capacity for:
- Up to 9 x 140mm fans with 2 top-quality Fractal Design Dynamic GP-14 fans (designed for silent builds) included
- Or up to 420mm top, 360mm side, 240mm bottom & 140mm rear radiators
This is a fantastic allotment, with both water cooling and fan cooling builders having great options here with the R5 being one of the best PC cases for overclocking if you also don’t want your setup to sound like a jet engine.
While you don’t need the hyper-clean internals that a window PC case demands, the R5 still has some decent cable routing facilities to keep your internal ventilation going well.
This Fractal chassis is a mid-tower case, with room inside for:
- 7 expansion slots
- VGA card lengths up to 310mm (enough space for most GPUs, but can be expanded up to 440mm with HDD cage removal)
- 8 x 3.5″ / 2.5″, 2 x 2.5″ & 2 x 5.25″ drive bays
- Decent, easy to use dust filters
- Minimalist I/O top panel including USB 3.0, 2.0 & a fan controller (perfect to control noise depending on your task).
The R5 is one of the top computer cases for gaming; but as you can see from the incredible storage space, this would also be an excellent production chassis if your work demands a large quantity of hard drives (think video editors, rendering, etc.).
All-in-all, what makes the Define R5 so impressive is how it pretty much ticks all of the boxes.
It’s well-built, beautifully minimalist, runs cool, has one of the best sound-dampening setups, and has great internal room for whatever your build demands.
And all of that comes at a mid-range price?
If you like the idea of a quieter PC case, or simply prefer the aesthetic over the PC-011, know this is easily one of the best mid-tower cases that has ever been produced.
Best PC Case for Airflow: Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Airflow Edition
Next up is one of our favorite offerings from perhaps the biggest PC case brand today.
Corsair’s 750D Airflow Edition is, as the name suggests, a case designed to offer the best ventilation and cooling for mid-range builders.
While the PC-011 and Define R5 has excellent cooling capabilities in their own right for gaming/production use, the 750D is even more impressive if decent airflow is your single most important objective.
This case has been around for several years simply because it hasn’t needed any serious refinement (why fix what ain’t broke?). With a build quality consisting of aluminum, high-quality steel, and tempered glass; the 750D is very durable and has a balanced aesthetic between the high visibility vs minimalist designs of our top two picks (with still enough window space for you to show off your beautiful internal hardware).
One of the best full tower PC cases on the market, you have room for:
- E-ATX motherboard compatibility
- 9 x expansion slots
- GPU length clearance up to 450mm
- 3 x optical/5.25″, 4 x 2.5″ & 6 x 2.5″ / 3.5″ hybrid drive bays
As you can probably tell, there is some serious room in this case for a powerful build; be it for gaming, streaming, or other high-end usages.
You’ll have no issues fitting mainstream graphics cards inside. Tied with its great airflow, this is one of the best PC cases for RTX 3080, 3090, or 3070 overclocking.
Speaking of airflow, this is what this 750D edition was designed to excel in, with:
- Up to 5 x 140mm and 4 x 120mm fans (with 3 top quality 140mm fans included)
- Or up to 1 x 360mm, 1 x 280mm & 1 x 140mm radiators
Not only are these cooling specs great, but you’re combining it with a case design that is internally and externally very well equipped for ventilation & cable management. You can achieve some really excellent temps in the 750D (and you certainly don’t need to max out the fan/radiator count to do so, the generously included 3 140mm fans would be enough to get a build up and running).
While we give the overall top PC case edge to the Lian Li and Fractal offerings, you can probably see why we still hold the 750D in high regard.
If your focus is on ensuring ventilation for a beastly setup, or if you prefer the balanced aesthetic of this Corsair offering, then know it’s one of the best full tower cases on the market today.
Best Budget PC Case: Phanteks Eclipse P300A Mesh
We appreciate some readers will be looking for the best cheap PC case options for a budget build. Phanteks, another classic manufacturer, has a fantastic offering in the P300A Mesh.
While we do explore an even cheaper computer case further below (the N200), this Phanteks case represents the best compromise between running at a much cheaper price range, while still retaining what we believe any good budget gaming, streaming or general use build will want.
The build quality, while not up to quite the same level as our top 3 picks, is still very impressive for the price. With a full steel exterior and tempered glass side panel, it’s a surprisingly beautiful case when you compare it to other budget options. The full-length mesh front panel excellent way to provide additional ventilation without loading up on fan purchases (there is a non-mesh edition if you prefer the design, but we would go with mesh if you’re looking to cool as cheap as possible).
This is a budget ATX case, still boasting good room inside for:
- 7 x expansion slots
- 355mm GPU clearance (enough for nearly all mainstream cards)
- 2 x 2.5″ & 2 x 2.5″ / 3.5″ drive bays
With all the GPU and storage room we think anyone would need on a low wallet, this is easily one of the best budget PC cases for gaming.
Cooling-wise, you have room for:
- Up to 3 x 140mm + 1 x 120mm fans with 1 120mm fan included
- Or up to 1 x 280mm + 1 x 120mm radiator (could be combined with a 140mm fan)
While this capability isn’t as high as the more expensive options on the list, there is enough here to comfortably cool a budget gaming/streaming PC.
We like how even at this price range, with the case already being relatively high quality, you’re still getting an included fan. You’ll want an extra 1-2 fans for most builds, but with the mesh ventilation design, this is a great little runner.
If you’re looking for the best cheap PC case for gaming, or another classic budget build, this is the best you’ll find on the market today.
Best PC Case for Watercooling & Large Builds: Thermaltake Tower 900
Now, if you’re looking for something more high-end, perhaps for an extra-large PC or to liquid cool your premium gaming/production setup, the Tower 900 is one of the best options available to you.
Thermaltake is another fantastic brand in the chassis business. Amongst their many great offerings, the Tower 900 really stands out in so many ways.
Starting with its aesthetic/build quality: the 900 is dubbed the “fish tank pc case”, with a wonderfully thick SGCC steel exterior and 3 durable full-size tempered glass windows. This is one of the sturdiest clear PC cases available today. It’s built to last and has a commanding presence due to its huge size.
This is another chassis that isn’t done justice by stock photos. Not only does it have great visibility, but its also one of the best modular PC cases on the market, giving you incredible customization capability in how you setup your parts/cooling, you can get an amazing look. On top of that, the Tower 900 is a dual-chamber case, with room in the second hidden compartment for your cables, power supply, and drives (to hide away for aesthetic and ventilation purposes).
One of the top full tower cases available today, there’s room for:
- E-ATX Motherboard support
- 8 expansion slots
- GPUs up to 400mm (with vertical mounting install options)
- 1 x 5.25″, 6 x 2.5″/3.5″ & 2 x 2.5″ drive bays
With these specs, you have an incredible PC case for multi-GPU setups, serious overclocking, and other demanding build types (we like that there is an option for an optical drive too even though we appreciate most users no longer require this).
To take such an intense build further, you have some seriously capable cooling capability, with room for up to:
- 13 x 120mm fans
- Or 1 x 480mm & 1 x 560mm radiators (or other smaller variations of these sizes)
This case is big, but there aren’t many other cases at its dimensions that provide this level of cooling. We rank this as the best PC case for liquid cooling not just for the number of radiators, but the incredible modularity in the chassis that will really allow you to get the exact setup you want (not just practically, but aesthetically).
The Tower 900 is a beast in build quality, cooling, and internal space. If you’re someone looking after a unique aesthetic, or you’re serious about building something truly monstrous, we think you’ll love this chassis.
Cheapest PC Case for Gaming: Cooler Master N200
Now, while we would recommend you at least try and go with our top budget option (the Phanteks P300A) if possible, we appreciate some readers will be looking for the best computer tower we can comfortably recommend at very low price ranges.
We did a full feature on this recently, and the clear stand-out is the Cooler Master N200.
This cheap Micro ATX case is a little smaller than our other picks, in the mini tower form factor. But for a super budget build, mATX PC cases are exactly what you should be looking at.
So why does the N200 stand out? Well at its incredibly low price tag, you’re still getting:
- A case from a reputable manufacturer (many super-cheap computer cases are from lesser-known brands).
- A build quality superior to its other competitors at the same price point
- 2 120mm fans – this inclusion is simply fantastic for the price and, combined with the mesh ventilation around the case, will be enough to get a budget setup going
- Great GPU space for a budget gaming mATX case: up to 355mm (more than enough for nearly all cards)
- 1 x 5.25″, 3 x 2.5″ & 4 x 3.5″ drive bays (we can’t imagine any budget builder needing even half of these bays)
The N200’s specs really are very impressive for the price. The fact that you’re getting 2 120mm fans is especially excellent as they could’ve easily included 0, and we’d still be highly recommending it for budget builds!
If you’re looking at gaming, we would recommend adding an extra fan or 2 eventually (with the N200 supporting up to 4 x 120mm) but this won’t be essential to get the build started if you’re on an extra tight budget.
If you’re looking for a non-gaming PC case for a general use build, then the fans included will be all the cooling you need.
If your budget can’t stretch any further than the N200, know that you’re still in luck, Cooler Master has really knocked it out of the park for those after the cheapest computer case possible.
Best Micro ATX Case: Thermaltake S100
Much of our list has been focused on the top ATX computer cases. For those interested in the best Micro ATX PC cases for gaming, streaming, or other use, we consider the S100 to be the best option.
Coming in at a very impressive price, the design of the S100 is beautiful. With a slick SPCC steel exterior and full-length tempered glass window, you’re getting an aesthetic and build quality rivaled by little else at the price point. We like that the window is an easy-access magnetic swivel design too. Too many PC case windows are still screw-based. The S100’s approach is way nicer and makes the building process more pleasant.
As you’d expect even from the best mATX cases, there’s a reduction in internal feature space; but still more than enough for most builders, with:
- 4 x expansion slots
- VGA lengths up to 330mm (enough for nearly all mainstream cards)
- 2 x 2.5″ / 3.5″ and 2 x 2.5″ drive bays
- Can host up to 6 x 120mm fans (with 1 pre-installed)
All the specs are decent for a chassis with this dimension range; with more than enough storage/GPU space for gaming or most other setup types.
We like that on top of having a pre-installed 120mm fan, the case can host up to 5 more. This is great for the form factor and gives you everything you need to cool even a powerful GPU.
Simply put, the S100 is an excellent all-rounder. It could be 20% more expensive and we’d still highly recommend it. Because of its very competitive price, we consider it to be the best mini-tower case for the average mATX build.
Best Mini ITX Case: Thermaltake Core V1
We’ve recommended the Core V1 many times in our various PC case features, and it’s no surprise that it comes out as the best smaller form factor PC case available.
The V1 is one of the most popular PC cases for Mini ITX builds ever (and for good reasons). Not only does this tiny chassis come at a very competitive price, but it also manages to balance its small size with some great cooling (for its form factor), build quality, and internal feature set.
For design, Thermaltake has created a fantastic cube PC case with a full SPCC steel & tempered glass exterior. This is a durable little unit and would comfortably act as a portable computer case as many ITX builders demand. Our favorite design choice is the focus on mesh for the front panel and other areas around the chassis.
It can be really difficult to reach acceptable temps in this form factor, but the Core V1 is very capable of that with its design, alongside an included 200m fan and room for 2 further 80mm fans. The 200mm fan is meant to act as the main cooling, and the fact that this is included at an already low price-point makes the V1 feel like a steal.
In terms of other specs, we consider this one of the best mini ITX cases for gaming, with room for:
- 2 x expansion slots (standard for form factor)
- 2 x 2.5″ & 2 x 3.5″ hidden drive bays
- Graphics cards lengths up to 285mm
The GPU clearance is, of course, lower than larger cases. 285mm will still suit most cards (perhaps not RTX 3090s), but of course, check all the dimensions before you complete your build (that goes for power supplies & CPU coolers too).
The storage capability is perhaps the most impressive part of this case. We’ve seen larger ITX cases with only 1 x 2.5″ drive bays. The fact that you have great room for your HDDs & SSDs is one thing, but the way the case also manages to hide them in covered areas really adds to the sharp aesthetic.
We love the Core V1. Whether you’re looking at a Mini ITX case for gaming, streaming, or general use, this chassis provides so much utility for its price.
We’re comfortable in considering it the best mITX PC case for most builders and, providing you know the limitations of the form factor, think you’ll love it.
Alternative Quick-Fire Picks (Best of the Rest)
The above cases are our absolute top picks for a majority of situations. That said, we’ve reviewed a lot of cases, and some stand out as being excellent alternatives, or perfect for people after a less common aesthetic/build requirement – the below cases are still very much worth considering.
Best Dual System PC Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 1000D
Ranking at the top of our premium PC case feature, this is the best full tower case for those with no budgetary constraints who want to either achieve immense cooling or a dual system setup (perfect for production and streaming).
Alternative High-End PC Case: Thermaltake Core P8
The Core P8 is an incredible offering for those after high visibility and high cooling. It’s the perfect place for a beautiful RGB build if you purchase fans separately. You can create both a powerful and beautiful machine with it. See our full write-up here.
Most Unique PC Case: Antec Torque
For those after something truly head-turning, the Torque is an incredible option and has a motherboard tray that is deceptively simple to work with despite the intimidating look. We talked more about it in our best-looking cases feature.
Best Mid-Range Budget Alternative: Phanteks P400
The P400 is the perfect pick for someone who doesn’t quite have the budget for the P-011/Define R5, but can stretch a little further than our best cheap PC case picks. Read more here.
Best High-End Micro ATX Case: Corsair Crystal 280X
We’ve recommended the 280X in a lot of features through What in Tech. If you’re after the best mATX case for gaming at a premium price-point, this case is perfect for you. Read our full take here.
Best NZXT PC Case?
We know some gamers may be wondering what the best NZXT options are. The only reason we haven’t included a pick from them in this list is the above choices tend to beat out in most of the major categories slightly.
Best RGB PC Case?
To be clear, many of the windowed cases on this list would make great high-visibility options to show off ARGB fans and other illuminated parts (especially our top Lian Li pick, you can see an example of how good a build can look with the PC-O11 in this feature’s cover photo).
That said, if you want to purchase a PC case with RGB fans readily included (or in-built ARGB elements) we have another full feature on just that.
The tools you need to get your build up and running
We’ve done plenty of reviews, now its time to see who shines.
For those after something extra special
Everything you want (and need) to know about tower sizes.