The 5 Best PC Cases for First-Time Builders in 2022
The ideal picks for easy setups without compromising on quality
We updated this article in July. After reviewing some new cases, our top picks remain the same for new builders. We’ve added a couple of beginner alternatives throughout the feature where relevant.
We know that for those new to PC building, picking every part can be overwhelming, especially the basis of what you intend to build everything in!
Don’t worry, I’ve had many experiences in helping new builders get started (and have reviewed 100s of options). Today’s feature is here to guide you through the best PC cases for beginners that I’ve found.
Best PC Case for First-Time Builders
Fractal Design Define R5
Our Rating: 9.75/10
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Best Budget Case for First-Time Builders
Lian Li LANCOOL 205
Our Rating: 9.25/10
Cheapest PC Case for First-Time Builders
Cooler Master N200
Our Rating: 9.5/10
Cheaper Define R5 Alternative
Fractal Design Meshify C
Our Rating: 9/10
Best PC Case for First-Time Builders: Fractal Design Define R5
This isn’t just the best PC case for beginners, but one of the top choices available today in any category.
If you’re not familiar with Fractal Design, they are one of the best PC case manufacturers in the business and a perfect starting point on your journey.
With the R5, you’re getting thick, solid steel on most of the exterior (and a metal-finished plastic front, designed to be lighter for airflow but still looks as excellent as the rest of the outside). The whole case has a beautiful, minimalist design and feels as good as it looks. When considering the best computer case for first-time builders, I like that the R5 has a windowless design for 2 reasons:
- The sound-dampening material used on all sides (including the windowless panel) makes this one of the quietest options on the market (something that Fractal is known for). This is great for new builders who don’t have to worry about the fine intricacies of getting a quiet build (reducing vibrations from certain parts, etc.)
- It’s always good to be a little clean with your internal setup for airflow. But with a windowless design, a new builder doesn’t have to be obsessed with extremely neat cable management (but if that’s something you do want, don’t worry, the R5 has plenty of capability).
This is a mid-tower/ATX case, which is the best form factor for a beginner to build in. They have plenty of space, ATX motherboards are easy to find and you’re very unlikely to run into any size compatibility. With room inside for:
- 7 x expansion slots
- Graphics cards up to 310mm (this will be enough room for a majority of cards, but you can remove one of the HDD cages to increase this to 440mm, which is very easy to do).
- 8 x 3.5″ / 2.5″, 2 x 2.5″ & 2 x 5.25″ drive bays
- Up to 9 140mm fans with 2 high-quality Fractal Design Dynamic GP-14 fans pre-installed
All these specs check out for a beginner. You have the perfect gaming PC case for a first-time builder with great graphics card room and fantastic airflow/included fans. The fact that you can upgrade your cooling to include an additional 7 140mm fans is fantastic if you ever want to pursue overclocking, but for a beginner, there is more than enough to get your base build cooled.
The storage capability of this case is also fantastic. We expect most first-time builders will be looking at 1 SSD & potentially 1 HDD, but there’s an option to add so much more at a later date if you want your build to also operate as a server PC case or something else with high storage requirements (video editing, production work, etc.)
With great internal cable management, a really intuitive layout, and easily removable doors on both sides, there’s so much to appreciate here for every type of builder.
We love that you don’t have to compromise and get a PC case “for dummies”. The R5 has everything a great gaming/work build needs, but just also happens to be the best PC case for beginners too!
2022 mid-year update: The Define R5 remains our top pick for 2.5 years running. Nothing else has entered the market that competes with the all-around balance between price, features, quality, and ease-of-use that the R5 offers.
Our Rating: 10/10