The best gaming PC cases (September 2018)

best gaming pc cases

Choosing the best gaming PC case for your new build is a crucial decision. It’s easy to get carried away maxing out your budget on powerhouse graphics cards, lightning-quick processors and elaborate cooling systems. But don’t dismiss the actual chassis that houses it all as a mere afterthought.

An unsuitable case could make it a nightmare for you to put everything together. It may not support adequate airflow and cooling to keep your components at a safe temperature, and it could limit your ability to overclock the system to its full potential. Worst case scenario? You may not even be able to fit your components inside, full-stop.

A good gaming PC case will allow plenty of room for your chosen build in an efficient layout. Tool-less installation can help to make construction as easy as possible, while thoughtful cable management features ensure that everything is kept nice and tidy. Some cases come with effective fans right out of the box, or at least support plenty of aftermarket fans or water-cooling. Our buying guide will help you find the best gaming PC case for your new rig whether you’re on a budget or splashing out, with micro-ATX, mid-towers and full tower cases included. And if you're looking for pre-built rigs, check out our best gaming PC guide right here.

Thermaltake Core V21

Best budget micro-ATX case

Motherboard Compatibility: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 320mm x 336mm x 424mm (W x H x D) | Includes: 1 x 200mm front fan | Radiator Compatibility: Front: Up to 240mm, Rear: 120mm, Top: Up to 280mm, Side: Up to 280mm | Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5”, 2 x 2.5” | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Colors: Black

Modular, stackable design
Nice form factor
You’ll want to add more cooling

Glance at a checklist of must-have features for a gaming PC case and you’re unlikely to find “stackable” listed on there. But that’s exactly what the Thermaltake Core V21 brings to the table. This impressively customisable little cube can be combined with its brethren for split designs - one half housing your motherboard while the other is dedicated to liquid cooling, for instance. Symmetrical panels and modular fan rails and drive mounts allow for a variety of configurations, with the relatively tool-less design helping you to achieve them with ease. The V21 still has a lot to offer for those without Franken-PC aspirations, too. Large ventilated panels with magnetic dust filters help keep its innards cool, as does the large front 200mm fan. The only downside of this airy design is a lack of noise absorption. 

Alternative: Thermaltake Versa H15
If you’re really wanting to scrimp, this even cheaper offering from Thermaltake provides ample space for most m-ATX and mini-ITX builds.

Corsair Carbide 280X

Best high-end micro-ATX case

Motherboard Compatibility: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 398mm x 276mm x 351mm (W x H x D) | Includes: 2 x 120mm front fans | Radiator Compatibility: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm | Drive Bays: 2 x 3.5”, 3 x 2.5” | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Colors: White, Black, RGB SE (White, Black)

Looks swish, especially the RGB version
Runs quietly
Second chamber hides a multitude of sins
Stock cooling isn’t great

The Corsair Carbide 280X is a successor to the popular Air 240. While sporting a similar form factor, it boasts a slick new design with three tempered glass panels. The regular 280X is reasonably priced for such a solid, attractive chassis, though you’ll likely be tempted to stump up the extra for the RGB SE variant (pictured). This includes two RGB 120mm fans for fantastic rainbow lighting, albeit via Corsair's proprietary iCUE software. What's smart about the 280X is its incognito secondary chamber in which you can hide the PSU, storage drives and - most importantly - the cabling. While you won't receive the best cooling performance from the stock fans, there's room for water-cooling radiators at the front and top of the case.

Alternative: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv mATX
The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv offers great cooling capabilities and looks smashing to boot.

NZXT H500

Best budget mid-tower case

Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 210mm x 460mm x 428mm (W x H x D) | Includes: 1 x 120mm top fan, 1 x 120mm rear fan | Radiator Compatibility: Front: Up to 280mm, Rear: 120mm | Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5”, 3 x 2.5” | I/O: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x Audio/Mic | Colors: Matte White, Matte Black, Matte Black + Red, Matte Black + Blue

Great quality for price
Slick aesthetic 
Middling airflow
A little loud

The NZXT S340 mid-tower case was popular for its clean, minimal design and enticing price tag. The H500 revamps this old favourite with a new tempered glass side, increased air intake and other design tweaks. While airflow still isn’t the best due to the solid front, it’s adequate for many builds. The H500’s steel cable management bar and PSU shroud are a godsend for keeping things tidy. This case’s thoughtful design and solid build quality are a pleasant surprise given its reasonable price. This budget hero is smart and understated, and comes in a range of new colours. Splash out a little more for the H500i and you’ll receive smart cooling features and two RGB LED strips, plus the option to mount your GPU vertically. 

Alternative: Riotoro CR500
Looking for something even cheaper? The CR500 from Riotoro offers a solid feature-set at a remarkably low price.

Corsair Crystal Series 570X RGB

Best high-end mid-tower case

Motherboard Compatibility: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 210mm x 460mm x 428mm (W x H x D) | Includes: 1 x 120mm top fan, 1 x 120mm rear fan | Radiator Compatibility: Front: Up to 280mm, Rear: 120mm | Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5”, 3 x 2.5” | I/O: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x Audio/Mic | Colors: Matte White, Matte Black, Matte Black + Red, Matte Black + Blue

Gorgeous translucent design
RGB heaven
Decent ventilation
Difficult cable management

Take a look at the Corsair 570X and it's hard to not to fall instantly in love. This stunner is covered in panels of tempered glass and features three RGB fans for a show-stopping display of your rig’s interior. Check out the Mirror Black variant for a reflective surface that reveals all when powered on and lit up. The 570X isn't just a pretty face, either. Glass can be risky for heat but this case is well ventilated with room for six fans and all manner of cooling systems. Full top-panel and face-panel filtration helps keep out dust, the bane of a cool machine. The only disappointment is that cable management is sub-par for such a revealing case.

Alternative: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE
Another marvel of luxurious tempered glass and customisable RGB fans, the Corsair 500D RGB SE is a sight to behold.

Phanteks Enthoo Pro Glass

Best budget full tower case

Motherboard Compatibility: E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 235mm x 535mm x 550mm (W x H x D) | Includes: 1 x 140mm front fan, 1 x 140mm rear fan | Radiator Compatibility: Front: Up to 240mm, Top: Up to 360mm, Rear: 120mm, Bottom: Up to 240mm | Drive Bays: 6 x 3.5”, 4 x 2.5” | I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Colors: Satin Black, Satin White (Special Edition)

Well constructed
Great cable management
Impressive airflow
Only two fans included

A big case doesn't have to mean big money. The Phanteks Enthoo Pro Glass has enough space to swing a cat inside - or at least a very large GPU - without costing the earth. It doesn’t feel like a compromise, either. This case is solidly built and looks the business thanks to a sleek black exterior with tempered glass side panel. One of the Enthoo Pro’s deceptively premium features is tool-less, modular drive bays. Whether you’re prioritising storage or making space for your components or cooling it can be tailored to your needs. Handy cable routing options and Velcro straps ensure that however it’s built, it’s tidy. Thanks to its size, this chassis has both great airflow and space for multiple radiators and fans. Only a front intake and rear exhaust fan are included, but there’s space for up to four more.

Alternative: Cooler Master Stryker SE
Admittedly, the Stryker SE leans more towards the mid-range in pricing but this Stormtrooper-esque goliath offers a lot of interior space for your cash.

Cooler Master Cosmos C700P

Best high-end full tower case

Motherboard Compatibility: E-ATX (12” x 11” supported), ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 306mm x 651mm x 639mm (W x H x D) | Includes: 2 x 140mm front fans, 1 x 140mm rear fan | Radiator Compatibility: Front: Up to 420mm, Top: Up to 360mm, Rear: Up to 140mm, Bottom: Up to 240mm | Drive Bays: 2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2.5” (One used for RGB controller) | I/O: 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Colors: Gun Metal/Black

Fantastic looks and build quality
Completely modular design
Limited E-ATX compatibility
Miserly storage bays

The Cooler Master Cosmos C700P is an ode to excess, pushing boundaries in size, style and customisation - as well as in price and weight. This brushed aluminium brute sports curved tempered glass in a design that wouldn't look out of place on a spaceship. The C700P’s standout feature is its modularity. With cutouts and frame rails on all sides you can mount your motherboard and components in any orientation imaginable - even on the opposite side of the case, switching side panels to match. Needless to say, there's enough room for extensive cooling configurations too. Carry handles let you take the C700P with you, provided that you're strong enough to lift it. Its cool gunmetal grey exterior is something you’ll want to flaunt, after all. The only letdown is the stingy default storage bays allowing just one SSD and two HDDs.

Alternative: be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 v2
Another highly modular option. This revamped model sports a range of upgrades to an already attractive full tower chassis.

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