Theoretically, you can assemble a computer even in a tangerine box or without a case at all on the table - the so-called open stand. And you can turn on the PC by closing the contacts on the motherboard with a screwdriver.
But besides the aesthetic, the case also performs other important functions: it protects computer components from mechanical damage, absorbs static electricity, muffles the noise of fans and vibration of disks, and forms the correct direction of air flow. Although some unsuccessful hull models seem to have been designed by those who do not understand anything about aerodynamics.
There are three main case sizes corresponding to motherboard sizes, as well as several subtypes. The most compact Mini-ITX, which can be implemented as "thin clients", cubes or just low towers. Midsize Micro-ATX - Moderately tall Mini-Towers or larger cubes. And finally, full-sized ATX, they are also Midi-Tower or Super-Tower, the second subtype for wide E-ATX motherboards.
Best PC Cases of 2023
The Fractal Design Torrent Nano is a miniature Mini-ITX case that also fits longer Mini-DTX motherboards on a single PCI-E slot. A strong steel frame paired with rubber pads help minimize vibration from a single 3.5" hard drive. However, in order to avoid chaos with laying SATA cables in such a cramped case, it is better to trust the M.2 SSD, which is installed directly on the motherboard.
Moreover, both side panels of the case are made of tinted glass, resistant to shocks and scratches. This means cable management errors will be perfectly visible to your guests. Fortunately, Torrent Nano offers shafts with shutters for pulling the power wires of the processor and motherboard in the shortest possible way. The power supply is not only covered with a decorative casing, but also located on top, that is, it enhances air circulation inside the PC case.
The only complete turntable has an increased diameter of 18 cm and is located in front. Abundant perforation of the front panel, coupled with a dust filter, provides a balance between ventilation and cleanliness. The propeller can be either illuminated or not, but guaranteed with a four-pin PWM control and a hydrodynamic HDB bearing.
Reason to buy: Tiny Mini-ITX format, both side glass panels, mesh front panel with dust filter, 18cm fan.
Reason not to buy: The top location of the PSU may not be to everyone's liking.
For light music lovers
Cooler Master MasterBox TD300 Mesh is a compact Mini-Tower computer case for mid-sized Micro-ATX motherboards. Its front panel is made in the shape of a Fine Mesh polygonal mesh, which reduces intake air noise and better retains fine dust. Behind it is a pair of 12 cm Sickle Flow fans with customizable lighting. They come with an ARGB-5V hub to control both RPM and glow.
Tempered glass only covers the top of the case where the motherboard is located. The compartment for the power supply is made deaf, so boasting a kilowatt, alas, will not work. The top panel is removed entirely, which allows you to fix the CBO radiator on it without injuring your fingers. Long 360 mm dropsies do not fit, but wide 280 mm ones fit (one at the top and one at the front).
The MasterBox TD300 Mesh has enough headroom so that the CBO does not rest against the power circuit heatsink on the motherboard. Two stubs of the video card are made reusable on the lambs, and two more will have to be broken out. The maximum allowable length of the video card is 34 cm, which is exactly equal to typical three-fan models. The basket for two 3.5" HDDs can be moved back and forth, thereby freeing up space for a long PSU or a large SVO.
Reason to buy: Medium format Micro-ATX, transparent viewing window, removable top for CBO mounting, two ARGB fans with a control hub.
Reason not to buy: There is no USB Type-C on the interface panel.
Top for your money
The FSP CMT350 is still a relatively compact sub-$100 PC case that still fits a full-size ATX motherboard with seven PCI-E expansion slots. The only exceptions are wide E-ATX for semi-server (workstation) Xeon processors. It weighs about 6 kg, which, perhaps, is the golden mean for Midi-Tower cases: no longer a rattling "tin can", but still not a risk of pulling the lower back.
The viewing window is made for the entire height of the case, and there is a cutout in the casing for the power supply. The maximum allowable PSU length is 17 cm, some modular kilowatts may not fit. The height of the processor tower is equal to the standard 16 cm, and the length of the video card is up to 35 cm. A 240 mm water block is placed on top, and 360 mm in the front.
The FSP CMT350 is equipped with three fans: two non-luminous in front and one more in the back, already with RGB. The front panel of the case is also decorated with LED strip. There is an LED controller that can be synchronized with an ASUS Aura, MSI Mystic, Gigabyte Fusion, ASRock Polychrome or Biostar Vivid motherboard. And if the motherboard is deprived of the corresponding three-pin connector, then it is proposed to control the backlight with a dedicated button on the case.
Reason to buy: A full-fledged ATX motherboard is placed, relatively small dimensions, three fans, an LED strip and an LED controller.
Reason not to buy: CBO does not fit 280 mm.
The ADATA XPG Defender is a spacious PC case that fits even the largest E-ATX motherboards with sockets for two Intel Xeon or AMD Threadripper processors. It weighs 7.6 kg, which is quite consistent with the increased size. The video card can be installed both horizontally and vertically, but in the second case, you will have to buy a stand and a cable yourself.
A 360 mm dropsy is placed in front, and 280 mm on top. Moreover, in terms of the area of heat dissipation by the radiator (length multiplied by the width), 280 is much closer to 360 than to 240 mm. By default, three XPG Vento 120 fans without illumination are installed. There is no reobas to control their speed - you need to connect it to the motherboard and use it to adjust the speed.
The mesh front panel is magnetically removable for easy cleaning. In the same way, the upper and lower dust filters are simply dismantled. High legs help the air intake of the power supply. But there are no silicone gaskets to dampen the vibration of hard drives. But there is a modern paired, instead of two separate, MiniJack for headphones. You can choose from black and white variations of the XPG Defender, as well as a Pro version with luminous turntables.
Reason to buy: Fits the largest possible E-ATX motherboard, magnetic front panel, vertical installation of the video card, three 12 cm fans.
Reason not to buy: There are no vibration-absorbing HDD pads.
100% silence and lots of discs
be quiet! Silent Base 601 is a huge ten-kilogram case from a German brand. Almost entirely made of metal. There is also a sub-version with a glass viewing window, but because of it, the main idea of engineers is partially lost - complete silence. In the deaf version, all panels are sheathed from the inside with soft noise-absorbing material of centimeter thickness.
Contributes to silence and a pair of branded turntables be quiet! Pure Wings 2 14 cm diameter with Rifle Bearing and aerodynamic grooves on the blades. They are accompanied by a three-position reobas: low, medium and high speed. Fortunately, turntables be quiet! remain very quiet even at maximum speed. Instead of air cooling, you can install water or, more precisely, liquid (refrigerant circulates inside the circuit) - two 280 or 360 mm radiators are placed.
The kit comes with two baskets for 3.5-inch drives - the first is double, and the second is single. Five more single baskets can be purchased separately. Soft silicone pads completely dampen HDD vibration. This makes the case perfect for multi-drive storage, such as file sharing within a large office or professional 4K video editing.
Reason to buy: Fits the largest possible E-ATX motherboard, noise-absorbing coating on the panels, two 14 cm fans, slots for 8 HDDs.
Reason not to buy: A lot of weight may not be to everyone's liking.
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