https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEHDTJMqmpc

So, you’ve planned out your ideal gaming configuration. But now, you need to decide which computer case will be housing that powerful hardware and don’t be fooled! It is as much a practical choice as it is an aesthetic one.

As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t skimp really on the computer case!

Why is that?

We will answer just that, and more, here in our list of the very best gaming computer cases of 2018!

CaseSizeFront panel connectors 
Corsair Obsidian 250DMini ITX2x USB 3.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Cooler Master Elite 110Mini ITX2x USB 3.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Fractal Design Node 202Mini ITX2x USB 3.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Cooler Master N200Micro ATX1x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1Micro ATX1x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Corsair Crystal Series 570XATX2x USB 3.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Corsair Carbide Series 100RATX2x USB 3.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
NZXT H440ATX2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Thermaltake Core V51E-ATX2x USB 3.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input
Thermaltake View 71 (Editor’s Pick)E-ATX2x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1x 3.5mm Audio Output
1x 3.5mm Audio Input

Corsair Obsidian 250D

best gaming case

About the Case

Kicking off this list, we have the Obsidian 250D made by Corsair. It is an exact opposite of the intimidating Full Tower, as it is a relatively compact Mini ITX case. It sports a rather minimal exterior design and at first glance, it looks more akin to a speaker or a subwoofer rather than a computer case.

In terms of functionality, the front panel comes with two USB 3.0 ports as well as a 3.5mm audio output and mic input. More importantly, something that gamers will find quite convenient is that it is designed to accommodate full-sized graphics cards. And finally, to help with the airflow, it has two built-in fans (front and side) and it supports up to three additional fans on top of that.

Details

Size351mm x 277mm x 290mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel, aluminum
Built-in fans1x Front (140mm); 1x Side (120mm)
Fan mounts1x Front 120/140/200mm
2x Rear 80mm
2x Side 120mm
Radiator mounts1x Front 120/140mm
1x Side 240mm

Final Remarks

Corsair may not be known for their computer cases, but the 250D leaves very little to be desired if you are planning on building a serious Mini ITX-based gaming PC. It is very flexible and supports full-sized GPUs, but it does have to sacrifice a portion of its portability and compactness to make that possible.

That said, its only real drawback is that is quite large and heavy for a Mini ITX case so some might find that discouraging – especially since those are the key appeals of building a Mini ITX gaming PC.

What We Loved

  • Quality metal build
  • Good airflow
  • Minimal and inconspicuous design

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not the smallest nor most portable Mini ITX case

Cooler Master Elite 110

best computer case

About the Case

Next up, we have another Mini ITX case from Cooler Master, and one much more compact than Corsair’s solution – the Cooler Master Elite 110. This little case is also quite minimal in terms of design, with few details and with great focus placed on enabling optimal airflow.

The front panel is conveniently placed on the side of the case, and it includes two USB 3.0 ports along with two 3.5mm jacks (one audio output and one mic input), as before. Furthermore, it comes with a fan on the front and supports two additional side fans.

Specifications

Size260 x 208 x 280 mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel
Built-in fans1x Front (120mm)
Fan mounts1x Front (120mm)
2x Side (80x25mm)
Radiator mounts1x Front (120mm)

Final Remarks

All in all, the Cooler Master Elite 110 is a highly compact and well-made case. This includes efficiency, appearance, and overall build quality – all of that at a very modest price tag. Needless to say, it is not ideal for high-end gaming PCs but it performs more than admirably in the mid-range, especially for such a small case.

On the other hand, its small size makes it a bit tricky to pick out components that fit and liquid cooling is a must if you plan on using a CPU that tends to run hot, overclocked or not.

What We Loved

  • Compact and portable
  • Great value
  • Superb build quality considering the price

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not very flexible
  • Will require more advanced cooling for higher-grade performance

Fractal Design Node 202

best pc case

About the Case

Fractal Design may not be as recognizable a name as some of the other ones on this list, but their Node 202 case is quite remarkable in one specific regard: its sleek and compact design. If you have ever wanted a PC that can be as space-saving and inconspicuous as a gaming console, then you will love the Node 202.

It sports a minimal design with no major attention-grabbing details which, combined with its small size, allows great versatility in terms of placement. Furthermore, it even comes with its very own vertical stand so that it can be positioned both horizontally and vertically. As for the cooling, it mitigates overheating issues by placing each major component into its own chamber. And finally, while it may not come with any built-in fans, two 120mm fans can be installed in the GPU chamber.

Specifications

Size377 x 82 x 330 mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel
Built-in fansN/A
Fan mounts2x 120mm
Radiator mountsN/A

Final Remarks

Considering its console-inspired design and smart cooling innovations, it is obvious that the Node 202 was designed with gaming in mind. And true enough, it can house a fairly powerful gaming configuration, complete with a full-sized graphics card, all the while maintaining a low-profile ideal for a living room.

On the downside, the limited interior space leads to some obvious compatibility issues: it only supports SFX power supplies, no 3.5 inch HDDs, or optical drives. Despite that, it can still house a high-end GPU, although a blower fan variant would allow optimal cooling.

What We Loved

  • Sleek, minimal, and compact
  • Console-inspired design ideal for living rooms
  • Efficient cooling for a case of this size

What We Didn’t Like

  • Limited hardware compatibility
  • Setup and maintenance can be a hassle due to cramped interior

Cooler Master N200

best gaming case 2018

About the Case

The first of the more spacious cases that we will be mentioning is the Cooler Master N200, a stylish micro ATX case. It adheres to Cooler Master’s general design philosophy by employing the recognizable meshed front which enables good airflow.

The power button and the front panel connectors are located on the protruding vertical bar, separate from the front mesh. As for the cooling, it comes with three XtraFlo fans pre-installed, two on the front and one on the rear of the case. On top of that, it supports an additional side fan and an additional top fan.

Specifications

Size202 x 378 x 445 mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel
Built-in fans2x Front (120mm)
1x Rear (120mm)
Fan mounts2x Front (120mm)
1x Rear (120mm)
1x Top (120mm x 15mm)
1x Side (120mm)
Radiator mounts1x Front (240mm)

Final Remarks

It is remarkable how much Cooler Master is able to offer with a case as small and as modestly priced as the N200.

It packs clean looks and functionality into one modestly-priced package. Of course, the water-cooling capacity is nothing spectacular and will not appeal to hardcore enthusiasts, but in a mere $50 Mini Tower computer case, it is quite a good deal.

What We Loved

  • Great value
  • Quality steel build
  • Minimal design

What We Didn’t Like

  • Water-cooling support is pretty basic
  • The bundled fans can be noisy

Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1

computer case

About the Case

While the Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1 is also a micro ATX case and comes at a similar price tag, it differs greatly when it comes to the design philosophy. Where the N200 was minimalistic and functionality-oriented design, the MasterBox Lite 3.1 is much more conspicuous and high-profile.

The case incorporates a transparent tempered glass side panel as well as a black-tinted semi-transparent front panel. Not only does this provide the case with a great-looking high-tech exterior, but it also allows you to take full advantage of the LED lighting built into the case fans and the components. Speaking of fans, the case is a tad more limited in terms of fan support but it adds an extra side radiator mount.

Specifications

Size456 x 208 x 381mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel, tempered glass
Built-in fans1x Rear (120mm)
Fan mounts2x Front (120mm)
1x Rear (120mm)
Radiator mounts1x Front (240mm)
1x Rear (120mm)

Final Remarks

As mentioned above, this case is similar to the N200 when it comes to the price tag and the build quality, but its glass surfaces make it appear far more impressive.

It does not differ much in terms of functionality apart from the fact that it prioritizes liquid cooling support over air cooling, which is understandable given the somewhat more limited airflow as compared to its mesh-front cousin.

What We Loved

  • Beautiful glass-dominated exterior
  • Decent water cooling support
  • Great value

What We Didn’t Like

  • Limited case fan mounts

Corsair Crystal Series 570X

best computer case 2018

About the Case

The Corsair Crystal Series 570X follows a similar design philosophy as the MasterBox Lite 3.1, albeit with some major differences. The most obvious one is that the front, top, and both sides of the case consist of fully transparent tempered glass.

When it comes to the functionality, the 570X allows for more advanced cooling because it is a larger ATX case. Corsair has made sure to take advantage of that, as the case comes with three RGB-lit front fans in addition to supporting two additional top fans and one rear fan. On top of that, it also supports up to three radiators for those who prefer water cooling.

Specifications

Size480 x 234 x 512mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel, glass
Built-in fans3x Front (120mm)
Fan mounts2x Top (120/140mm)
1x Rear (120mm)
Radiator mounts1x Front (120/240/280/360mm)
1x Top (120/240mm)
1x Rear (120mm)

Final Remarks

The Crystal Series 570X is a superbly built case that combines remarkable aesthetic qualities with excellent air and liquid cooling potential. Unfortunately, this comes at a price – literally.

That said, it is quite expensive as far as cases go, but it is a price those who need visual appeal and good cooling in a single package would be willing to pay.

What We Loved

  • Tempered glass exterior
  • Three radiator mounts
  • Premium build quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • Expensive

Corsair Carbide Series 100R

best pc case 2018

About the Case

The Corsair Carbide series are usually built to present the best balance of reliability and affordability, and the 100R is a prime example of that. It boasts a simple and clean exterior, as well as a transparent side panel.

Some of the practical features that this case incorporates are easily manageable HDD/SSD racks, simplified cable management, good airflow and support for up to five case-mounted fans, with a rear-mounted one already included.

Specifications

Size471 x 200 x 430mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel
Built-in fans1x Rear (120mm)
Fan mounts2x Front (140mm)
2x Top (120mm)
1x Rear (120mm)

Final Remarks

All in all, the Carbide Series 100R is a great case for those who don’t really care that much about appearance as much as they do about functionality and build quality. You will be getting both of those in this highly affordable case. Its only real drawback is limited water cooling support.

What We Loved

  • Solid build
  • Highly affordable
  • Great value

What We Didn’t Like

  • Limited water cooling

NZXT H440

gaming cases

About the Case

NZXT may not be as recognizable a name as Cooler Master or Corsair, but this Los Angeles-based company has a range of products available, including computer cases. The H440 is a perfect example of the NZXT design philosophy: minimal, clean, and efficiently blending a black or white base with vibrant highlights.

Another way that the NZXT H440 differs from most other cases is its interior. It greatly facilitates cable management and keeps the HDD/SSD bay closed and separate from the main components, something that also adds to the overall minimalist aesthetic.

Specification

Size220 x 513 x 480mm
ColorVaries
MaterialSteel
Built-in fans3x Front (120mm)
1x Rear (140mm)
Fan mounts2x 140mm/3x 120mm Front
2x 140mm/3x 120mm Top
1x 140mm/120mm Rear
Radiator mounts2x 140mm/3x 120mm Front
2x 140mm/3x 120mm Top
1x 140mm/120mm Rear

Final Remarks

All in all, the H440 is truly a great case. It combines a superbly-built clean exterior with a highly manageable interior, offers more than enough options for air or liquid cooling expansion, and all of that at a relatively low price.

The only real drawbacks to this case are that the numerous metal parts make it quite heavy and the interior design choices can make it become quite cramped, especially if several radiators are installed.

What We Loved

  • Sleek and minimal design with several color options
  • High-quality build
  • Convenient cable management
  • Plenty of space for additional cooling

What We Didn’t Like

  • Heavy
  • Interior is a little cramped, more so if radiators are installed

Thermaltake Core V51

pc gaming case

About the Case

Here, we come to the larger E-ATX cases, starting with the Core V51 made by Thermaltake. One look at it, and it becomes evident that you’re dealing with a very performance-oriented case. That does not mean it is bad to look at – with the meshed front, curved front edges and the transparent side-panel, the V51 still maintains a high degree of visual appeal.

Where this case truly shines, however, are its cooling capabilities. As always, the meshed front allows excellent airflow with the aid of the two front-mounted fans which are complemented by a single fan located on the rear. Apart from that efficient stock cooling setup, the case still allows numerous expansion options.

Specifications

Size540 x 236 x 560 mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel
Built-in fans2x Front (120mm)
1x Rear (120mm)
Fan mounts3x 120mm/2x 140mm/1x 200mm Front
3x 120mm/3x 140mm/2x 200mm Top
1x 140mm Rear
2x 120mm Bottom
Radiator mounts1x 420mm Front
1x 420mm Top
1x 120mm Rear
1x 240mm Bottom

Final Remarks

If you need a spacious case with plenty of expansion options in terms of cooling, all the while without spending too much money on it, then the Core V51 is your best bet.

As you can see, it supports up to four radiators and up to nine fans, unless you go with larger ones. Frankly, there are virtually no downsides to this case, unless you really dislike the appearance of a meshed front.

What We Loved

  • Plenty of expansion space
  • Versatile and expandable cooling
  • Extremely good value

What We Didn’t Like

  • Not everyone will like the design

Thermaltake View 71

gaming case

About the Case

Following up is another Thermaltake case – the View 71. It takes the cooling efficiency of the Core V51 and combines with a superb visual appeal that relies on RGB lighting and a tempered glass exterior.

Much like the previous case, this one also comes with two front and one rear fan that improve airflow inside the case, although the ones included here come with full RGB lighting – a feature you will want to take full advantage of if you wish to make the most of the transparent exterior.

Specifications

Size592 x 274 x 577 mm
ColorBlack
MaterialSteel, glass
Built-in fans2x 140mm Front
1x 120mm Rear
Fan mounts3x 120mm/2x 140mm Front
3x 140mm Top
1x 140mm Rear
2x 120mm Bottom
Radiator mounts1x 420mm Front
1x 420mm Top
1x 140mm Rear
1x 420mm Side
1x 240mm Bottom

Final Remarks

There really is not much to say about this case: it looks great, is well-built, highly manageable, supports excellent cooling, and all of that at a very reasonable price for a case of this caliber. The only reason not to get this case is if you pay no mind to aesthetics and prefer function over form.

What We Loved

  • Extensive case cooling support
  • Clean tempered glass exterior
  • Good value, considering the quality

What We Didn’t Like

  • Cheaper but just as efficient options exist

How to Choose the Best Computer Case

Everyone has their own preferences and performance requirements, so we will devote this section of the article to discussing the key specifications of a computer case and see how much mind you should pay each of them.

Size

best gaming pc case

As you can see from the image above, computer cases are divided into four general categories: Mini, Micro, Mid, and Full Tower.

Now, you might be wondering why Mini is smaller than Micro, and the reason why is that they are named after their respective supported motherboard formats: Mini ITX and Micro ATX. Mid Tower and Full Tower cases are made with ATX and E-ATX cases in mind, although Mid Towers can still support E-ATX motherboards.

So, which should you pick? That depends on two factors:

  1. The motherboard format
  2. The case cooling

We have already written an article on how to pick the ideal motherboard size here, although we didn’t mention E-ATX. All in all, Micro ATX is the best choice for most people who don’t need too many PCIe slots or the 8 RAM slots that some E-ATX motherboards offer.

As for the cooling, the matter is quite simpler: the larger the case, the more fan/radiator mounts it will have. On top of that, hot air will not build up as quickly as in smaller cases, but that is a negligible factor when case-mounted fans are taken into account.

Cooling

pc gaming cases

Case-mounted cooling is more important than some people realize, even for low-end and mid-range PCs. As you can see, there are two types of case-mounted cooling: air and liquid, the former being fans and the latter being radiators.

Air Cooling

Case-mounted fans have a simple purpose: facilitating airflow. As such, they work best when they are placed on the opposite ends of a computer case, with one fan sucking in cool air in and the other blowing out the hot air.

That said, the more fans there are, the better the airflow. However, most configurations don’t need eight fans mounted all over the case, but even the weakest configurations should have at least one fan that would prevent heat buildup.

Liquid Cooling

When air is not cutting it, you can always turn to water. Water-cooling is a more advanced (and more expensive) method of keeping your PC’s components cool, although it is only really required for high-end PCs and overclocked processors that run extremely hot.

The way that it functions is a bit more complex. It uses:

  • A pump that circulates the water through the hoses
  • A radiator which absorbs the heat
  • A fan that keeps the radiator cool
  • A reservoir that contains additional water

Air Cooling vs Liquid Cooling

In the end, which should you choose?

As mentioned above, you only really need liquid cooling if you have a high-end PC that produces more heat than an air cooling system can efficiently dispel. The only real reason why you might choose liquid over air in any other scenario is that liquid cooling produces less noise, but that hardly justifies a hefty investment.

With that said, air cooling is cheaper, simpler, and will be more than sufficient in the vast majority of cases (no pun intended).

Hardware Compatibility

best micro atx case

A computer case has no electronic parts apart from the front panel connectors which will fit any motherboard. As such, the only compatibility concern comes down to physical size of the components.

Motherboard

As previously mentioned in the article, the most common mainstream motherboard formats are Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, and E-ATX. A larger case will fit any smaller motherboard format, but the opposite is not possible, for very obvious reasons.

CPU

What needs to be kept in mind here is not the CPU itself but rather, its cooler. Some smaller cases, particularly the Mini ITX ones, might have limited space for a CPU cooler.

Graphics Card

The two dimensions to take into account when it comes to GPUs are length and width.

Mini ITX and Micro ATX cases will always have a limit when it comes to card length which will clearly be indicated by the manufacturer. Some are designed to accommodate larger cards, but that is not always the case.

As for width, keep in mind that nearly every gaming graphics card today takes up at least two slots: one for the card itself and one for the cooling. Moreover, some more powerful cards can take up even three. Therefore, keep this in mind when getting a smaller case or if you are planning on having multiple PCIe expansions cards installed.

Storage

As for internal HDDs and SSDs, there is not much to worry about. A case will clearly indicate the number of 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch slots that it has available, so it is easy to plan accordingly.

Conclusion – The Best Gaming Case of 2018

gaming case

Tastes and personal preferences aside, which of these cases could objectively be considered the best?

From where we stand, it would have to be the Thermaltake View 71. Is it extremely expensive for a case? Yes. But it is a great-looking, efficient, flexible, and reliable case that will never leave you wanting for more expansions space.

But of course, that is merely our take. If you don’t care about the visuals, then the Thermaltake Core V51 is a much better choice for you.

All in all, every computer case on this list will serve your purposes admirably, provided that you know what you are looking for.

Loading...

Posts You Might Also Like