Best PC Cases of 2018
Building a custom gaming or non-gaming PC nowadays is a much easier task than it was a few years ago. PC Building has been characterized as “Lego for adults” and while this is partially true, a lot of effort has to go into building your own PC, and research as well personal interest and time investment are necessary if you want to get the best results. Many times we focus on components like the GPU and CPU and forget about other crucial parts like the PC case.
The “housing” of your system is very important not only for fitting all your components but also for adequate ventilation of your PC. In this guide, we will take a look at the best PC cases of 2018 and how you can find the best case for your needs and budget. As with all PC parts, most expensive does not always mean best and with enough research, you can save a good amount of your total budget without sacrificing the quality of your PC case.
In this post, I will include 3 categories:
1. High-end PC cases
2. Best bang for the buck PC cases
3. Low-end PC cases
Keep in mind that the better the features, the higher the price. Nevertheless, all cases will feature a great-looking side panel and since this feature is a must when it comes to choosing a new PC case nowadays. I will only include mid-tower cases because I consider them to be the best form factor compared to both full towers and micro or mini towers. I will go through the characteristics of 10 of what I consider to be the best PC cases you can buy in 2018.
With no further ado, let us get into the juicy details:
1. High-end PC cases
Corsair Crystal 570X RGB
To start it off at the high-end category, Corsair’s Crystal 570X RGB is a great choice for those of you who have the ability to spend a little more on your PC case. The Crystal 570X RGB is a mid-tower case with full RGB support and room for a total of 6 chassis fans, 3x 140mm or 120mm at the front, 2x at the top as well as 1x 120mm exhaust fan on the back. The case comes pre-installed with 3x 120mm fans at the front and is compatible with 360mm radiators so if you have been thinking of including a 360mm AIO cooler, this case has you covered.
The visual feature that stands out is the tempered glass integration that not only covers the side panel but the whole chassis. I have yet to see a chassis that looks as good as the Corsair Crystal 570X RGB since the whole case is made of steel and the addition of tempered glass gives it a truly “classy” look. Talking about visuals, it also comes with an integrated LED controller so that you can freely adjust RGB lighting to your liking. The case supports 2x 3,5″ and 2x 2,5″ case drive bays which should provide you with enough storage capacity.
Thermaltake View 71 Tempered Glass RGB Edition
The Thermaltake View 71 is arguably the best chassis your money can buy. This case has been literally built out of tempered glass as the whole chassis is built out of tempered glass giving you an easy peripheral look inside the case from the front as well as from behind of the chassis. The only negative aspect is that you have to invest some time into cable management if aesthetics are important to you (which they probably are if you are interested in such a case).
The Thermaltake View 71 has a ton of features to offer. First of all, the chassis supports 420mm radiators giving you the opportunity to include even the biggest AIO cooler with no restrictions whatsoever. Of course, smaller radiator support is included, too. The chassis supports 3x 120mm front fans, 3x 120mm top fans, 2x120mm bottom fans and 1x 120mm rear fan. The support for chassis fans is definitely amazing and if you are the type of person who likes having as many fans as possible in your case, do not look further than the Thermaltake View 71. Not just that, but the included 3 fans feature RGB and are color-customizable.
A stand-out feature is the Riser GPU Support Bracket, which allows you to install your GPU vertically not only making your GPU stand out but also removing the strain from the motherboard itself which occurs when you install your GPU the common way (horizontally). To be honest, the vertical GPU installation’s main advantage is the aesthetic appeal of it and the argument that it takes the strain off the motherboard is invalid since most decent motherboards come with enhanced PCI-e slots specially designed for big and heavy graphics cards. Nevertheless, it is a nice feature to have and definitely worth checking out if you intend to buy the Thermaltake View 71 Tempered Glass RGB Edition.
The NZXT H700i is NZXT high-end offering. NZXT is a very well-established PC brand not only in the PC case market but also in the AIO department. The H700i is a mid-tower case with a very slick looking tempered glass side panel and lots of room for your AIO cooler and chassis fans. You can connect up to 7 total fans since the H700i provides capacity for 3x120mm (2x140mm) at the front and 3x120mm (2x140mm) at the top as well as 1x 140mm (120mm) on the back. The 3x120mm front fans and the rear fan are included with the chassis. The included fans support RGB lighting and should provide more than enough ventilation for the entire case.
The unique feature of the NZXT is the CAM powered smart device controlling RGB lighting and fan performance settings. The CAM technology automatically recognizes the ideal RGB and fan settings with up to 3 fan channels. The CAM software is available for download at the manufacturer’s website and can be used optionally. CAM also optimizes the acoustics of your case with Adaptive Noise Reduction Technology which adapts cooling performance and acoustics for ideal gaming performance.
The H700i provides space for 3x 3,5″ drives (HDD) and 7x 2,5″ drives (SSD). Filters are provided for the PSU and front fans. No need to worry about clearance for your AIO cooler since the H700i also supports radiators and AIO coolers up to 360mm. NZXT’s decision to separate the PSU tray by providing a PSU cover gives the case a much cleaner look since you can hide the cables beneath the PSU tray while also protecting the PSU from dust and damages. Cable management is also easy with this chassis since it has lots of clearance on the back to mess around with cables.
All in all, the NZXT H700i is definitely a great high-end mid-tower chassis guaranteed to please even the most demanding gamers out there. The CAM powered smart device is truly a unique NZXT feature also present on their highly-praised liquid cooler, the Kraken X62. While it is not meant to please everyone since many gamers want to customize the looks and fan speeds themselves, it is a worthwhile addition for gamers who want something plug and play. The only drawback of the CAM software is the internet connection requirement, but that should be no big deal in today’s world where an internet connection has become a necessity.
Check out my review of the NZXT Kraken X62, here
2. Best Bang For The Buck PC Cases
The “Best Bang For The Buck” category is where you get the most out of your spent money. Cases in this category include many high-end features while mostly cutting out features you do not actually need as a gamer in order to justify their lower price compared to their high-end competition. If you are looking for a great PC case but do not want to spend too much of your budget on a high-end chassis, this category should be your go-to choice.
NZXT S340 Elite
The NZXT S340 Elite has been around for a couple of years now but still is the preferred choice for many gamers and reviewers tend to praise the S340 Elite. Its ease of cable management and neat design with a tempered glass side panel window and great acoustics makes the S340 Elite a fierce competitor of newer offerings in the PC case market even 2 years after its initial release.
The chassis comes with 2x 140mm front fans, 1x 140mm top fan, and 1x120mm back fan. The top and back 120mm fans are already included, so the only thing you have to worry about is your front intake fans. 4x chassis fan is the ideal combination for decent airflow and temperatures and more than 4 fans do not impact cooling performance that much. Besides the number of fans you have installed in your system, another important factor is whether you choose to go for negative or positive airflow. Linus Tech Tips has a great video on how many fans you actually need and how much airflow affects cooling performance. Check out the video below:
The S340 Elite is made out of steel and plastic and, although tempered glass is only included with the side panel it does not take away from the classy look of the case. Front and bottom filters prevent excessive dust accumulation and the case can accommodate up to 3x 3,5″ drives (HDD) and 4x 2,5″ drives (SSD), more than enough for your Windows, games and other applications.
The S340 Elite is definitely a great choice in case you do not want to spend too much on a new PC case but without sacrificing necessary features like great cable management support and adequate air circulation. The case may not come with integrated RGB lighting, but the following case does and comes around the same price point as the S340 Elite.
Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass
If you are looking for a chassis that combines RGB lighting, a beautiful side panel and great features for its price, do not look any further than the Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass. With features found on much more expensive cases such as support for 3x120mm front fans (2x 140mm), 2x120mm top fans (2x140mm) and 1x 120mm rear fan as well as 6x 3,5″ and 2x 2,5″ drive bays, it is hard to beat in terms of price to performance ratio.
Support for a 360mm liquid cooler is also present in this case and the setting up of the case and installation of components is really easy as you can witness in the video below:
In my opinion, the Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass looks amazing not only because of its tempered glass side panel but also because Phanteks decided to go for a simple but great-looking design for their case. The Eclipse P400S also comes in different color variations, including black, white, grey and red. They decided to not overdo it with RGB lighting as well, which, in combination with its steel design, gives the case a premium aesthetic feel.
The Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass focuses on a silent design by implementing noise cancellation technologies which make the case almost inaudible even under high CPU and GPU load. Dust filters are included for the PSU, front and top fans preventing excessive dust accumulation. The interior drive bays are easily removable along with the tempered glass side panel which does not even require a screwdriver to remove the two screws that hold the panel in place. Cable management is child’s play with 25mm clearance on the back and lots of space to store the excessive cables as well as enough openings to easily connect your cables to the motherboard.
If I were to buy a new case right now, the Phanteks Eclipse P400S Tempered Glass would be my choice. The abundance of fan slots along with the neat looking tempered glass side panel and its simple but premium design makes the case a welcome housing to your system without breaking the bank.
Check out a more detailed review of the Phanteks Eclipse P400S, at this link.
Corsair Carbide Clear 400C
Talking about a slick looking design and great features, a case that could not be absent from the best bang for the buck list is the Corsair Carbide Clear 400C. The clean and compact steel design of the chassis along with its one one-touch side panel and a plethora of drive and fan support make this a worthwhile buy for its price. The chassis also provides tool-free drive and fan installation. Support for 3x120mm front, 2x120mm top, and 1x120mm rear fans are included and the Corsair Carbide Clear 400C also has the ability to house up to 3x 2,5″ and 3x 3,5″ bays, more than enough for an average gamer’s needs.
A 360mm radiator can be attached to the front of the case leaving you plenty of playroom for your AIO or even custom liquid cooler. The included PSU cover gives you the ability to hide your power supply and the cables underneath it, giving your build a cleaner look. Optionally, you can remove the cover, of course, but I would keep it since I prefer a clean build to one that exposes all the cables next to the PSU. Dust filters are included at the top, rear and bottom, too, so no need to worry about dust.
The definite highlight of the Corsair Carbide Clear 400C is the one-touch side panel which allows you easy and quick access to the interior of the chassis without having to deal with screws. Simply open the side panel with your hand and you are good to go.
The Corsair Carbide Clear 400C is an excellent case for its price and the only disadvantage compared to the Eclipse P400S is the lack of RGB support and fewer fans. Nevertheless, this case’s design is equally good and the side panel is worth considering if aesthetics mean a lot to you.
CoolerMaster MasterCase MC500
CoolerMaster has its own offering in the best bang for the buck PC case category. Featuring similar specs to the NZXT S340 Elite, the MasterCase MC500 (they should certainly do something with the naming of their products) is a very solid case featuring full RGB support and a very neat looking tempered glass side panel. It comes with 1x 140mm pre-installed fan at the front and 1x 140mm fan on the back. The chassis supports up to 3x fans at the front, 2x at the top and 1x on the back and 360mm radiator support is included for your high-end AIO or even custom liquid cooler and the whole chassis is made of plastic and steel.
What makes this chassis, however, stand out is the so-called”Free-form modular system” allowing you to fully customize the exterior and interior part of the case by adding or removing bays and panels. The removal of the unnecessary bays, for example, not only gives your chassis a cleaner look but also improves air circulation. Of course, dust filters are included at the top front and rear and beneath the power supply to prevent dust accumulation.
The only negative I can find with the MasterCase MC500 is its sheer size for a mid tower case. 512mm x 235mm x 548mm is pretty large for a mid tower case, so keep in mind to have enough space to accommodate this beast. All in all, the CoolerMaster MasterCase MC500 is a great case and a worthwhile contestant for the best bang for the buck mid-tower case.
3. Low-End PC Cases
If you are aiming for a budget-build, you do not want to normally spend a big portion of your budget to get the best PC case since your budget should be used for components that actually improve your PC’s performance like your graphics card and processor. In this case, you should take a look at the low-end PC case category. Bear in mind that low-end does not mean bad in any means, they just have fewer features when compared the high-end or best bang for the buck category while still capable of housing a full ATX motherboard and without losing their aesthetic appeal.
Dukase V2 Deepcool
A chassis that definitely fits in the best bang for the buck category, the Dukase V2 Deepcool is the case for you who want a nice, simple and slick design with abundant fan and bay support. The case features a side panel, although there is no tempered glass this time due to its lower price point. It features, although, a metallic front panel ideal for great air circulation and the prevention of dust accumulation with its embedded dust filters at the front, top, and bottom (for the power supply). You can add up to 2x 120mm (or 1x 140mm) front fans, 2x 140mm (or 120mm) top fans and the usual 1x 120mm rear fan.
The Dukase V2 Deepcool does not support a 360mm liquid cooler, although it provides enough space for a 280mm one enough for cooling even the i7 8700k at 5 GHz, which is known for running extremely hot. Additionally, the chassis provides a PSU cover and the ability to mount your SSD drives on top of the PSU cover instead of mounting them on the back, which is a great alternative. You can also install one additional SSD drive on the back of the case, while two metallic 3,5″ drive bays provide space for the installation of your hard drives.
The Dukase V2 Deepcool opts for the additional black design, which, along with its metallic build makes for a great looking chassis considering its price with its major drawback being the absence of a tempered glass full side panel, but I guess you can not expect too much of a cheap case, right?
Thermaltake View 21 Tempered Glass Edition
The Thermaltake View 21 Tempered Glass Edition has to be the top contestant in the low-end PC case category and I was not exactly sure if I should include it in this or the bang for the buck category because its rich features for the price make it possibly the best “low-end” case you can buy. Thermaltake is doing an excellent job when it comes to building PC cases and this chassis is a prime example of that.
Featuring a 4mm tempered glass side and back panel, a PSU cover and a plethora of drive bays with 2x 3,5″ and 2x 2,5″ support, as well as 2 extra 2,5″, drives mountable on the top of the PSU cover, there is nothing essential missing from this case. A 360mm radiator and AIO support are included as well as dust filters at the top and front filtering out dust effectively.
Fan support is also excellent with room for 3x 120mm front fans (2x 140mm), 1x 140mm or 120mm top fan, 1x 120mm rear as well as 1x 120mm at the bottom, which even many expensive cases do not support. A major disadvantage of the Thermaltake View 21 Tempered Glass Edition is the inclusion of only one rear fan, which is a shame considering its excellent fan support, so you have to provide for at least two additional front fans yourself.
Apart from that, the chassis opts for a neat looking metallic black design, which, in addition to the tempered glass side panel give the case an aesthetic boost. PC case manufacturers, in general, no matter the price point, ensure that their cases look the part since visuals are more important than ever in 2018.
CoolerMaster MasterBox Lite 5
CoolerMaster is another example of a company that does extremely well in the PC case market. With lots of offers like the MasterCase MC500 mentioned above, CoolerMaster also knows how to build cheap but feature-rich PC cases like the MasterBox Lite 5.
With a dark front panel and a fully acrylic side panel, both easily removable, as well as 3 custom trim colors (red, white, black) adjustable at the top of the front panel and at the front part of the bottom of the case, CoolerMaster gives you an additional option to tinker with the chassis’ looks. The case is built out of steel and plastic although the latter does not take away from the build quality of the chassis.
A PSU cover is also included for additional protection of your power supply and cable management. The interior part of the MasterBox Lite 5 is spacious and allows for the installation of a 360mm radiator along with the support for 3-slot GPUs up to 400mm (16,14 inches). It supports up to 3x 120mm (1x 140mm) front fans, 1x 120mm rear and 1x 120mm top fan, which is not a lot but certainly gets the job done.
Dust filters are included at the front and bottom and should be able to keep most of the dust and dirt away from the interior part of the case. The only drawback of the MasterBox Lite 5 is its limited drive bay support compared to other similar priced PC cases with just 2x 3,5″ and 1x 2,5″ drive bays. At this price point, it is inevitable and apparent that manufacturers need to make compromises in order to justify the lower prices while still being able to provide adequate features and great aesthetics.
The CoolerMaster MasterBox Lite 5 is definitely a great chassis for you to invest your money in, which combines looks and features at a very lucrative price point with the only drawback being the limited drive bays, although 2 HDDs for music, games and other applications and 1 SSD for your Windows should be enough for the average user whose primary focus is gaming and surfing the web. If you do not fit into this category you should not even be looking at the MasterBox Lite 5 and aim for a more expensive alternative.
Even if you are extremely budget-constricted, you should never buy a chassis that does not meet your visual expectations. If you like what you see and it fits your price standards, your purchase is 50% complete. In the end, your PC case is what you will see sitting on your desk every day and if you are not satisfied with the looks of it, simply do not buy it. Any of my PC case recommendations made in this post have been made with two main factors in mind: aesthetics and price. Rest assured that any of the mentioned cases are capable of satisfying the majority of gamers and PC builders, while PC enthusiasts should go for the high-end category or even full towers which are not featured in this guide. These are my top #10 PC case recommendations for 2018 and cases I would personally look at if I were to buy a new PC case today.
In case you liked my post, feel free to leave a comment down below and tell me what PC case you would choose if you were to buy a new one and what chassis you currently have sitting on your desk.