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Best Computer Cases of 2016

Best Computer Cases of 2016

You may have a monster graphics card, a sweet water-cooling setup, and multi-colored braided cables, but your rig’s potential is wasted if they’re crammed into a case that doesn’t complement the hardware. What you need is a shiny new chassis, and we’ve gathered the best you can buy today.

There are several factors that dictate the quality of a PC case, and usually only those products that tick all the right boxes while offering a little something extra make it onto this list. Using a combination of our own reviews, those of other top sites, and owners’ opinions, here are the best cases in every category: Enthusiast-Grade, Enthusiast Under $200, Mini-ITX, HTPC, Micro-ATX Cube, and Best Under $100.

Best Overall Case for Enthusiasts

be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900



Great | Differentiating Features
Incredibly customizable, Qi charger, fantastic water cooling support, three motherboard height settings, huge number of storage options, five color LED switch and fan controller at front

Good | Most Have It
Loads of space inside, very quiet, beautiful looks

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No PSU shroud, expensive, no air intake on the bottom

If you’re an enthusiast PC builder, then only the best case will suffice. Last year’s winner was the marvelous Corsair Obsidian 900D, with the Cooler Master Cosmos II and Phanteks Enthoo Primo hot on its heels. This year, however, we have a new champion: the incredible be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900.

First thing you’ll notice about this case is that it looks stunning. Whether you choose the orange, black, or silver trim, the Dark Base Pro 900 screams quality. At 14.39 kg and 23 inches tall, it’s around 4 inches shorter and 4kg lighter than the Obsidian, but still a satisfyingly large, sturdy case. And that gorgeous, tinted tempered glass window is the icing on the visual cake.

Probably the best aspect of this case is its completely customizable, modular design. Not only can you reposition the fully removable motherboard tray (which supports E-ATX and XL-ATX mobos) at three different vertical heights, but it’s also possible to fit it upside down for an inverted layout.

That flexibility extends to the drive bays – you can have as many or as few as you wish inside the Pro 900. Each of the seven cages can hold either a single 3.5″ drive or a pair of 2.5″ drives, and there’s a 2.5″ mount on the motherboard panel, meaning you could stick a total of fifteen 2.5″ drives in this case. Additionally, it comes with two 5.25″ bays, should you need them.

With its customizable approach, the case is fantastic for water cooling systems, with space for radiators up to 420mm at the top and front, along with a 280mm radiator in the base and a 140mm radiator in the rear.

Fan-wise, it comes with three 140mm PWM SilentWing 3s, but there are plenty of options for adding more; you can fit three 140mm fans, four 120mm fans, a single 180mm fan, or one 200mm fan in the top panel. If you remove the 5.25″ drive bay an additional front 140mm fan can be installed, and, depending on your power supply length, 120mm or 140mm fans can also be placed in the base.

The 20mm of clearance behind the motherboard tray, along with the numerous grommets and velcro straps, mean that cable management won’t be an issue in the Pro 900. And the sheer size of the case also helps in this department.

While it may seem like a bit of a gimmick, the additional Qi charger that sits on the roof of the Dark Base Pro 900 is a quick and easy way of charging one of the 1000+ compatible devices. It’s a feature that simply adds a little something extra to the case.

Combine all this with the five color LED switch and fan controller at the front, excellent airflow, and, of course, the fact it’s extremely quiet, makes it our pick for top enthusiast case. The only minor points being the price ($249), a lack of a PSU shroud, and no air intake on the bottom.

Ultimately, the number of customization options offered by the Dark Base 900 Pro mean you can swap its interior layout around so often, you may never want to buy another case again.

There were a few notable runners up in the enthusiast category:

Corsair Obsidian 900D: last year’s winner is still an absolute beauty of a case, and one of the best around for water cooling setups. It’s so big you could live in it, supports two PSUs, and has five radiator mounting points. But this sturdy, stylish chassis doesn’t come cheap – it’s around $340 on Amazon.

Cooler Master Cosmos II: The flashy Ferrari to the Obsidian’s luxury SUV. The two cases share a lot of similarities, though the Cosmos now tends to be cheaper, and picking between the two is often a matter of taste. Its aluminum frame, solid steel panels, and fully painted interior exudes quality.

Phanteks Enthoo Primo: Another great case that fits a ton of hardware and makes for excellent water cooling setups. The Enthoo Primo from Phanteks is over $100 cheaper than the 900D, and often sells for less than the Cosmos II. It may not be as gargantuan as other cases, but its quality is just as high.

Best Enthusiast Case Under $200

Phanteks Enthoo Luxe



Great | Differentiating Features
Incredible value for price, excellent construction, supports massive range of water and air cooling configurations, comes with reservoir mounting bracket and pump bracket

Good | Most Have It
Plenty of room for 5.25″/3.5″/2.5″ drives, great cable management, PWM fan hub

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Some may find it too similar to the Enthoo Pro

While high-end cases represent a pinnacle for PC builders, not everyone is willing or able to pay well over $200 for their hardware’s housing. If you fall into this category, then take a look at the Pantheks Enthoo Luxe, which offers premium features and build quality at a very reasonable price.

While the Luxe’s frame and design are identical to the Enthoo Pro – an entry in our “Best under $100″ section – this pricier model comes with a few more features, including an extra 140mm fan, sandblasted aluminum panels, and an integrated LED lighting set up.

It’s obvious that the case is designed with water cooling in mind; the Luxe can accommodate radiators up to 420mm and even comes with a reservoir mounting bracket and a pump bracket.

If you like filling your case with fans, then the Luxe has you covered in this department as well. It ships with a pre-installed 200mm front fan and two PH-F140SPs. The case can support a huge mix of various sized fans, and has a PWM hub that can manage up to six of them.

The numerous grommets and velcro straps, coupled with ample space provided behind the rear panel, mean the Luxe is an excellent case to construct a sharp, clean build. The inside looks even tidier thanks to the PSU shroud and metal panel that hides the storage cages.

While it may not support the same monstrous number of drives as more expensive cases, the Luxe’s three 5.25″ bays, six 3.5″/2.5″ bays and an extra 2.5″ bay should be more than enough for most people’s needs.

The only real downside to this case is that some may prefer to buy the similar Enthoo Pro for ~$50 less, but splashing out extra for the Luxe gets you a few more features and adds more quality to what is already an excellent case. For this price, you’ll find no better.

Best Mini-ITX Case




Great | Differentiating Features
Fantastic looks, a Mini-ITX case that can support two 280mm radiators

Good | Most Have It
Massive side window, PSU shroud, great cable management, fan hub for eight fans

Average | Competitors May Be Better
SSDs appear upside down when mounted, no 5.25″ bays, no grommets

The sheer volume of top quality Mini-ITX cases meant picking a winner for this category was no simple task. In the end it was whittled down to two contenders and, after much deliberation, the NZXT Manta came out on top.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Manta is its looks; it should come as little surprise to learn that the designer took inspiration from the Ferrari 458. Those curved steel panels (which are easily removed), large window and controllable LED system make it the kind of case your console gaming-only friend will stare at in envy.

But it’s not just a sleekly designed case, it’s also a highly functional one. The Manta is pretty big for a Mini-ITX, it’s almost Micro-ATX sizes, but this means you’ll have no problem fitting a large graphics card (up to 363mm in length) inside it. The roomy interior also supports one 120mm and two 280mm radiators. And though it will be a bit of a tight squeeze, this gives it great potential for custom loop cooling.

The case is no slouch when it comes to air cooling, either. It ships with two 120mm fans in the front – both mounts also support 140mm sizes – and another 120mm fan in the rear. You can also stick a couple of 120mm/140mm fans in the roof, should you wish. And to top it all off, there’s a fan hub for eight fans.

There are no 5.25″ drive bays in the Manta, but these are becoming more of a rarity, especially on smaller form factors. Two 2.5″ drives can be mounted on a plate to the right of the motherboard, with a 3.5″ drive sitting behind them and another 2.5″/3.5″ drive found on the floor. One problem here is that the SSDs will appear upside down when mounted, which isn’t a great look when peering through the glass.

That curved back panel allows an exceptional amount of room for cable management, and there are also plenty of holes and covers, but there’s a surprising lack of grommets. Nevertheless, the Manta allows a very clean build.

Capping the whole thing off are dust filters on all the major intakes, a sturdy PSU shroud, and great airflow.

Other than the small negative points already mentioned, such as its large size, the Manta is a premium case that comes at a premium price – around $130. But if you want features such as gorgeous looks, excellent water cooling support and brilliant cable management, it’s worth the money.

The other Mini-ITX case competing for the number one position was the Fractal Design Define Nano S. It was a tough choice between these two great and somewhat similar cases: both are large for Mini-ITX, have plenty of water and air cooling options, space for four drives, good airflow, and excellent construction.

What put the Manta ahead are its slightly better cable management, sturdier and more stylish build, ability to accommodate a slightly larger GPU, and the PSU shroud. Moreover, the fact that the Nano S places the GPU and PSU so close together can put people off. But a couple of areas where the Nano S has the Manta beat are sound levels (it’s lined with noise deadening material) and price – you can find it for around$70 on Amazon.

Best HTPC Case

Silverstone Milo ML04



Great | Differentiating Features
Great design, excellent price, easy to work on.

Good | Most Have It
Sleek A/V looks, can hold five 2.5″ drives.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Low profile expansion cards only, cable management can be an issue.

The home theatre PC case sector hasn’t seen too many new entries recently. With some Mini-ITX cases getting even smaller and being designed with the living room in mind, HTPCs are one of the slower growing form factors. Meaning that if you want a computer to sit under your TV and look like an expensive piece of audio/visual equipment, you still won’t find a better all-rounder than the Silverstone Milo ML04.

Available for around $70, the case’s low-profile design and brushed aluminum cover make it look like a much pricier piece of kit. The power button sticks out of the lockable front door, giving you that extra bit of physical security, behind which lies the two USB 3.0 ports, audio input, and microphone jack.

Even thought the ML04 measures just 350mm deep and 105mm high, it can hold both Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX boards, allowing a lot more options when it comes to builds. There’s also plenty of storage space for such a small case: a 5.25″ bay that can also hold one 3.5″ drive or two 2.5″ drives, two more bays that can hold 3.5″ or 2.5″ drives, and a fourth bay that holds just one 2.5″ drive. This means the Milo ML04 can support a total of five 2.5″ drives or three 3.5″ drives.

The four 80mm fan slots, along with the oversized slots above the CPU and on the side of the case, help keep things cool. And while building inside the ML04 is a lot easier than with most HTPCs of this size, cable management can be an issue, especially if you pack it with drives. The size also limits the expansion cards to the low-profile variety, but that’s unlikely to be an issue – it’s not like you’re going to be playing Crysis 3 on it. You could always use a riser and install a full size single-slot card above the motherboard, but that would limit the height of the CPU cooler.

If you’d prefer a bigger case but still want HTPC looks, an alternative is the Grandia GD08. It still looks like it belongs in a living room but fits motherboards up to E-ATX in size, can accommodate GPUs as long as 13.6 inches, features twelve drive bays, and has room for four 120mm fans.

Best Micro-ATX Cube

BitFenix Phenom mATX



Great | Differentiating Features
Can easily handle dual GPU setups, beautiful and solid construction, five motherboard expansion slots, space for ten hard drives.

Good | Most Have It
Comes with two 120mm fans, can fit a full-size ATX PSU.

Average | Competitors May Be Better
Cable management can be problematic. All expansion slots held in place by a single screw.

Another category that hasn’t seen a ton of action; more people seem to be choosing either full ATX towers or Mini-ITXs these days, and as such our pick for 2016 remains the same as last year: The BitFenix Phenom mATX.

The case is one of the roomier Micro-ATX Cubes you’ll find. With five expansion slots, you can fit a couple of graphics cards up to 320mm in length inside the Phenom without much difficulty. It also offers a host of cooling setups that include room for a 240mm radiator or CPU cooler up to 160 mm in height. There’s space for up to five fans across the top (120mm), bottom (120mm/200mm/230mm) and rear (120mm/140mm) of the case, and it comes with two 120mm fans as standard.

Aesthetically, the Phenom is a beautiful case with a flowing and minimalistic design. The smooth edges and solid construction certainly make it look more expensive than its sub-$100 price suggests. Plus, it comes in black or white, so you can match it to your décor.

The vast number of storage options is one the Phenom’s best features. You can fit an amazing ten drives – five 3.5″ and five 2.5″ – inside this Micro-ATX. Though filling up all the bays will no doubt exacerbate one of the case’s few drawbacks: messy cable management.

Ultimately, this small negative point, and the way the expansion slots are held in place with a single screw, aren’t enough to detract from the overall quality of the BitFenix Phenom, making it a worthy winner.

Another excellent case in this category is Fractal Design’s Node 804 ($100). Its clean, minimalistic design looks great, and it can support multiple radiators, ten storage devices and ten fans.

Alternatively, there’s the Carbide Air 240 ($75) from the always excellent Corsair. This competitively priced, sturdy and compact chassis can hold radiators up to 240mm, has space for up to six storage drives, and – as its name suggests – is designed with optimal airflow in mind. It also has fantastic cable management features for a smaller case, and a huge side window to show off your skills.

Best Case Under $100

Fractal Design Define R5



Great | Differentiating Features
Solid construction for a comparatively low price, offers lots of customization options, great for water cooling, can choose between extra fans or more soundproofing

Good | Most Have It
Quiet, accommodates huge GPUs, three speed fan controller for three fans, dust covers on all the intakes

Average | Competitors May Be Better
No PSU shroud, windowed version takes it over $100

Some passionate case builders will say you can’t get high quality cases under $100, but that simply isn’t true. No other chassis disproves this claim more than the Fractal Design Define R5. The size, weight, and visible construction quality of this case suggest its sub-$100 price tag may be a mistake. The bitumen-based audio-damping material making up a good part of the R5’s hefty 11.2kg.

This case is all about flexibility, with sections of the cage system able to be removed to suit your preferred setup. In addition to the two 2.5″ SSD mounts on the back of the motherboard panel, the case can hold up to eight 2.5″/3.5″ drives and two 5.25″ drives.

Depending on your cage and fan configuration, the R5 can accommodate GPUs up to a massive 440mm in length, PSUs up to 300mm, and radiators up to 420mm in the top and 360mm in the front – an amazing feat for a mid-size case. You’ll find the R5 comes with two 140mm Fractal Design Dynamic GP14s, and with a total of 9 fan positions available, adding more won’t be a problem. There’s even a three-speed controller on the front panel that supports up to three fans.

Other features of this excellent product include velcro straps and grommets to make cable management that bit easier, ModuVent fan slot covers that lets you choose between extra fans or more sound proofing, and dust covers on all the intakes. The only real negatives with the R5 are the lack of a PSU shroud and the fact you’ll likely be paying well over $100 for the windowed version.

An alternative option in this category is the Phanteks Enthoo Pro. This case shares many of the R5’s qualities, including its excellent construction, massive number of water cooling options, and removable drive cage sections.

Ultimately, both R5 and Enthoo Pro are amazing cases, especially for under $100, and choosing between the two will come down to personal taste.


Read More- http://www.techspot.com/bestof/cases/