The Best PC Cases Buyer’s Guide – Fall 2021

By Ari Altman | Published September 23, 2021 | Updated September 23, 2021

The Best PC CasesUpgrade to the Best PC Cases, Not Just Popular Ones!

Here at The Tech Buyer’s Guru, we’ve reviewed dozens and dozens of PC cases over the years, so at this point we know the best PC cases when we see them. In this guide, we list our top 10 picks  on the case market today. Rather than segment them into arbitrary categories like best $50 case, $60 case, $70 case and so on, we simply picked the cases that we think represent the state of the art in the PC industry. You’ll see some great budget cases, some ultra-compact mini-ITX options, and some super-towers, and we’re pretty sure that if you want a new case, you’ll find a perfect option among our picks.

Spotting Not Just the Latest Trends, but the Latest GOOD Trends!

For Fall 2021, there’s one theme that rises above all others, and it’s airflow! Sure, glass and RGB lighting are still a thing, but the most innovative manufacturers have shown that you can have these things and good performance too!

TBG has been laser-focused on thermal performance in our PC case reviews over the past few years, because the glass and RGB trend, which we fully support, initially brought with it a significant performance penalty. It didn’t need to be this way: cool RGB effects can work in concert with high airflow mesh designs!

Speaking of airflow, just as important as the case design is the fans used for case cooling, and we’ve conducted the most extensive case fan testing in the review industry to help you set up the best possible cooling for your case. Definitely check out our case fan reviews (in our case reviews section) and our case fan buyer’s guide.

Final Thoughts

Unlike a lot of other categories of PC components, cases can be used in multiple systems over time, making them a very good place to invest in the best you can afford. With that said, we’re seeing more rapid advancement of PC case design than ever before, with new USB connectivity standards, new fan standards, new cooler standards, and new layouts to account for the move from big drives to tiny M.2 drives, and from compact externally-exhausting GPUs to huge, high-TDP, open-air GPUs that dump a lot of hot air into your system. So while you may want to keep a case for two or three generations, it may not be in the interest of your own sanity!

As always, to support continued development of these guides, please use the links we provide, which provide TBG a small commission at no cost to you.

Mini-ITX Models

  • Case

    SilverStone ML09B

    $86
    Silverstone has done some serious engineering work here, and there’s simply nothing else like it on the market today. Despite its compact dimensions, the ML09 can fit a mini-ITX motherboard, a low-profile dual-slot video card, four 2.5″ drives, and an SFX power supply. It’s amazing!
    The Guru’s Tip

    For a high-powered office system, one nice option is to remove the optical drive bracket and included 120mm case fan, and install in their place a high-performance low-profile CPU cooler - with these components removed, there's 70mm of clearance.

  • Case

    SilverStone SG13

    $64

    Coming in at under 12 liters, the SG13 created a whole new class of high-performance cases, and it’s still the only one available at a reasonable cost! There are smaller “kick-started” cases out there, but they often come with a whole lot of “gotchas”, one of which is always an exorbitant price! The SG13, on the other hand, is a value-packed option supported by the biggest name in the ITX industry, SilverStone. It can fit video cards up to 10.6″ long, and in its default configuration, CPU coolers up to 61mm tall.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Just one tweak we highly recommend: don't use an ATX power supply in this case, even if it will technically fit. Instead, get the SilverStone PP08 adapter and install an SFX unit, like SilverStone's SX500-G. This will increase CPU cooler clearance from 61mm to a much more impressive 82mm.

  • Case

    Cooler Master NR200

    $86
    This amazing case is one of a kind. Coming in at 18 liters, it has space for just about every component you could imagine, and looks fantastic too! That includes a huge GPU, a variety of powerful cooler options, and an SFX-class PSU.
    The Guru’s Tip

    Cooler Master also offers a more expensive version called the NR200P that has a glass side panel, but this cuts into CPU cooler clearance and drastically reduces airflow, so we don't recommend it for serious gaming or content creation systems.

ATX Models

  • Case

    Phanteks P300A Mesh

    $70

    Phanteks has been producing fantastic cases for years, and while the P300A is there most affordable offering, it has all the same DNA. That means excellent cooling potential( thanks to the metal mesh front panel), builder-friendly features, and high-quality materials, all for a great price. The chassis includes one 120mm exhaust fan, along with a slide-on tempered glass side panel for looks and convenience.

    The Guru’s Tip

    Phanteks offers tremendous value, but also quality. We've tested cases from nearly every major manufacturer, and Phanteks is in a league of its own in terms of the quality of materials, the manual, and accessories.

  • Case

    be quiet! Pure Base 500DX White

    $100
    The Pure Base 500DX offers new levels of performance around the $100 pricepoint. It has three high-quality 140mm fans (front, top, and rear), integrated RGB lighting in the front panel and interior of the case, plus a tempered glass side panel to show it all off! Note that you’ll have to hurry to catch this in stock, as it sells out constantly.
    The Guru’s Tip

    We really like the white version of this case, but it's also available in black.

  • Case

    Lian Li Lancool II Mesh RGB @Newegg

    $125
    Lian Li tops itself once again with the amazing Lancool II Mesh RGB case. It includes triple 120mm ARGB fans for an eye-catching look, along with a fully-meshed front panel for excellent airflow. And unique among its competitors, it offers dual hinged glass panels for great looks and usability, plus dedicated doors for the PSU chamber, providing great access to cabling!
    The Guru’s Tip

    There are a lot of cases these days that have the basic look of the Lancool II Mesh RGB, but none that have all the innovation!

  • Case

    Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic

    $170

    Lian Li put itself back on the enthusiast map after years of relative anonymity when it launched the immensely-stylish 011 Dynamic. Offering two glass panels arranged to provide an unparalleled view of the interior of the system, the 011 Dynamic is a true showcase.

    The Guru’s Tip

    This case does not include fans, and we recommend you add three 120mm fans to the bottom, and use liquid cooling for your CPU, mounting the radiator on top. This setup will provide immense airflow while preserving the "greenhouse" look of the system.

  • Case

    be quiet! Silent Base 802 White

    $182

    The Silent Base 802 is by far the classiest case you’ll find in its price range, and is among the best all-around cases every released. It just oozes quality, as is typical of be quiet! cases, and it also provides plenty of configuration options. Plus, the three 140mm Pure Wings 2 fans do a great job keeping the interior cool. How much do we love the 802? We use it for all of our component benchmarking… it’s just that great to work with, over and over again!

    The Guru’s Tip

    Two tips to get the most out of this case: definitely use the mesh panel that comes in the box, rather than the pre-installed solid panel, and move the upper front fan to the top of the case. Sounds odd, but it dramatically improves GPU temps!

  • Case

    Phanteks Enthoo 719

    $200

    The Enthoo 719 from Phanteks exudes class, with sand-blasted aluminum panels, a hinged glass panel, and slick integrated ARGB lighting on the front panel and inside the case. Plus it has space for as many radiators as you could ever want: dual 480s plus dual 360s!

    The Guru’s Tip

    This case doesn't include any fans, and we recommend you add at least three 140mm fans.

  • Case

    Cooler Master MasterCase H500M @Newegg

    $260
    This awesome case offers fantastic performance and great gaming style in equal measure. With dual 200mm fans mounted up front, plus a 140mm fan in the rear, it provides a tremendous amount of airflow, while its sweet addressable RGB effects make it really pop. This case includes both glass and mesh front panels, to give you the option to maximize airflow or go for the sleekest look!
    The Guru’s Tip

    While there are more expensive cases on the market, above this point you'll be paying mainly for materials, rather than performance.

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