When selecting your next PC case there is a lot more to it than how good it looks and how many LEDs it has (although that’s obviously important too!). You need to make sure it keeps your rig cool while making as little noise as possible, that it has the features you want, such as space for a water-cooling system and that the front panel connectors give you what you need.
The first thing to do is work out how big you need your case to be. This is going to depend on the size of the motherboard that you plan on using for your build. While most high quality cases do tend to be flexible, make sure you know the dimensions of your motherboard and check the dimensions of the case before you purchase!
If you're putting together a new PC then be sure to look at our top graphics cards too.
But without further ado, here are some of the best cases around from the biggest brands.
CoolerMaster MasterBox 5+
When people talk about solid dependable PC gaming cases CoolerMaster comes to the front of mind very quickly.
The CoolerMaster Masterbox 5 is an all-around great performer. This is a no-nonsense entry, it provides great cooling and noise reduction, a good level of customisation at an incredibly attractive price point.
While the case ships with a pair of 140mm fans (one at the front, one at the back), the case has ample room for additional cooling. The front can fit a trio of 120mm fans or a pair of 140mm fans, while the rear can fit 120mm fans only. The case can also fit a 240mm or 280mm radiator if you’re planning on water cooling; with a bracket to go in the top of the front panel for a third 120mm fan too.
The case consists of a steel body and a plastic mesh bezel, and holds 7 expansion slots.
It has enough room to fit oversized motherboards so the size of your setup won’t be a problem, which is always handy.
The other fantastic thing about the MasterBox 5 is the value coming in at an extremely impressive price point for what you're getting.
Corsair Obsidian 500D
The 500D is a gaming PC case for the grown-ups. Unlike the SE version (which is much more expensive) this has an aluminium front panel instead of glass, and the tinted glass sides let you see the interior lighting but not all the detail, so it's a lot subtler than the in-your-face designs.
It's also nice that the doors hinge open for easy access: they're held shut by magnets.
There's plenty of room for water coolers: a 360mm unit behind the front panel and 240mm or 280mm in the top section.
Cables can be routed tidily thanks to a well-thought-out system that hides the bulk of the cables even on the right-hand side of the case behind the motherboard tray, where there are mounts for three SSDs and two 3.5in hard drives.
Usefully the front panel has two USB 3.1 ports and a USB-C port as well. There are removable dust filters beneath the power supply and in the top and front panels, too.
Note that the included pair of 120mm fans are un-lit: if you want the full RGB experience, you'll have to buy those separately or go with the 500D SE.
It's a little more expensive than others here, but the build quality makes it well worth it. We found it for just £119.95 at Scan.co.uk.
The Bitfenix Aurora is doing everything it can to be a high-end case at a mid-range price point, and its pulling it off very well.
The side of the case being a glass sheet makes the case stand out instantly. Glass is not cheap to ship around due to its weight, so finding a reasonably priced case with a full glass panel is not common at all.
The front panel contains a solid selection of ports with USB 3.0 and 2.0 available as well as headset jacks and an LED controller.
The case features the ability to house 2x 120mm/140mm fans, an included rear 120mm x1, and 2x top 120mm/140mm fans.
Considering the glass panel in the side of the case, the build quality and additional features – it’s an absolute steal at it's current price.
Riotoro CR500 TG
The Riotoro name isn’t particularly well known as of yet, but that is set to change over the next few years. The company was started by ex-employees of well-known brands such as Nvidia and Corsair so the pedigree Is certainly there.
This particular case is targeting the same area of the market that the MasterBox 5 inhabits. It combines excellent build quality, a basic by effective cooling and filtration system and substantial fan support.
The chassis itself contains a tempered glass panel, impressive acoustic performance all around and the ability to hold three 120mm fans.
This case is extremely good value for money, giving the market leader in CoolerMaster some very serious competition.
Silverstone Redline Series RL06
Silverstone has a long standing reputation for high quality, stylish products. Offering everything from power supplies to fans and coolers, their Redline Series RL06 is no exception to their already outstanding reputation.
Aesthetically this case catches the eye right away, with the white on black contrast making it look very striking.
The case is of steel construction with a plastic front-facing panel. The top panel has a magnetic metal-mesh filter, which just under has space for two 120mm or 140mm fans.
The top of the case has two USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, headphone jacks, a hard drive activity LED and a power button. Behind the front panel you’ll be able to fit three 120mm intake fans.
The fan filtration system for the case is basic but functional. The locations of the filters at the top and front panels make cleaning them easy, whereas the bottom filter must be accessed by turning the PC on its side.
The Redline RL06 is fantastic value for such a well presented high quality case.
Be Quiet Dark Base 700 RGB
On the face it of it the Dark Base 700 is a very good case. It offers plenty of room for a top end gaming rig build, has built in RGB led strips which flank the front edges of the case, has a built-in fan controller and a tempered glass panel.
It comes with a pair of near-inaudible 140mm fans and space for up to a 360mm water cooler in the top panel. However, the panel itself has only a couple of exhaust vents at the rear, which isn't ideal for cooling.
The front connectors include a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a switch for the fan controller, a button to change six preset colours for the LEDs and - handily - a USB-C port. It's a slight shame the port is fitted into a USB-A-size hole though.
With a full-length PSU shroud and plastic covers over the five hard drive bays, it's possible to build a very neat PC in the Dark Base 700.