Choosing the Best PC Case – Work Rift’s 2 Special Picks!

Choosing the best PC case can be challenging.

Even though computer cases don’t directly affect the kind…

…of performance your computer will be able to deliver…

…they still play a very important role in your overall system.

In addition to housing and protecting your components…

...PC cases also play an important role in regulating the airflow in your system…

…which helps keep it cool (at least, the good ones do).

There are so many case options out there.

Moreover, they all have different sizes, different designs, and a wide range of features.

Although a computer case is one of the more exciting components to choose…

…there are many factors to consider when trying to select the right one for you.

Here, we’ll go over four different factors (some with a lot of subtopics)…

…to consider when choosing a case for your PC build.

By the end of this post, you should have a clearer understanding…

…of what to look for in a case, so that you can find the best PC case for you and your new system.

Here are a few words from Joanna…

I am in love with how this case and build turned out.

There is plenty of room to build a simple machine…

…and I like the option of moving the power/USB ports around…

…instead of always having them in the same spot.

SSD installs are clean, love that the case doesn’t have a big stack of metal in the front…

…but hides the HDD behind the back panel, so there is still plenty of space for cables.

A bracket secures the power supply in the case…

…and a handle on the bottom backside of the case allows it…

…to be mounted a little further into the case.

This case is well worth the small amount they are asking for.

I have built with cases that cost three times as much…

…but did not make as much sense as this case did.

The case is beautifully built.

Let’s get started…

Choosing the Best PC Case

Choosing the Best PC Case
Credits: workrift.com

1. Form-factor, Case Compatibility, and Clearance

In reality, this section should be called “Case Compatibility”…

…since clearance issues and form-factor are two subsets of case compatibility.

I’ll break down case compatibility into those two sections for the purpose of organizing this post:

Form-Factors and Common Case Sizes

In general, there are four common case sizes:

  • Full Tower (Large)
  • Mid Tower (Medium)
  • Micro-ATX (Small)
  • Mini-ITX (Smaller)

There are no standards for case size, at least not in terms of its dimensions.

All cases, however, support one or more of the various computer motherboard forms.

These are the most common motherboard form factors:

  • Extended ATX
  • Standard ATX
  • Micro-ATX
  • Mini-ITX

It is more likely that a bigger case can accommodate a variety of motherboard form factors.

Some full tower cases, for instance, can hold any of the four common motherboard forms.

You can’t put a mini-ITX motherboard in a full tower case.

But, in terms of compatibility, it is possible to do so.

However, smaller form-factor cases are restricted by their size and…

…as a result, cannot accommodate larger form-factor motherboards.

A standard ATX motherboard cannot be installed inside a mini-ITX case, for example.

It is the only standard that binds the different cases in a common case size together.

The reason for this is that while all mid towers can hold standard ATX motherboards…

…not all mid tower cases have the same dimensions or features.

This is also true for other common case sizes.

When it comes to motherboard form-factor, the main thing to consider is that the motherboard…

…you have chosen (or plan on choosing) will fit inside of the case you intend to purchase.

It’s easy to determine which motherboard form-factors are compatible…

…with a case by looking at its spec sheet.

Clearance & Other Compatibility Issues

As well as considering the motherboard form-factors that a case supports…

…you should also make sure that all of the other components you choose will be compatible with the case.

When shopping for a PC case, you should be aware of the following clearance and compatibility issues:

  • Graphics card length
  • Air CPU cooler height
  • Liquid cooling radiator size

Let’s dive into each of these three issues below…

Graphics Card Length

Higher-end video cards are typically longer than budget-friendly video cards.

Consequently, some cases may have clearance issues with longer graphics cards.

It’s becoming less common as A) graphics cards are getting shorter…

…and B) mid towers and smaller cases are being built to accommodate longer graphics cards.

This issue still persists, however. So, before you finalize your part list…

…you should check the specifications of both your case…

…and graphics card to determine how long your card is…

…and how much clearance your case has for a graphics card.

You are good to go if your case allows graphics cards that are longer than your graphics card.

Otherwise, you should find a shorter alternative.

If you’re looking for a small form factor case…

…you may want to consider some of the “mini” graphics cards that are available….

…(both Zotac and Gigabyte have mini versions of their higher-end cards).

Air CPU Cooler Tower Height

In the same way that some graphics cards are longer than others…

…some air CPU coolers have taller heatsinks than others.

In addition, not every case can accommodate the tallest air coolers.

If you want to be sure the CPU cooler you have chosen will fit inside your case…

…again, check the specs of both the case and the air CPU cooler you are considering.

You will find the height of the CPU cooler you are considering on the spec sheet of the case you are getting.

Liquid Cooling Radiator Size

Liquid cooling systems (whether they are AIOs or custom loops)…

…use liquid to transmit heat from your processor to a radiator.

Several fans are mounted on the radiator, which dissipate some of the heat.

There is no standard radiator size, however. They are available in different sizes.

In the same way that not every case can accommodate every CPU cooler and graphics card…

…not every case can accommodate every radiator size.

It’s important to ensure that the radiator that comes…

…with your liquid cooler fits inside your case before choosing a liquid cooling setup (AIO or custom loop).

Additionally, it is important to understand the difference…

…between AIO coolers and custom liquid cooling setups.

Since custom liquid cooling setups require extra space for reservoirs…

…a case that supports large radiators isn’t necessarily suitable for custom loops.

However, they do typically complement each other.

A Computer Case’s Role in Cooling and Air Flow

While PC cases are typically more attractive because of their aesthetics…

…they play an important role in the cooling process. In order to build and maintain a computer…

…it is vital to keep the components cool.

In general, the cooler your components run…

…the longer they will last and the fewer problems they will encounter.

By providing or failing to provide air flow…

…computer cases contribute to (or hinder) the cooling process.

This will also affect the type of CPU cooler you will be able to buy.

Check out the compatibility section above for more information.

When choosing a case with high air flow and good cooling capabilities, consider the following:

The case should be able to accommodate multiple fans at various locations (front, back, top, side, etc.).

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the case you choose will come with a bunch of fans.

A few fans are typically pre-installed in most cases (cheaper cases usually come with only one or two).

However, if your budget permits, you should choose a case that has the option of adding multiple fans.

Getting a case with the ability to accommodate fans on the front and back…

…(or top) of the case will allow you to intake air from the front and exhaust it out the back (or top).

The panels (front, side, and top) on a case also play a large role in air flow.

It is recommended to use cases with grilled panels or grilled openings…

…on their panels because the grill-design allows more air to enter the case (and exit).

As a result, cases with solid front, top, side…

…and back panels limit the flow of air into and out of the case…

…because there are fewer openings for air to enter or leave the case.

In order to keep your components cool…

…it is best if you choose a case that has grill panels,

…as this will increase air flow in the case.

Additionally, as we mentioned above, certain cases may not be able to accommodate certain CPU coolers and liquid cooling radiators.

While that does not necessarily mean that those cases aren’t good options for air flow or cooling…

…it does mean that they will limit the types of coolers you can install.

If you’d like to get an AIO cooler with a 360mm radiator on it…

…but you really want a case that can only hold a 240mm radiator, you have to sacrifice one or the other.

Keep reading…

3. Case Build Quality

Another important feature is the build quality.

Cheaper cases are built with lower-quality materials and…

…as a result, have more dings and scratches, are less sturdy, have thinner panels, and last longer.

The higher-end cases, on the other hand, typically have a solid frame and are therefore more durable.

For some builders on a budget, there’s no way around choosing a cheaper case.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Even if a cheaper case looks cool and has some nice features…

…there probably had to be some corners cut somewhere…

…and it is most likely that it was in the materials and construction.

4. Case Aesthetics & Cable Mangement

Choosing the Best PC Case
Credits: workrift.com

In my opinion, a lot fewer people would build their own computers…

…if there weren’t so many cool computer cases to choose from.

Even though cases have no direct impact on your system’s performance…

…imagine if the only case you had was one of those basic-looking cases…

…that cheap pre-built computers come in.

It kind of takes the fun out of building a computer, right?

The aesthetics of the case are important since most people want their cases to look cool.

Therefore, in this section, I will discuss four different aspects of case aesthetics…

…that you should consider before choosing a case:

Cable Management

The people who build computers fall into three different categories, in my opinion.

  • Those who are extremely particular about cable management.
  • People who do a decent job of cable management, but aren’t going to abuse it.
  • Those who just don’t care about cable management.

Choosing a case that is designed with cable management in mind is the best choice…

…for the first two types of people.

Doing your due diligence on cable management is one of the keys…

…to building a clean-looking system.

Even if you color coordinate your components…

…get a case with a see-through side panel, and fill your system with RGB lights…

…if you don’t clean up your cabling, your build won’t look good.

Although cable management is a bit of an art, and people who excel…

…at cable management can probably make the cables look good in any case…

…having a case with plenty of cable management options…

…will help you hide your cables in an efficient manner.

In particular, first-time builders are likely to be more concerned…

…with getting their computer assembled correctly…

…than with making sure their cables are clean and hidden.

Some cases come with extra cable management features…

…that will make the build process easier for first-time builders…

…so they don’t have to worry as much about it.

Cable management features to look for include:

  • Plenty of holes and hooks/loops all over the case
  • Grommets around the holes to conceal the gaps
  • Casings with some depth behind the motherboard to accommodate large groups of cables
  • PSU shrouds are nice because they make cable managing with non-modular PSUs much easier. (And, they look really clean.)

Go on…

See-Through Side Panels

A case with a transparent side panel will help you showcase the inside of your computer…

…if you want to build a stylish system.

If you take your time and do a good job of managing your cables…

…you’ll earn some serious credit among your non-techie friends for how cool your computer looks.

It’s important to note that there are different types of side panels.

For best results, choose tempered glass panels.

Do not use a see-through acrylic side panel if you can.

Acrylic is very easy to scratch.

When I tried to wipe off dust with a cloth, I left scratches on acrylic side panels.

PSU Shrouds

PSU shrouds are an important part of my personal style.

Shrouds are a godsend for both A) those of us who lack elite-level cable management skills, and B)…

…those of us who have to go with a nonmodular power supply on a tight budget.

It’s not so much that a case without a PSU shroud or a non-modular power supply…

…cannot be cable managed, but that the mess of molex…

…and SATA power cables left over will be an eyesore inside your case.

By default, a PSU shroud hides that mess.

However, even if you have a modular or semi-modular power supply…

…a PSU shroud helps create a clean look that keeps the focus on your main components.

“The PSU is one of the essential components of any PC, and if you’re investing any serious amount of money in a gaming setup, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got an adequate power supply.”

Samuel Stewart – Editor-in-Chief at GamingScan

RGB Lighting

With RGB lighting being so popular, it’s no wonder more and more cases feature RGB lights.

RGB fans and RGB led strips can be purchased separately and added to cases that don’t come with them.

However, if the case already includes them, that means you don’t have to pay for RGB lighting after the fact.

Ensure the case has RGB lights rather than just a specific color led light if you want a specific color scheme.

Our Top Picks

Aigo Darkflash ATX/M-ATX/ITX Tempered Glass PC Case

Choosing the Best PC Case
Credits: workrift.com

F-panel’s drill cutting design provides a fall of vision and improves the texture.

The black side glass provides a low-profile solution for showing off the light effect.

In addition, the tempered glass design makes it possible to see more of the inside of the chassis.

Three millimeters of thick tempered glass are used to make the chassis strong.

In order to form the metal structure with impressive beauty, the 0.45mm SPCC is painted.

The magnetic top cover protects the chassis from dust and facilitates cleaning more easily.

Check Price on Work Rift

GameMax Brufen C1 Gaming Case

Choosing the Best PC Case
Credits: workrift.com

GameMax Brufen C1 COC Gaming Chassis is designed for Intel Gen 10th CPU Cooling.

COC stands for Cooling & Over-Clocking, which means cooling overclocking.

This is a new type of heat dissipation system.

Various accessories in the PC system can be cooled down…

…with a Turbofan installed on the mainboard of the chassis

The COC technology has also been granted two invention patents…

…and two structural patents by the GameMax brand after hundreds…

…of years of research and development in combination…

…with the requirements of various consumer groups throughout the world.

In the front panel we installed a 2x200mm big fan with ARGB light mode…

…that is controlled by the built-in HUB. It provides ample air flow…

…and excellent visual effect and the spectrum LED strip inlaid…

…creates the perfect balance between style and RGB effects.

The Brufen C1 can support up to eight fans and comes with a spectrum RGB hub…

…with a 3pin ARGB header that connects directly to your motherboard…

…allowing you to control your fans and LED strip with the software included with your motherboard.

Check Price on Work Rift

Sum Up!

There are literally hundreds of case options to choose from.

You will need to determine first how much you want to spend…

…and second, the other components you have (or have chosen)…

…for your build and whether or not they are compatible…

…with the case you are considering…

…and third, your own personal preferences on some of the factors mentioned above.

If you’ve read through this post, you should have a much better understanding …o

…f what to look for when choosing a PC case.

Conclusion

PC cases shouldn’t be your first consideration when building a PC…

…but they should be more than just an afterthought.

Your PC building experience can be ruined by a poorly designed case…

…which makes upgrades more difficult and can even significantly lower your rig’s performance.

By paying attention to the details, these issues can easily be avoided.

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