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The Best PC Case Buyer’s Guide – Summer 2021

By Ari Altman | Published June 13, 2021 | Updated June 16, 2021

Here at The Tech Buyer’s Guru, we’ve reviewed dozens of PC cases over the years, so at this point we know a good PC case when we see one. In this guide, we list our top 10 cases picks among every case on the market. And 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.

For Summer 2021, there’s one theme that rises above all others, and it’s not RGB and tempered glass… that was the last few years! Yes, there’s still plenty of those two things, but what we’re seeing in the latest models is something else that’s been missing: airflow! TBG has been laser-focused on this in our PC case reviews recently, because the glass and RGB trend brought with it a significant performance penalty. Now manufacturers are finding a way to provide cool RGB effects that work in concert with high airflow mesh designs, and we really like this move to combine the best innovations in aesthetics and performance, both of which are without a doubt important in case design. And on that note, we’ve conducted a wide range of case fan tests over the past year that will definitely help you set up the best possible cooling for your case, so definitely check out our case fan reviews (in our case reviews section) and our case fan buyer’s guide.

By the way, 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. 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

  • The SG13 is the smallest ITX case available from any major manufacturer, making it the clear choice for the $1,500 Mini-ITX Gaming PC Build. There are smaller “kick-started” cases out there, but they often come with a whole lot of “gotchas.” The SG13, on the other hand, is supported by the biggest name in the ITX industry, SilverStone. At under 12 liters, it’s truly tiny, but packs a big punch!
    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.

  • 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.

  • 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! Just note that availability is extremely limited, and as of our latest update, it’s only shipping in the US and Canada.
    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.

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ATX

  • The bargain-priced case offers tremendous features for the price. You get a 120mm fan in the rear, a stylish front panel with ample venting for airflow, and a tempered glass panel on the side. And thanks to its modern interior, it has a very small footprint. With that said, if you want even more airflow and a whole lot more bling, go for the , which has four 120mm ARGB fans installed!
    The Guru’s Tip

    One of the things we absolutely love about this case is that unlike just about every other budget offering, it allows you to install triple 120mm fans or dual 140mm fans behind its front mesh panel. That in turns allows for amazing airflow in this compact case!

  • This sleek-looking case from Cooler Master offers plenty of style along with fantastic performance. That’s thanks to the three 120mm ARGB fans mounted in front, behind a full mesh intake to allow for great airflow. It’s also big enough to fit big tower coolers up to 165mm tall.

    The Guru’s Tip

    The ARGB fans in this system can be controlled directly via a 5V/3-pin RGB header on modern motherboards.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.
    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!

  • Our favorite high-performance gaming case has now been updated to with awesome ARGB lighting, making it better than ever! The H500P Mesh White is the star of high-end cases. It features a tempered glass side panel, dual 200mm front fans behind a big mesh intake, and a 140mm rear fan. It will keep your components nicely chilled thanks to a constant wall of air.
    The Guru’s Tip

    The price on this versus competing high-performance ARGB cases is simply exceptional!

  • 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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Mini-ITX
ATX