King of the cases, what's right for you?
Enthusiasts spend hours picking parts, but too many people give too little thought to another vital component: their case.
That’s a shame, because cases are important: a good case can make a system easier to build, offer more room for extra components and make your PC run with better temperatures and less noise. And let’s not forget the aesthetics, either – a good case can make your rig look stunning.
We’ve got a huge range of the best computer cases at Overclockers UK – here are some of our favourites.
Cases come in all sorts of sizes, shapes and prices, but the majority cover the same bases. If you pay attention to these areas, you’ll be fine.
First things first: consider the category of case you need. If you’re putting together a powerful ATX rig with liquid cooling and dual GPUs then you’ll need a full-sized gaming tower, but conventional ATX builds fit into mid-sized enclosures. And if you’re building a small, quiet gaming rig or a simple home desktop, consider microATX or mini-ITX.
One thing’s certain: the form factor will affect every part of the build.
Take motherboards. They always attach to a motherboard tray, but there are differences: some have space behind to hide cables, while others are surrounding by holes for easier cable-routing. If a tidy rig is important, you’ll need these – but many cheaper enclosures don’t have them.
Cooling is crucial. If you’re going to use air-cooling, make sure the case has room – some larger units don’t fit inside narrow cases. If liquid-cooling is preferred, check whether your case can accommodate the radiator – some cases handle 120mm units, others can take a 240mm radiator, while some stretch to 360mm or even 480mm.
Check which fans are included, too. Most cases come with at least one, but you might want to replace that with something better. You can add more, too, so check how many a case can support.
Storage is key. Larger cases have loads of room for hard disks and SSDs, with the former stored in cages at the front and the latter attached to shrouds or the rear of the motherboard tray. Some enclosures have hard disk bays with tool-free caddies or removable cages. More cases also now ditch optical drive bays.
Other components will influence your choice of case. Most PSUs will fit but check the measurements if you’re planning to install a longer PSU. Similarly, check your graphics card – a tower will handle any GPU, but smaller enclosures can’t accept longer cards. Check the ports at the front of your prospective chassis, and check that your motherboard has the connectors to service those sockets.
Then, finally, there’s one huge consideration: looks. Case aesthetics are important, and the market is full of variety. Weigh up whether you want a window, and whether you’re after a trendy chassis with acrylic panels – or a sturdier, more traditional unit hewn from aluminium. Consider lighting, too: many new cases come with fully customisable RGB illumination and plenty of other models come with more conventional lighting.
Towers are the big beasts of the case world – the huge enclosures that handle the world’s most powerful PCs. You won’t find cases with more storage room, better features or as much space – but they take up more space than anything else and weigh more too.
At the top of the heap is the incredible Lian-Li PC-D888WX 8Pack Edition. That mouthful of a name symbolises a partnership between Lian-Li and Overclockers UK’s own Ian “8Pack” Parry – a partnership that delivers a world-class case.
The collaboration has yielded the case 8Pack uses to build his range-topping Supernova. It’s got uncompromising support for liquid-cooling, space for the biggest motherboards and graphics cards, and room for a vast number of hard disks. It’s got 8Pack logo etching, and it’s made entirely from aluminium. It costs £499.99, sure, but there’s no denying that it justifies its price.
If that’s too much, look to the Cougar Panzer Max. This £119.99 full tower is smart and sturdy thanks to metal construction, and it has support for multiple graphics cards, large motherboards and ample storage. There’s room for large water-cooling radiators and a smart cable-management system keeps everything neat. It’s even got a handle, headphone hook and a keyboard tray.
This is the busiest section of the market, and some of the most popular products here come with windows to show off high-end internals. The Phanteks Eclipse P400 has a huge window and a crisp, elegant interior. It’s a looker on the inside, with features designed to emphasise components: a PSU shroud to hide cables and hard disks, clever cable management, and RGB illumination. Not bad for a case that costs just £60.95.
The Kolink Aviator V is even cheaper, and this £46.99 enclosure still includes plenty to like. It’s got a full acrylic side panel, a stylish glossy finish, and three pre-installed fans alongside support for most hardware. Fan control is included, too – ideal if you want to keep the noise down. Spend a little more, meanwhile, to get the £89.99 BitFenix Aurora which combines elegant curves, glass windows and RGB lighting to really show off your build. It’s got room for water-cooling and ample cable management alongside modular hard disk cages and tool-free access.
Some midi tower cases use materials as a key selling point. Take the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv, which has a rock-solid aluminium case construction that’s ideal if you move your PC frequently. It’s got tempered glass alongside sand-blasted metal, and also includes a clean interior with hidden hard disk and PSU features alongside RGB illumination – it’s a relative steal for £169.99.
It’s a similar situation with the Kolink Victory which is made from thick steel and comes with smart blue LEDs, a black interior and a front panel designed to mimic brushed aluminium. It’s an incredible bargain: it’s got the chops for a powerful ATX rig, and it costs a baffling £19.99.
The BitFenix Neos is another impressive and affordable enclosure. It’s got elegant design and dedicated 2.5in and 3.5in drive racks, and tool-free mechanisms. It’s compatible with large graphics cards and has a powder-coated interior, and its coloured mesh front panel can be customised. And, impressively, this case costs just £31.99.
Towers are great for ATX builds, but opting for a smaller motherboard allows for huge versatility from compact cases.
Micro ATX motherboards represent an ideal half-way point between ATX and smaller designs, and the Raijintek Styx is one of the world’s best cases for this tempting form factor. It’s made from brushed aluminium and has a smart, minimal design available in numerous colours for £72.95.
That’s not all to like about the Styx. It supports full-size graphics cards despite its size, and can even accommodate 240mm water-cooling radiators. It’s got space for slim optical drives and room for multiple hard disks and SSDs, and works with full-size ATX power supplies. It’s brilliant.
If you’re after the smallest build possible, though, you’ll need mini-ITX. These enclosures support tiny motherboards but never skimp on features: the Raijintek Metis has a smart aluminium design, a side window, and compatibility with 170mm graphics cards, 160mm CPU coolers and ATX power supplies. It’s entirely possible to build a full-power rig inside this tiny, smart case.
The Cougar QBX Kaze is similarly impressive. It’s another mini-ITX marvel, with room for full-size graphics cards, four SSDs, 240mm radiators and huge PSUs inside a case that’s far smaller than the average enclosure. The best bit? The Kaze and the Metis both cost under £50.
Cubes, HTPC, Benchmarks and Silence:
The case market doesn’t just include the above categories – there are niches, too. We love cube cases like the Lian-Li PC-O8WX which deliver ATX case features in designs that take a step sideways.
The PC-O8WX costs an eye-watering £374.99, but it features an incredible dual-compartment design that allows builders to show off. The front half of the case has adjustable RGB lighting, high-end water-cooling support and incredible cable management to put components in the foreground, while hard disks, the power supply and cables are all hidden in the cavernous rear – perfect to avoid sullying your system with uglier parts. As usual, it’s made from stunning, sturdy aluminium and tempered glass.
We stock other cube cases alongside HTPC enclosures, noise-dampened cases and even test-benches, so you can be sure to find exactly what you’re after. That means there’s no better choice when buying your case – head to our largest case range and we’ll make sure you find the perfect case.
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