Best Mid Tower Desktop PC Gaming Case 2016
After receiving requests to review several cases by manufacturers, I decided to share with you some of my favorite mid tower cases thus far in 2016. These cases are separated by price from $50 to $150 and represent what I think gives you the best value for the money you spend. Here are some of the criteria I used in my decision making process.
1. Cooling Options
A lot of cases come with many optional fans, but how many does the case include in the case? It's important to keep in mind that a good fan could cost you between $10 to $20 and that a lack of airflow could lower the lifespan of all your internal components.
2. Materials - Aluminum Vs. Steel
There's been a long outstanding rumor that an aluminum case actually keeps your components cooler. There is no factual information to this rumor. An aluminum case is lighter but scratches more easily overall. Steel is sturdy, a bit on the heavy side, and built to last.
3. What's Available in the I/O?
Your computers front I/O or in and out ports have a lot they can offer. If you don't need USB 3.0, then going with an older mid tower case for your desktop PC might be a good way to save $10 to $20. If you do need it, then be sure your case has it along with other neat features like a LED light toggle, temperature monitor, or even fan control.
If you're building a budget gaming PC, then the last thing you want to do is overspend on your case. For the list below I've taken into consideration build quality, cooling and fan options, and expansion features.
5. Customer Ratings
It's always a good idea to listen to others when you're looking for computer hardware. Sites like Amazon, TigerDirect, and NewEgg can share with you a wealth of information from gamers that already know the product. For this list, I took into consideration their opinions and ratings as well as mine.
6. Why Your Vote Is Important:
It's easy to make mistakes when talking about something so technical. I've added a reader poll at the bottom of this page that will help me to keep my picks as they are or change them in the future. You can help me out by taking a second to vote there and share your thoughts in the comment section.
A $150 Case for Water Cooling
If I were to show you one new gaming case to consider, in 2016 this would be . The 3mm thick Aluminum body and clean interior really make the rest of your hardware pop. That same hardware is easily visible through the side window. Beyond aesthetics, Phanteks has added a lot of value for what you pay for in this case just like they've done with their Enthoo series in the past. the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv
Like many other cases, this one comes with easy-install solutions, but I especially like how easily the front panel and others come off so that you can get at the included 200mm fan and filter. Other features I like include the anti-vibration pads, replaceable LEDs, and PWM fan hub.
Exception Water Cooling Support
I'd especially recommend it for those of you who want to use either a traditional or custom water cooling setup. The flexible mounting strips on the top make it easy to install various sizes of radiators.
Overall, this is one of the better new cases I've come across and worth a look if you have a budget around $150. If you're budget is lower than this, I've included more of my favorites below.
A Good Mid Tower Case Under $50
Corsair Carbide 100R
If you're on a budget of around $50 and want to get the most for what you pay, I recommend you put on your shortlist of cases to look at. It comes with a standard $50 model as well as a noise-dampening model for around $65. It also features modern features like USB 3.0, SSD mounts, as well as compatiblity for ATX and mATX motherboards. the Corsair Carbide 100R
The Steel Mesh-free front panel along with the direct airflow to the top of the GPU give great value for the design. The look of the case is both sophisticated enough for an office environment and visible enough for a gaming build-out with the side window panel and brushed black front (plastic). In addition, it has easy-to-install 3.5" and 5.25" drive solutions.
For those looking to install a CPU cooler, I was able to barely get my Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO in it. That should give you a good idea of the max CPU cooler height.
Corsair Carbide Spec-01
Another case you should look at in the under or around $50 is Corsair Carbide's Spec-01. While the case itself lacks some of the space and features that more expensive mid-tower cases have, the construction of it is top notch. Installation and cable management is easy.
That being said I wouldn't necessarily recommend this as a gaming case for those looking to do a lot of overclocking or customization. This is a basic system builder's case for a small CPU cooler and GPU that looks great and is cheap.
This case easily fits any graphics card, comes with a 120mm red LED fan, and has some great cable routing options. It also comes with Corsair's quality building expertise. Overall it's great for your basic budget build.
If you want additional flexibility, also consider the Corsair Carbide 200R. With Seven PCIe slots, tool-free installation, dust filters, cable routing options, and more it's another solid option in the space.
CM Haf 912 Advanced Mid Tower Computer Case
This is the USB 3.0 of the favorite that many have used for so long. The HAF 912 is rugged, inexpensive, and made of mesh and SECC highly-rated steel. For under $60 you get solid cable management, 2 120mm fans and additional fan options. I also really like that it comes with a 2.5" drive bay for your solid state drives.
Material Case Body: Steel / Front bezel: Plastic and mesh
M/B Type Micro-ATX / ATX
5.25" Drive Bay 4 Exposed (one could be converted to 3.5” bay)
3.5" Drive Bay 1 Exposed ( converted from 5.25” bay) / 6 Hidden
I/O Panel USB 3.0 X2, USB 2.0 x 2, e-SATA x1,Audio x 1, Mic x 1
Expansion Slots 7+1
Cooling System Front: 200 mm red LED fan x 1, 700RPM,19dBA (can be swapped for two 120mm fans)
Top: 200 mm black fan x 1,700RPM,19dBA (can be swapped for two 120mm fans)
Rear: 120 mm black fan x 1, 1200 RPM, 17 dBA
Side:120/140 mm fan x 1 (optional)
Power Supply Bottom –mounted
2.5"/3.5" - SATA HDD Drive Bay 4 Hidden (two converted from 3.5” bay)
Warranty 2 years
NZXT Guardian 921 RB Desktop PC Case
Another value play at around $70 is the NZXT Guardian 921 RB. While the Guardian has been around for a while it's still a solid budget option because of it's 3 included fans and included temperature monitoring.
The blue LED lighting and cross window side panel are also easy on the eyes.
Case Material: SECC Steel
Mobo Compatibility: Micro ATX/ ATX / BABY AT
9 DRIVE BAYS
3 EXTERNAL 5.25" DRIVE BAYS
2 EXTERNAL 3.5 " DRIVE BAYS
4 INTERNAL 3.5" DRIVE BAYS
Expansion: 7 Slots
SCREWLESS RAIL DESIGN
FRONT, 1 X 120 mm LED FAN [Included]
REAR, 1 X 120 mm FAN [Included]
SIDE PANEL, 1 X 120 mm LED FAN [Included]
TOP, 1 x 120/140mm
Front I/O: 1 Audio, Mic, 2 USB 2.0, e-SATA, Temperature Control Display
Warranty: 2 years
Cooler Master Elite 431 PLUS
While you can save a bit of money and go with the original 430 that has USB 2.0, the 431 Plus version comes with USB 3.0 and is still a great value play at $40 to $50. It's made from high quality steel, but comes with just a single fan. I recommend you purchasing a least one for additional cooling.
Case Material: Steel, ABS Plastic
Power Supply: Bottom Mounted
Mobo Compatibility: Mixro and Standard ATX
3x 5.25", 2 x 3.5",
5 x 3.5" Internal,
7 Expansion Slots
Front I/O: USB 3.0 x 1, USB 2.0 x 2, Mic, Audio
Cooling: 1 x 120mm Blue LED Fan included
Optional: 2 120mm Fan Top, 120mm fan rear, 120mm fan bottom
Warranty: 1 year
Rosewill Challenger U3
Another really solid USB 3.0 option the Challenger U3 is an updated version of one of the most widely used cases on the market. I like how airflow literally uses from every part of this case. As far as cooling options its on-par with the Guardian in that it comes with 3 cooling fans but still costs less overall.
Material: SECC Steal
PSU: Bottom Mounted
Motherboard Compatibility: Micro ATX, ATX
External: 4 x 5.35", 2 x 3.5"
Internal: 5 x 3.5"
Expansion Slots: 7
Front I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 e-SATA, Audio
Cooling: 1 x 120mm front, 1 x 120mm rear, 1 x 140mm top
Optional: 2 x 120mm Side
Warranty: 1 year
Cooler Master Storm Enforcer Mid Tower Desktop Computer Case
Another new case I really like is the CM Storm Enforcer. I recently used this case on a new build and was thoroughly impressed by it's ease-of-use, cooling options, and design overall. It comes with a window panel in the side so I can see all my components, and I like the 2.5" bay for my Samsung 840 SSD.
I added an additional 200mm fan on top for better cooling along with a Hyper 212 EVO CPU cooler and all of my components stay fairly cool.
In addition, the cable management system behind the motherboard is setup and ready to go. Since cable management takes me about as long as putting everything else in the case, this was ideal.
Vote for your favorite Mid Tower Case
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Final Impression and Thoughts:
Overall I'd recommend you go with one of the cases above if you're building a PC this year. That doesn't mean that there aren't other great cases out there as there certainly are. If you have a case that you feel should be included in this list, then feel free to share it in the comment section below. Also, be sure to check out my video, YouTube channel, and profile for more gaming-related content.
Pro Gaming Tips and Hardware Tips from this Author
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© 2013 Brandon Hart
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