The PC case is a deceptively important part of any build. Yes, its primary function is to protect your delicate and expensive hardware from possible catastrophe, but it’s so much more than just armor.
A good case ensures that your airflow is optimized and your equipment is running at full capacity, so although it may seem like they’re fairly inconsequential, they actually have a direct effect on the gaming performance of a build. This is why a quality case is an absolute must, even if you don’t have the funds for top-tier design.
Using all of our WePC wits, gumption, and resources, we’ve compiled a list of the five best PC cases you can buy on a budget. Nestled inside one of these, your build will be safe, sound, and ready to sling out some serious frame rates.
Our Top Picks
Best Budget PC Case
Featuring a tempered glass panel, black steel construction, and space for hooking up a radiator and custom loop, this ATX-rated case offers a wealth of features for the price.
This should suit most starter and even some intermediate builds, keeping everything running more or less to spec.
It would benefit from a more advanced cooling system, either an intake fan or larger frontal vents, but considering you can snatch this case up for less than a new game, it’s a pretty compelling prospect.
This translucent wonder is perfect for those with expansive RGB setups. Two tempered glass panels -one on the side and one on the front – emphasize your custom sequences, allowing them to jump out into the room.
Wide vents on both sides of the case allow for pretty decent intake. Large enough to accommodate two 120mm fans as well as the pre-installed exhaust, cooling shouldn’t be an issue with this design. It’s not particularly the most durable case ever, but with a price tag this good, you can’t sweat the small stuff.
Corsair is more than a trusted brand at this point in gaming history, so you know the 110R is going to satisfy a lot of your needs and wants, one of which being whisper-quiet performance. Not content relying on the tempered glass for volume control, Corsair has also kitted this case out with three high-density panels.
It’s not a flashy case. The aesthetic may be a little plain, dated even, but it’s loaded with practicalities including triple dust filtration and up-front connectivity, something you rarely see at this price point.
If the minimal Corsair case leaned more into the past for its look, this minimal Fractal Design case leans ever so slightly into the future. The mesh front provides adequate air feed to the two included Fractal Design Silent Series LL 120mm fans, and the crystal clear side window provides awesome visuals on the hardware.
The Focus also features pretty intelligent space management, enabling it to accommodate GPUs up to 380mm in length and high-profile CPU coolers. The panel screws can be tricky to align, but all things considered, this is a decent budget case.
Probably the most beautiful to look at of all the cases on our list, the H100 TG is for the gamer who wants a sleek, modern look for their build, but doesn’t have the budget for a premium option.
With the capacity to house two fans on top of the factory-fitted exhaust fan, plenty of room for cable management, and ample clearance space for peripherals and dedicated fans, you can really feng shui your case to perfection, and all for around $60.
How We Choose
We love all the technical and performance-based stuff here at WePc, but that’s not to say we don’t appreciate and understand the importance of adequate casing. Even though it’s not quite as exciting as taking state-of-the-art GPUs for a test drive, we absolutely love experimenting with all kinds of cases. No matter the form factor, mini, mid, or full, if we can get our hands on it, we’re testing it. Hell…we’ve even put in some hours with a few ultra towers in our time, so you can guarantee, when it comes to PC cases, we know a few things about quality.
The cases we’re showing you today are the ones that enable optimal performance, especially for gaming, but don’t cost as much as the GPU and CPU they’re supposed to be shielding.
Things to Consider
Before you buy your PC a new home, it’s important to consider a few key things.
Form factor is the first thing you should be thinking about when shopping around for a PC case. With room to accommodate the hardware of most builds, such as ATX motherboards and powerful dual-slot GPUs, most gamers settle on a mid-tower case. For heavily populated setups with advanced appointments such as multiple custom loops, a full tower is probably your best bet. Cases also come in compact sizes to house mini ATX and ITX builds, so you can maintain that minimal aesthetic.
Cooling and Airflow
A good case enables your PC components to perform at the best of their abilities, and it does this by facilitating proper airflow and keeping them at a cool running temperature.
You should consider how many fans a case can support and the airflow it encourages. Space to mount radiators is also desirable. You can normally tell if a case has good cooling facilities if it features plenty of mesh and ventilation points. It’s imperative that you don’t skimp on cooling in a gaming PC build as poor thermals will directly impact performance and in some severe circumstances, damage your hardware.
Whether you like it or not, branding and aesthetics are becoming a large part of gaming. In light of this, you may as well enjoy the options it affords you and make your build both functional and something you find to be visually appealing.
As it affects how everything inside it looks, your choice of case will have a massive impact on the overall appearance of the final build. You should take into account how you wish to present individual components and pick a case that puts them on display. For example, if you have a fan with powerful RGBs, you’ll want to accentuate, rather than stifle it.
Most cases will offer some form of cable management solution, but some are more thoughtfully designed than others. For instance, a poorly designed case may have cable routing options but in awkward locations. Others may not provide enough room for certain cable widths or layouts.
Cable layout isn’t just a matter of tidiness, it’s a matter of optimizing airflow. If you’ve got a wild knot of cables sprawling through the middle of your case, it’s going to cause a lot of air turbulence. Warm air won’t be able to find its way out and stagnates, getting hotter and hotter, bringing hardware temperatures up and performance rates down.
Aesthetics – With black steel, a glass panel, and an RGB power button, it’s a great-looking case.
Spacious – It provides a pretty roomy environment for your hardware and fans.
Tempered Glass Panel – The glass panel dampens PC noise and looks fantastic.
Magnetic Dust Filter – Magnets are a little weak, but this is a nice feature that protects your build from particulate debris.
35mm Cable Management – Spacious and well-placed cable routing options keep your case neat and airflow unimpeded.
Underwhelming Cooling – The front vents could be larger to increase intake.
HDD Caddies – The Tool-free HDD installation is a really neat feature but the caddies aren’t the best quality.
One thing that’s immediately apparent about the Eclipse is its stylish aesthetic. The black steel construction is sleek – if not a bit bare – and neutral enough to fit nicely into any kind of room. Better still is the tempered glass wall that considerably dampens running volume and displays all your beautiful RGB hardware.
In terms of cooling, it comes with a 120mm factory-installed exhaust fan and supports up to three more, but seeing as the two horizontal vents on the front panel are so small, your intake fans are pretty limited in the air they can push through your system. That said, you’re afforded ample room to mount a rear or front radiator to bring temperatures down with water cooling.
The Eclipse is classed as an ATX case and measures 15.7” (L) x 7.8” (W) x 17,7” (H). It has 160mm clearance for your PSU and can accommodate GPUs up to 330mm in length. That’s practically any third-party GPU on the market, bar maybe a couple of extra beefy designs. You get 160mm to play with in terms of CPU cooling which is a pretty standard measurement, opening up your options when shopping around for a fan.
Tempered Glass Panels – Doubling up on glass panels lets onlookers enjoy the workings of your system and dampens running volume.
Large Intake Vents – They help to maximize airflow, keeping your equipment nice and cool and performing their best.
Large Shroud – The PSU shroud also covers your drives and gives you more options in terms of cable management.
Room for Radiator – You’ll be able to hook up a custom loop in this case.
Build Quality – The glass is nice and thick, but we can’t say the same for the metal.
If you’re after a head-turning design, you’ll definitely appreciate the Matrexx 50. Featuring not one, but two tempered glass panels, RGBs pop like never before, helping to make gaming even more enthralling. Moreover, those panels worked wonders on the decibels our system was throwing out.
The cooling facilities are pretty well designed too. You can’t quite fit four in like our top choice, but the vents are decidedly larger, so your two intake fans can really work their magic. There’s ample room for fitting a 340mm radiator too, which is a definite boon for the overclock shinobis out there.
Build quality is so-so. The metal, for example, as nice as it feels, is pretty thin and will dent if it takes a knock. It’s also pretty lightweight, which can be good or bad depending on your situation.
When it comes to features, DeepCool really sweetens the deal. You get a nice PSU shroud with extra cable management options, keeping that build looking pristine and the air a’ flowin’, a magnetic dust net, and rear filter.
Sound Suppression – High-density glass and steel panels keep noise to a minimum.
Thermal Support – You can mount five 120mm fans or three radiators
Frontal I/Os – You don’t have to reach any awkward locations for headphone or USB connectivity.
Neutral Design – The 110R should fit in anywhere.
Plastic Content – Connective areas of the case are made from plastic which can feel a little flimsy when you’re trying to remove a panel.
Small Intake Vents – A slightly larger intake would maximize cooling potential.
The 110R may look like something of a monolith at first, but it’s actually a very articulate case. Granted the design is pretty plain, but the tempered glass side panel acts as an interesting counterpoint to the featureless walls.
Minimal as they are, these steel panels are incredibly dense, which makes for excellent sound suppression. If your GPU roars as soon as you turn on ultra settings, this could be the case you’ve been waiting for.
The cooling capacity of the 110R isn’t bad. You can hook up five 120mm fans in total including the factory-fitted 120mm exhaust fan it comes with. Our advice is to fit as many fans in there as you can afford because it can be a pretty warm case. Failing that, take advantage of the multiple radiator mourning points.
Our favorite thing about the 110R is the frontal I/O panel offering ease of access to headphone and USB ports, no cable extensions required. It also comes with a full PSU shroud with lots of room to hide your cabling and three dust filters that do a great job of keeping things clean.
Decent Intake – The large mesh intake helps to keep your equipment cool.
Factory Fans – The Focus comes with two Silent Series LL intake fans, saving you money on the build.
Spacious – You can fit pretty large high-spec equipment in this case.
Materials – Costs have been cut on the materials.
What struck us immediately about the Focus is that it comes loaded with two Silent Series LL 120mm intake fans, all for less than $70, which is pretty sweet if you ask us. They don’t move a whole lot of air, but they are very quiet, so if you’re running light on fans, this case should be a serious consideration.
Another pleasantly surprising aspect of the Focus is the space. Despite only measuring 19” (L) x 11” (W) x 21”, it can house GPUs up to 380mm and has adequate clearance for some pretty hefty CPU coolers too.
Despite the intelligent space management, the general design does lack a certain sophistication. The paneling betrays the low price tag and the window isn’t tempered glass, but acrylic, so it doesn’t have sound dampening qualities. There’s also not all that much space behind the motherboard plate for cable management. With a little tweaking, you can hide most of the mess, but it’s never going to look as streamlined as our top picks.
It does have some redeeming design features such as the vibration dampening padding in the drive bay, and frontal connectivity, but you can definitely tell it’s an entry-level product.
Spacious Design – The H100 TG gives you plenty of space to fit some high-end gaming tech.
Pleasant Aesthetics – We love the less-is-more front panel.
Tempered Glass Panel – As you know by now, tempered glass reduces noise and shows off your awesome stuff.
Airflow – there are no frontal intake vents so airflow is a little stilted.
The H100 TG is a fantastic entry-level offering for those that just want to sit down and game already. The simple design lets your hardware do the talking, without being totally ignorable. In fact, there’s something about this plain black steel front panel and the blue LED stripe that really draws the eye, regardless of the RGB carnival popping off within.
It has to be said that it’s not the coolest entry-level case, and not because it doesn’t have the space for plenty of fans, it does, three in total, and the exhaust is included with purchase. What we mean is that there’s no frontal intake, so all your fans are top-mounted, and this doesn’t really facilitate quality airflow. Consequently, if you’ve got some gear that likes to run really hot, this probably isn’t the case for you.
Cooling issues aside, the H100 TG is actually a pretty good design. It has 180mm clearance for a large CPU fan, 320mm clearance for graphics cards, and a 220mm shroud for housing your PSU and HDD. In addition, thanks to the ample space for proper management, you can tame those wild cables of yours, leaving your build looking truly exquisite.
There’s a lot to love on this list, and we didn’t even break the $80 mark. Any of these cases will be sufficient for the average gamer. Not every build needs to live in a penthouse. Sometimes a one-bedroom apartment is just fine, so bring one of these bad boys home, save yourself some money, and use said money to buy more games!
Once you’ve wired your build into your new case, you can finally get down to what’s truly important, playing your favorite games and having a blast.
Our favorite budget case is the Phanteks Eclipse. It doesn’t bring a professional-grade airflow to the table, but you’ll have to fork out a little more for that anyway. What it does have is great hardware support, a nice amount of space for cable management, and a really clean look.