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Best Open Air PC Case In 2023

After an open PC case? Let's take a look at the best.

Updated: Jan 5, 2023 9:51 am
Best Open Air PC Case

For PC enthusiasts, getting the best open-air PC case could be crucial to finishing off a stunning-looking build. Open-air PC cases have been around for some time and give you a unique and complete view of your system. If used correctly, open-air PC cases can make a mundane system build look outstanding and can elevate a build in terms of creativity.

These can be the perfect types of cases to house your water cooling loop design and offer you more aesthetically than some of the best PC cases out there.

The advantages of an open-air case are mostly aesthetics but there are a few other benefits to note. The open-air nature of these cases gives your system better thermals and improved heat dissipation. While ventilation might be at its best, you should be aware there is an increase in dust and a lack of protection from your surroundings with open-air cases.

Although this article focuses on 2023, we have selected some hardware from previous years. Rest assured, however, that the hardware in this article is still right for the job. As soon as anything changes, we’ll update the article.

Obviously, if you are planning a custom water-cooled build, then the chances are you don’t have to worry about dust protection. Any builders out there considering an open-air case for air or AIO cooled builds will want to clean your system much more frequently.

Our Top Picks

01
The Best Open Air Case
TT Core p5
Thermaltake Core P5
02
Next Best Open Air Case
InWin D Frame
InWin D-Frame
03
Best Mini-ITX Open Air Case
InWin D Frame
InWin D-Frame

Things to Consider Before Buying An Open Air Case

When going for an open-air PC case instead of a standard case, there are a few things to consider first. These can be quite costly and are only really suited to enthusiasts looking to water cool. That being said, there are some standard considerations for all builders, let’s take a look.

Motherboard Form Factor

atx mobo eatx

Motherboards vary in size with the most common form factors being ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX, with ATX being the biggest of the three and Mini-ITX the smallest.

Obviously smaller motherboards have less room for your components, fewer features, and fewer headers for your fans. Small may be perfect for you, but this should be based on the components and the size of your case. If you are planning on a high-end PC build then in most cases, stick with an ATX motherboard.

It is not just motherboards that vary in size, of course, GPUs, PSUs, and coolers all vary from small to large sizes, so double-check.

Open-Air Case Form Factor

Computer Case Size Comparison

A computer case will often be labeled with its form factor to give you a quick indication of what motherboard compatibility it will support. If not, don’t worry the specs of any product will outline exactly what can fit inside!

As you can see, this list of the best open-air cases varies in size quite drastically, with some being around the mid-tower size and others in the Mini-ITX department.

The three main PC case sizes (although there are more) are:

  • Full-tower PC cases are the largest cases and can work with E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. Their large size is more meant for extra components rather than exceptionally larger motherboards.
  • Mid-tower PC cases are the most popular and can also work with motherboards that are as large as ATX, with a few exceptions.
  • Mini-ITX PC cases sacrifice the larger ATX boards, but can still use Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX boards.

As a quick side note, beware of using small form factor motherboards with large form factor cases as sometimes the front panel cables can struggle to reach and leave your cable management looking terrible.

The Old PC Enemy, Dust

As you can imagine with an open-air case, you are getting less protection for your components. With a normal case, dust follows the flow of air and goes through your intake fan (unless you have large gaps in your case and negative pressure).

With open-air cases, there is no need for air intake as your components are all fairly chilled. While this is great news for your temps, it will require some extra care and attention on the dust front. Regular dusting of your open-air PC is a must, as it will simply be to easy for it to accumulate in this type of case.

Dust build-up is a killer for components but remember, if your case is open, there are several other threats to consider. Beware of pets going near an open-air system (for obvious reasons) and take extra care with liquids as there will be little to stop any spillages.

Cable Management Is A Must

Cable management is important with all PC builds but often swept aside. Cable management is usually great to reduce heat and dust build up in a system, but with an open-air case, it’s a little different.

As everything is on show in an open-air case, it can be quite difficult to leave cables without them ruining the entire design of your system build. While there will be routing options on these cases we recommend, it is going to be much harder managing your cables when compared to your standard PC cases.

It is essential with an open-air PC case to plan your build out a little bit more than usual, as there will be many aesthetic challenges along the way.

Now, without any further ado, let’s see what the best open-air cases have to offer.

The Our 5 Best Open Air PC Cases

01
TT Core p5
Thermaltake Core P5
05
TT Core P90
Thermaltake Core P90

In-depth Review

01
The Best Open Air Case
Thermaltake Core P5
TT Core p5
Type ATX Open Frame
Motherboard Support Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Dimensions (HxWxD) 569 x 241 x 507 mm
Included Fans N/A
PROS
  • Looks fantastic when build is complete
  • Includes GPU riser cable
  • Versatile component orientation
  • Modular Design
  • Can be wall mouted
CONS
  • Doesn't support a lot of AIO coolers
  • Poor sound insulation
  • Can get dusty

Thermaltake’s Core P5 is one of their ATX open-air PC cases, which can also be wall-mounted. The Core P5 is one of Thermaltake’s most popular open-air case options, piping the expensive P7 to the post.

The Core P5 is sometimes referred to as the coffee table, with its huge tempered glass side panel being a great place for your beverage (don’t try this at home!). This open-air case supports ATX motherboards and can easily house an impressive system, with plenty of water cooling room. The case is big enough to deal with the largest of GPU sizes and can fit a CPU cooler as tall as 7″.

The P5 supports radiators up to 480mm and is awash with modular features perfect for a custom loop builder. The case comes with four tempered glass windows that can be removed and almost close the case off entirely!

The Thermaltake P5 is available in black and white options and features a riser cable for vertical GPU mounting. Overall, the Core P5  is one of the best open-air PC cases on the market, and if you can afford it, you are going to be making some seriously cool custom loops.

02
Next Best Open Air Case
InWin D-Frame
InWin D Frame
Type Mini-ITX Open Frame
Motherboard Support Mini-ITX
Dimensions (HxWxD) 508 x 317 x 571 mm
Included Fans N/A
PROS
  • Portable
  • Unique design
  • Available in a variety of colours
CONS
  • A bit pricey
  • Poor sound insulation
  • Can get dusty

The InWin D-Frame is the most unique looking Mini-ITX open-case to make it on the list, and that is largely down to its loud and highly portable design.

While being on the slightly expensive side, the D-Frame is a great smaller form factor case. This open-air PC case reminds us of a sand dune buggy, and the roll cage is an inspired design choice. This case from InWin can fit GPUs that are 13.4″ or under and there is enough room for a 6.5″ CPU cooler.

The D-Frame offers a colorful alternative to the wonderfully built Thermaltake Core P1 and is available in five different color options (mostly all as loud as the bright green we have here). This open-air case could be perfect for a LAN build, thanks to its small size and useful handle. Despite this case having a tempered glass window and a roll-cage, it only weighs 7.7 KG.

The big negative that comes with this case is the price tag. The InWin D-Frame is priced closer to the ATX cases on this list, which is a bit of a shame. Despite this price tag, if you can afford it, then you can potentially get some very creative builds going in this.

03
Best Mini-ITX Open Air Case
InWin D-Frame
InWin D Frame
Type Mini-ITX Open Frame
Motherboard Support Mini-ITX
Dimensions (HxWxD) 508 x 317 x 571 mm
Included Fans N/A
PROS
  • Includes GPU riser cable
  • Versatile component orientation
  • Modular Design
  • Can be wall mouted
CONS
  • Poor sound insulation
  • Can get dusty

The Thermaltake Core P1 is essentially a smaller P5. This Mini-ITX open-air case is Thermaltake’s smallest offering in the category and is just as visually pleasing as its bigger siblings.

Despite its size, the Core P1 can fit a 15″ long GPU and has the clearance for a CPU cooler as tall as 6.7″. This clearance gives builders a bit of extra flexibility with the components they choose.

Unlike the others in the range, the P1 only features a single tempered glass panel and is technically more “open-air” than the others. The Thermaltake Core P1 can be wall-mounted, which could look particularly good with a case of this size. Despite its smaller form, the case weighs over 9KG without a system inside.

The Core P1 can support radiators as big as 240mm so you could fit in an AIO cooler if you preferred, but a case like this deserves to be water-cooled with a custom loop!

This case has a very nice-looking design and gives builders a smaller alternative to the brilliant P5 case. There is plenty of clearance with this case to get a high-end build going, and with the modularity, there is plenty to perk an enthusiast’s interests.

04
Best Mid-Tower Open Air Case
Cougar Conquer
Cougar Conquer
Type Mid-tower Open Frame
Motherboard Support Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Dimensions (HxWxD) 686 x 254 x 584 mm
Included Fans 3 x Cougar CFD LED
PROS
  • High quality contruction
  • Thick tempered glass
  • Comes with 3 x LED fans
CONS
  • Poor sound insulation
  • Can get dusty
  • Bulky

As far as open-air PC cases go, the Cougar Conquer has a design you won’t be forgetting. This mid-tower-sized case is modular by design and features an interestingly shaped tempered glass side window. The design is far from minimalistic like the D-Frame and looks more like a transformer than a PC case.

At 13.9 KG the Cougar Conquer is one of the heavier cases on the list, which can be forgiven due to the fact it isn’t as open-air as the others. Graphics cards as long as 13.8″ will fit inside this case along with any CPU cooler that is under 7.5″ tall. The motherboard can cater for any mobo size up to ATX meaning you have a lot of flexibility with the build you go for.

This case has two different radiator support options, 240mm room on the front and 360mm on the top. Along with the radiator options we see three LED fans pre-installed too for some stylish cooling.

This may seem like a hefty chunk of metal and glass but it’s a great canvas to put some interesting custom loop designs together. If you can afford it and don’t mind the lavish design, the Cougar Conquer is a great option.

05
Best Unconventional Open Air Case
Thermaltake Core P90
TT Core P90
Type Mid-tower Open Frame
Motherboard Support Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX
Dimensions (HxWxD) 615 x 216 x 216 mm
Included Fans None
PROS
  • Unique case design
  • two x tempered glass side panels
  • Riser cable included
  • Modular design
  • Can accommodate 420mm or 480mm radiator
CONS
  • Poor sound insulation
  • Can get dusty
  • Extra bulky
  • Rather heavy (17.2 KG)

There are some seriously unique looking PC cases in the open-air category, and Thermaltake has a good one here. The Core P90, with its angular concept, brings a fun new way to build into the mix. Part of the “P” range from Thermaltake, this open-air case is unique in its own right, and despite its size, it can be wall-mounted too!

The Core P90 gets its name from the 90-degree angle the case’s design sits at, and it is easily one of the heaviest cases on the list (17.2KG). With this type of case design, you can get some really interesting angled custom loops and make your build stand out.

The Core P90 can only accommodate for graphics cards as long as 12.6″. However, vertical mounting is an option with this case, thanks to the included riser cable. CPU coolers as tall as 7″ are good in this case also, with adequate amounts of clearance.

The Thermaltake P90 has radiator support for up to 480mm, and its modular design is finished off superbly with two 5mm thick glass panels.

If this case’s unique design doesn’t put you off, experienced systems builders can create something incredible with the P90 and its 90-degree angle.

Final Word

Selecting the best open-air PC case for your needs is highly important. This case is going to house your expensive components and protect them (albeit not as much in this category).

The best open-air PC cases offer a unique level of design you just don’t get from any other cases, and they are excellent for a custom-loop system. All of our recommendations will give you a seriously stylish build but make sure you have a little extra in the budget.

Have you recently purchased an open-air case? Let us know about your building experiences with one of these.

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