Best PC Cases for Airflow & Cooling [2021 Reviewed]

An Overview of the 3 Best PC Cases for Airflow and Cooling

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Introduction

Whenever building a custom PC configuration, we want to choose the best possible components for the price. No matter how high one’s budget is, being ripped off is something that no one wants to experience. One component that very little people pay attention to is the casing. It’s very easy to overpay or underpay on this. Both of these scenarios are bad since you won’t get the best possible performance.

While a lot of people go for casings that look good, having other features such as good airflow ensure that there won’t be any thermal throttling at high loads which can significantly decrease performance as well as potentially harm internal components. If you’re more particular, you can also look for a case with a good cable management system as well as cases which are quiet.

As we have already established, good airflow is important, but we must learn what factors influence good airflow. As a general rule of thumb, you need to understand that there are two types of fans for cooling on your case. One is for the intake and the other for the exhaust. The first one ensures that cool external air enters the system, while the latter ensures that the warmer air is thrown out. It will depend on your budget and configuration that how many fans you’ll require. Sadly, there is no one fits all answer to this as one setup with no GPU or a discrete one doesn’t require many fans. On the other hand, if you have an RTX or Radeon 6000-series GPU, then you might need a couple of intakes and exhausts along with any external water or air cooling that you already use.

The last factor that we want to discuss isn’t related to airflow, but it’s something that everyone who is building a custom PC should discuss and that’s the size of your case. Your case must be greater to or equal to in size of your motherboard of choice. There is no need to take out a meter rule to make these measurements since there is already a set system for this. There are 4 common types of motherboards and their corresponding PC cases. In order of smallest to largest, they are; mini ATX, micro ATX, standard ATX, or extended ATX. Try to buy a case that is the same size or one size larger. For obvious reasons a smaller size won’t be compatible, and one that is two sizes larger will just look sort of out of place. To check the size of your motherboard, check the box it came with it or the website you purchased it from.

Top PC Cases for Airflow and Cooling [Reviews]

Asus ROG Strix Helios GX601 RGB Mid-Tower Case

Asus ROG GX601 casing belongs to the Republic of Gamers which is a sub-brand of Asus, as evident by the name, makes high-end gaming products like graphic cards and peripherals. Their products usually have a lot of RGB and are the best of the best in the market. The same can be said about the Helios GX601 Mid-tower case.

For cooling, you get 4 included fans as well as support for 3 more fans for a total of 7 fans. Three of the included fans are intake and 1 is the exhaust. We doubt anyone will need to add any more fans than the one already provides. You also get the option for custom water cooling, which we highly recommend doing. The large size of this case means that the reservoir for storing the water can be large as well. The exact dimensions are 420mm in height and 90mm in width. While having a larger reservoir isn’t necessarily beneficial, but it’s good to see that you can use a larger one if you want. It’s safe to say that this case is more than sufficient for any kind of setup you have.

The cable management system is excellent since you can easily hide any useless cables. For those who build their systems themselves, this is a necessity since hiding the loose cables is arguably harder than the actual entire build process. You can also mount the GPU in multiple vertical and horizontal orientations which makes your setup look exactly like you want it to. This case can support up to an EATX motherboard and has sufficient space for any kind of GPU you want to install. It is built out of brushed metal and can be purchased in either white or black color to better blend in with your entire setup.

Some other features include a fabric strap to easily carry the case, Asus aura sync RGB lights for the added flair to your setup, great I/O including 3 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB-C port, and a dedicated headphone and microphone jack. One of the only downsides of this case is that it only has one slot for a hard drive, but that shouldn’t bother you much since most people only have a single hard drive, and that too only for storing large files. The exact dimensions of this case are 22.24 x 9.80 x 23.26 inches and it weighs close to 40 pounds. The heavyweight just shows how high quality the materials used are. Before purchasing this case, just make sure that it physically fits in your setup as it’s a bit larger than normal.

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What we Liked
  • 4 included fans and support of up to 7 fans
  • Support for custom water-cooling reservoir
  • Great cable management system
  • Different color options
  • Great I/O
  • Amazing RGB
  • Well built
What could be Improved
  • Expensive
  • Slightly large
  • Only one hard drive slot
PROS
CONS
4 included fans and support of up to 7 fans
Expensive
Support for custom water-cooling reservoir
Slightly large
Great cable management system
Only one hard drive slot
Different color options
 
Great I/O
 
Amazing RGB
 
Well built
 

Corsair Crystal 570X RGB Mid-Tower Case

One of the best high-end PC cases that are still affordable is the Corsair Crystal 570X RGB Mid-Tower. It has almost the same features as the ROG, but for a fraction of the price. It’s still high-end, but if you have high power consumption components, then this is should justify its price. It’s also available in four different colors Black, Mirror Black, White and Red.

The cooling capabilities of this case are great as it comes with 3 included RGB fans, which should be sufficient if you have a mid to high-end GPU like an RTX 2060 or 2070, but if you own an RTX 3070 or AMD 6000 series, then we would recommend investing in 1 or 2 more fans since they dissipate a lot of heat. This advice also applies if you’re cryptocurrency mining with something like an RX 570. It’s large enough to support water cooling although not as large as the ASUS. There is also a front mesh panel that allows for the cold air to enter and also acts as a dust filter to avoid your components getting dirty.

The cable management system in this case is one of the best we have ever seen, and it also helps justify its high price tag. You also get Velcro straps to tie up any loose cables as well as dedicated cable routing channels to ensure that there are very minimal cables visible. The internal area and cooling capability of this case are large enough to support 2 full-sized GPUs. This case can support up to a standard-sized ATX motherboard, but sadly the inside is a bit crowded thus leaving limited space for custom water cooling. The case itself is made with Alloy steel that makes is fairly durable. All four sides are covered with tempered glass which just adds to the overall beauty of the case.

A few other features include a light-up Corsair logo at the front that gives it some extra flare, as well as 2 2.5-inch bay and 2 3.5-inch bay. The ports include 2 USB 3.0 ports and a dedicated microphone and headphone jack. Sadly, no USB-C port is provided. The exact size of this case is 18.89 x 20.15 x 921 inches and it weighs 24 pounds which is ideal for a case of this size and caliber.

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PROS
CONS
3 included RGB fans with support of up to 6
No USB-C port
Supports custom water cooling
A bit expensive
Front mesh panel and dust filter
The inside is a bit small
Excellent cable management system
 
Amazing build quality
 
Looks amazing
 
Extra storage slots
 
Perfectly sized
 

Cooler Master MasterBox TD500 PC Case

If the Corsair wasn’t your style then the Cooler Master MasterBox will suit you better. CoolerMaster makes a lot of computer components including power supplies and cases. In stark contrast to Asus ROG, they make products in the lower to mid-range price segment. Their products are known to be reliable for a great price and the MasterBox TD 500 is no different.

This case has a special emphasis on cooling since it has 2 mesh panels on the intake as well as the top exhaust to make sure that there is a constant circulation of air and also that no dust enters your system. Unlike the Corsair, this one doesn’t have a glass panel covering the mesh. Moreover, the front mesh panel includes a polygonal design that gives it a unique look. There are 3 included RGB fans and can support up to 7 fans. The case has two 360-millimeter radiators on the front and top for optimal water cooling. Overall, this case has one of the best airflows in its price range which is why it made it to our list.

Cable management is also very easy on the MasterBox as it has plenty of space, as well as a lot of holes to route your cable through in order to hide it from sight. It can support up to a standard ATX motherboard, and it’s actually pretty spacious for an ATX motherboard. The build quality of this case is really good as it is made of metal. Furthermore, the side panel is made from their special crystalline glass which pretty resistant to cracks and scratches.

This case comes in either black or white color variants to better blend in with your entire setup. The port selection is pretty standard with 2 USB-A 3.0 ports and a dedicated microphone and headphone jack. Just like the Corsaire, you don’t get a USB-C port here either, but that’s excusable here since it’s a slightly cheaper product. The exact dimensions of this case are 22.52 x 11.42 x 22.44 inches and it weighs 15 pounds, which makes it pretty small and light for an ATX case.

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PROS
CONS
Front and top mesh panel and dust filters
No USB-C port
3 included RGB fans with support of up to 7
Slightly high price
Supports custom water cooling
 
Amazing build quality
 
2 color variants
 
Great weight and size
 
Amazing price
 

Thermaltake Versa H18 PC Case

We know that not everyone wants to spend upwards of 90 dollars on a case. We also want to cover the mid-range price segment where most people will be shopping at. The Thermaltake Versa H18 is one of the first products you’ll be recommended whether you’re shopping on Newegg, Amazon, Microcenter, or any other store. The reason for the popularity of this case is that it’s manufactured by a reliable brand and has some pretty nice specifications.

The case comes with one exhaust fan and can support up to 4 more fans. We would’ve liked to see 2 or 3 included fans, but Thermaltake had to cut corners somewhere to achieve this price point. The front panel is made up of mesh which helps in dust filtration as well as heat dissipation. There is also a small mesh window on the top that lets hot air out. It also supports custom water cooling with a radiator of up to 240/280 millimeters.

The cable management system present in this case is amazing. A lot of manufacturers don’t care about cable management in this price range, luckily Thermaltake versa isn’t one of them. There are cable routing gaps at the back of the motherboard tray and the power supply cover can also be used to hide any visible cables. This case can support up to a micro-ATX motherboard, and despite the small size, it’s still pretty spacious from the inside. The build quality is also excellent with an alloy steel build as well as a 4-millimeter thick tempered glass side panel. There is a blue LED strip on the front which adds to the overall beauty of this case.

There are a total of 4 hidden storage spaces and they are two 2.5-inch bays and 2 3.5-inch bays. There are 2 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, and a dedicated microphone and headphone jack on the front panel. The size of this case is 15.35 x 8.07 x 14.96 inches and it weighs 10 pounds which makes it a good compact case, with great airflow and plenty of space for all sizes of components.

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PROS
CONS
Support for custom water cooling
Only one standard fan
Front mesh panel and top mesh window for optimal airflow.
 
Excellent cable management system
 
Tempered glass side panel
 
Hidden storage areas
 
Compact size yet spacious for easy cable management and custom water cooling
 
Amazing price point
 

MSI – MAG Forge 100R – Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case

If the Thermaltake wasn’t your style, then we have another option for you. The MSI MAG Forge 100R is a much less popular case when compared to the Thermaltake, but it still provides some amazing features. The reason why it’s not so popular is that MSI is not a really popular brand when it comes to PC cases. They make excellent graphic cards, peripherals, and even laptops, but they aren’t as popular in making PC cases. The MAG Forge comes in at approximately the same price range, which makes it a direct competitor.

There are 3 fans included with this case out of which the front 2 intakes are ARGB, while the exhaust fan at the back is a regular 120 mm one. The RGB is MSI’s Mystic Light which provides for ultimate customization. You can add 3 more fans, but that won’t really be required unless you’re going for really high-end components. There is a front and top mesh panel similar to the one found on the Cooler Master. Moreover, the top dust filter is magnetic so you can easily clean it and there is also an extra bottom dust filter. You also get support for custom water cooling of a radiator of up to 240 mm.

The cable management system isn’t as good as the other options on this list. You do get holes for routing the cables, but they’re small so you’ll have to use flat cables. If you’re crafty enough then you can definitely achieve really good cable management especially considering how spacious it is, but it will be a bit of a problem for those who already struggle with cable management. This is a standard ATX case. The build quality and design of this model are also really good with an overall metal build as well as a 4mm tinted tempered glass side panel.

Just like Thermaltake, there are 4 storage spaces. Sadly, the port selection on this casing isn’t that great with only 2 USB 3.2 ports and a dedicated headphone and microphone jack at the top. We don’t expect to see a USB-C port at this price range, but there should have at least been an additional USB 3.2 port. The size of this case is pretty standard at 17.05 x 8.27 x 19.53 inches and weighs about 13 pounds.

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PROS
CONS
3 included fans with support of up to 6
Mediocre cable management system
One of the best customizable RGB on any fan
Average port selection
Front, top, and bottom magnetic mesh panels.
 
Support for custom water cooling
 
Tinted tempered glass side panel
 
Spacious
 
Amazing price
 

Final Words

All the products we reviewed were really good in their own right. There were many unique products at different price ranges. But whenever you’re going to build a PC, you only have to choose one. Shortlisting a few great products is really helpful for some, but others require a more definitive answer. In order to help you make a better decision, we have chosen the top 2 from our list. We will discuss everything that makes these good, as well as some potential downsides. We will also mention why some of the other ones didn’t make it to the top. However, you aren’t bounded by our decision and can go with either of these products or even any case which is not included.

Our TOP PICK definitely has to go to the Cooler Master MasterBox TD500. It has almost no downsides and comes in at a really attractive price point. It beats out more expensive competitors like the aforementioned Corsair. The cooling capabilities are some of the best we have seen in any case. The 3 RGB fans are high quality and it’s part of the reason why this is on the list. The mesh panels are also really appreciated with it. It’s one of the best options out there for those looking for a high-end setup.

We do realize that not everyone has the budget to buy a case that costs around 100 dollars. If you want a really good case for a much lower price, then we recommend getting the MSI MAG Forge 100R. It has a really good design, especially because of the customizable RGB fans. The 3 included fans and triple mesh panels make this one of the top cases when it comes to airflow. It also has a spacious design, which is helpful for those who aren’t really experienced in building a custom setup. Due to the price point, there have been a few compromises such as an average port selection and cable management system. Overall, this is one of the best options for a PC case in this price range.

Now that we have mentioned our favorites, we will talk about why the other products on the list aren’t as much of a good deal, at least in our opinion. The first product we reviewed was the Asus ROG Strix Helios GX601. It is undoubtedly the best case on this list, but the only reason we didn’t include it is because of the extremely high price tag, and the features that you get for it aren’t worth it. Realistically speaking, only a few people would like to pay such a premium and would rather spend that money on better components.

If you have such a high-end budget then you should go for it, but it’s not a good deal for the majority of the buyers. The reason why the Thermaltake and Corsaire didn’t make it to the list was because their airflow wasn’t as good when compared to the others on this list, but they are still really good cases and in a different scenario might even be considered better than the other options.