I’ve used a lot of computer cases in the last few years. Although I certainly have an opinion as far as what I think is the best gaming case out there, this post will focus on those which are most popular among gamers and ultimately be decided upon by vote. In the upcoming weeks we’ll be doing this type of post with computer hardware and other gaming peripherals as well. If you’re new to PC building, then a quick look at our Guide for Understanding Computer Cases will help get you up-to-speed.
Criteria for Creating this List
1. Price and for the Money
It’s not all about money, but it wouldn’t fit our list nor most gamer’s wallets to simply include the highest-end cases available for the money.
2. Up To Date Specifications
In 2013 we’re looking for computer cases that have up-to-date specifications like USB 3.0, built-in slots for 2.5″ drives, or 3.5″ to 2.5″ drive bay converters included with your purchase.
We’ll also take into consideration not only how many fans are included in a case, but also how many optional fans can be added.
Lastly we’ll look at the design of the case. The cases functionality and ease-of use as well as materials used in construction will be taken into consideration.
5. Updates and Your Vote
This page will be updated regularly in order to take your comments and votes into consideration. If you disagree with our original order, then don’t forget to vote and interact on this page in order to change it. If your case didn’t make this list and you feel it should, then be sure to list it in the comment section below with why you feel it should be considered.
6. Average Customer Rating
This number is a 5 star weighted average of NewEgg, TigerDirect, and Amazon votes from customers. Other sites may be included with this number if enough interest is given. Also, customer ratings from previous versions of an updated model have been used where simple changes have been made.
Best Mid Tower PC Gaming Cases 2013
4 To Consider:
1. NZXT Guardian 921 RB
Average Rating: 4.49/5 from 215 Customer Reviews
Average Price: 69.99
Initial Impression: The NZXT Guardian is one of the most popular cases on the market not only because of it’s inexpensive price, sturdy design, and loaded features.
Design: The NZXT Guardian is made from a sturdy .88mm and 1mm SECC steel chassis, has a clear side panel, and is available in blue and red LED models. Like most modern mid tower cases it has a bottom mounted power supply slot and is compatible with micro and standard ATX motherboards. Expansion includes 3 5.25″, 2 external 3.5″, and 4 internal 3.5″ drive bays. The front I/O includes 2 USB 2.0, audio, mic and e-sata ports. The Guardian comes compatible with most high-end video cards and removal of parts is possible in order to accommodate any card.
Cooling: One of the biggest draws for the Guardian are it’s 3 included 120 mm fans for the front, side, and rear. There’s also an option for an additional 140mm fan on top.
Additional Features: Another unique feature to the guardian is that it has constant temperature monitoring on the front. With these three probes you can gauge temperatures in order to better tune your system.
Final Impression: While we do feel it would be ideal for NZXT to update this particular model to USB 3.0, the Guardian is still a good buy because it offers more fans, a great design, and temperature monitoring all for under $70.
2. Cooler Master HAF 912 Advanced
Average Rating: 4.76/5 out of *1,717 Customer Reviews
*Reviews include previous versions of the Haf 912.
Average Price: $59.99 for Advanced (Updated Version with USB 3.0)
Initial Impression: The Haf 912 gives gamers an inexpensive solid case with plenty of features and space for under $60. This aging design has recently been updated to include USB 3.0. Bargain shoppers may prefer the older USB 2.0 version which is available for around $45. Overall it’s not only one of the most popular cases ever, but also one of the top rated.
Design: The Haf 912 uses a SECC steel chassis along with mesh ABS plastic. While there is no windowed side panel, the HAF 912 makes up by having holes where one would be. This allows for some additional airflow. While the older version of the Haf 912 had just 2 USB 2.0 ports on the front I/O, the newer version has 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, 1 e-SATA, 1 audio, and 1 mic port. Dimensions for the two are the same. Any other design changes can be seen on the Cooler Master enclosures page. It also includes a 3.5″ to 2.5″ adapter for two 2.5″/1.8″ HDD. This case can fit a card up to 270mm or 10.63 Inches with the hard drive cage or 390 mm or 15.35 inches without. It’s compatible with standard ATX and MATX motherboards.
Cooling: The Haf 912 Advanced includes a front 120mm and rear 120mm fan. An additional 120 mm fan can be added on the front and side as well as 2 120mm fans on the top. Additional options include removing the front fan and swapping it for a 200mm fan as well as adding an additional 200mm fan to the top. The side is also compatible with a 140mm fan.
Final Impression: The Haf 912 Advanced offers some of the best bang for your bucks in terms of affordability. While the design is simple it still holds appeal through it’s ruggedness and large amount of natural airflow.
3. Rosewill Challenger U3
Average Rating: 4.54/5 out of *2378 Customer Reviews
Average Price: $58.50 for U3 and $48 for the standard Challenger USB 2.0 version.
Initial Impression: The original Rosewill Challenger has been a favorite for years. The only difference between it and the U3 is that the U3 has 2 USB 3.0 ports to replace the 2.0 ports in the original and the older version runs about $10 cheaper. Like the Guardian it comes with 3 standard pre-installed fans and is made of SECC Steel.
Design: This inexpensive case is a great option if you’re looking for great airflow. The entire front of the case is built with mesh. There’s a gap behind the motherboard tray for cable management and it has a tray in the 2.5″ drive slot in case you have a couple solid state drives. The front port includes 2 USB 3.0 ports, an e-SATA port, and an audio in and out. It’s compatible with micro and standard atx motherboards and has up to 7 expansion slots.
Cooling: The Challenger comes with 1 front 120mm Blue led, 1 rear 120mm fan, and 1 top 140mm fan. You can also add up to 2 additional 120mm fans on the side.
Final Impression: When something’s not broke you shouldn’t fix it. Rosewill was smart to simply add USB 3.0 and keep the basics of one of the most popular cases ever.
4. Cooler Master Elite 430 and 431 Plus
Average Rating: 4.42/5 out of *957 Customer Reviews
Average Price: $52 for 430 and $50 for 431 Plus
Initial Impression: This is another great computer case geared towards gamers. Some of the model types for this popular series can get mixed up between sites, so be sure to look at the technical details for each page before purchasing. According to Cooler Master’s site there’s the Elite 430, 431, and 431 plus. The 431 plus is the model with a single USB 3.0 port in the front I/O.
Design: Unlike many budget cases that use cheap materials, the 431 Plus uses high quality steel and ABS plastic. The Front I/O consists of 1 USB 3, 2 USB 2.0, a mic, and an audio port. The side window panel allows you to see your rig’s components, and it gives you room for a GPU up to 12.4 inches long.
Cooling: This case comes with a 120mm front blue led fan and optional 80mm to 120mm top x 2, rear, and bottom fans.
Final Impression: This is a good case for the money, but if you go with it you’ll want to purchase an optional rear fan. It seems like Cooler Master should throw that in, but it doesn’t. You should add that additional $10 in when comparing it to the likes of Rosewill’s Challenger in this price range.
Here’s a few cases that didn’t quite make the cut but may in the future; Antec Nine Hundred, CM Storm Enforcer, Corsair Obsidian 650 D, Antec Three Hundred, Raidmax Smilodon, CM Storm Scout, CM Haf 922, NZXT Apollo, NZXT M59, Rosewill Blackhawk, NZXT Gamma, Thermaltake V3, NZXT Phantom 410, Corsair Carbide Series 500R, and Corsair Carbide 200R
Best Full Tower Desktop Gaming Cases 2013
4 to Consider:
1. Cooler Master HAF X
Average Rating: 4.63/5 out of 1,335 Reviews
Average Price: Average Price for USB 3 Model RC-942-KKN1 $189.99
Initial Impression: The CM HAF X is probably the most popular full tower case ever made.
Design: Made of steel, mesh, and polymer the HAF X is Cooler Master’s flagship full tower PC gaming case. It’s fully compatible with matx, ATX, E-ATX, and Gigabyte XL-ATX motherboards and has 9 expansion slots. It also has an adjustable VGA card holder for those of you who need to house heavier graphics cards.
Cooling: The HAF X maximizes air flow by including standard 200 x 30mm fans on the top and side and including a rear 140mm and a front 230mm red LED fan. There’s also room for an additional 200mm fan on the top.
Final Impression: You pay a pretty good premium to get a case of this magnitude and quality. That being said those who are power and PC building enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with the many features of Cooler Master’s HAF X computer case.
2. NZXT Phantom Full Tower Case
Average Rating: 4.51/5 out of 867 Customer Ratings
Average Price: $109 for the PHAN-001WT
Initial Impression: This is a budget full tower gaming case when compared to others similar with its specifications. It won a Tweaktown Must-Have Editor’s Choice Award
Design: This case is available in a wide variety of colors from white, black, red, orange stripes, white with red stripes, black with green stripes, and even pink with black stripes. It’s made of good quality materials in SECC Steel and ABS Plastic. The front I/O includes an HD audio/Mic, 2 USB 2.0, and 1 e-SATA port. The Top I/O includes a 5 push button fan control as well. For USB 3.0 consider the Phantom 530. It allows for up to a 13.77 inch or 350mm GPU, has 5 x 5.25″ external drive bays, 7 3.5″ or 2.5″ slots, 7 expansion slots, and E-ATX, ATX, and mATX motherboard support.
Cooling: The Phantom Full tower includes an optional 1 x 140 mm front, 1 x 120 mm rear, 2 side 120mm, a 200mm top fan as well as an additional optional top 2oomm fan. Filters for the top and side fans are also included.
Final Impression: For the money this is a solid case. While we wish there was a USB 3.0 option available in this price range, it’s hard to deny that you get every pennies worth of your money from the NZXT Phantom.
3. CM Haf 932 Advanced Computer Case
Average Rating: 4.73/5 out of 2855 Customer Reviews
Average Price: $155
Initial Impression: It’s easy to get confused when comparing the HAF 932 Advanced to the original HAF 932 and to the HAF X. I’ve seen some sites where they call the HAF X an upgraded version of the Haf 932; however, it’s important to realize that the upgraded version is simply the Advanced model which allows for USB 3.0. Compared with the more expensive X version the 932 has 7 expansion slots instead of 9 and uses slightly less expensive materials in its construction.
Design: The Haf 932 Has a rugged, but stylish appearance which focus on the max amount of airflow for the interior of your case. The front features two USB 3.0 connectors and internally it has removable HDD racks and a solid cable management system. The case is constructed of SECC steel and plastic and is compatible with MATX, ATX, and E-ATX.
Cooling: The Haf 932 comes with a front 230 red led fan, a side 230mm fan, top 230mm fan, and rear 140mm fan.
Final Impression: The HAF 932 is probably a better overall value than it’s high-end brother unless you’re buying a full tower solely for the additional expansion slots. If that’s the case, then you’ll have better luck elsewhere.
4. Rosewill Thor V2
Average Rating: 4.62/5 out of *3,440 Customer Reviews
*Includes Reviews for both the red and white model.
Average Price: Black: $120 White: $137
Initial Impression: The Thor V2 comes in white and black, is a Tom’s Hardware Recommended Buy, and can be one of the best full tower computer cases for the money if you get it on rebate or sale. It’s a bit noisy, but generally cases with this many fans are.
Design: With 10 expansion slots and support for a 13″ video card you have room and slots to put everything you want in this massive case. In addition to this it looks cool, has great cable management and is made of SECC Steel so it’s solid overall. It’s compatible with mATX, ATX, E-ATX, and XL-ATX motherboards. The side has ventilation holes instead of a glass panel so it’s not quite as easy to see your internal components, but maintains a cooler internal temperature as a result. The I/O ports include 2 USB 3.0, 1 e-SATA, 2 USB 2.0, and an audio out and mic in port.
Cooling: Included with this case are 1 front 1 x 230mm LED fan, rear 1 x 140mm fan, top 1 x 230mm fan, side 1 x 230mm fan, and the bottom has an optional 140mm fan. It has 4 rubber tube holes pre-installed at the rear of the chassis for easily setting up your liquid cooling kit. One of the best features of this case are the simple dual fan speed control knobs on the front which allow you to control the speed of up to 6 fans at once.
Final Impression: This is a great case with more expansion and cooling than cases twice its cost. If you can find it for under $120, then we recommend you pull the trigger.
Other cases that should also be considered in this category; CM Storm Trooper, Thermaltake Chaser MK-1, Corsair Obsidian 800D, Azza Solano 1000R, and Antec Twelve Hundred V3.
You can help us by leaving a comment in the section below and by voting in the polls above. As always be sure to come back for updates to this list each month.