Are you thinking about getting a new enclosure? The choice is huge and the possibilities are endless. That's why there are online computer configurators. There's sure to be something for you. There are so many manufacturers with different models that it seems difficult to find the right PC case. With so many choices, it is understandable to have many questions in mind.
We will help you find some answers with this PC case review 2022 and hope to support you in finding the right case. In the following, we explain the different types of PC cases and what you should look for before buying. We will tell you which cooling options are available and which materials are suitable. Furthermore, we show you a few different models and compare them.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The best PC Case: Our Picks
- 4 PC cases: Buying and evaluation criteria
- 5 PC cases: frequently asked questions and answers
- 5.1 What is a PC case?
- 5.2 For whom is a PC case suitable?
- 5.3 What types of PC cases are there?
- 5.4 What alternatives are there to a PC case?
- 5.5 How can I insulate my PC case?
- 5.6 How do I protect the PC case from dust?
- 5.7 What happens if the PC case is too warm?
- 5.8 How do I dispose of a PC case?
- 6 Conclusion
- A PC case offers your electronic hardware protection from external influences such as dust, dirt and water. The case is practical, must offer enough space for all your elements and cool them optimally. That's why it needs to be chosen carefully, as it can also be the most durable component.
- Choosing the right enclosure is not an easy task. There are many different models, sizes and combinations. The size of your motherboard automatically influences the choice of the size of your case, because it is essential that it has enough space in the case. You can choose between the Mini ITX case, the Micro ATX case, the Midi Tower or the Big Tower.
- Once you have decided on the size of your PC case, you should look at the various equipment options, such as the connections. You need to decide what is important to you and what you value. This always depends on your individual application and use.
The best PC Case: Our Picks
Now let's look at the individual PC cases. In the following, we list our favourite cases and rate them. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best case for you.
PC cases: Buying and evaluation criteria
In order to find the perfect PC case for you, we have selected some buying criteria that play an important role in the decision. With these following criteria, we would like to offer you the best possible comparison of the individual models.
Now that you are familiar with the criteria, we will briefly go into each one below.
Cooling is a very important component when choosing a PC case. It is important to maintain low temperatures in a PC case. In the course of using the computer, the individual components (power supply unit, processor, graphics card and mainboard, etc.) heat up. In order to avoid too high and dangerous temperatures for the computer, there are various cooling options. There is air cooling and water cooling.
Let's first discuss water cooling here. This is the more expensive variant, in which the processor, the graphics card and the mainboard are cooled with water or coolant.
The main advantage of this cooling is that several graphics cards and also the other elements are optimally cooled and also quietly operated. For the hardcore gamer who wants maximum performance but does not want to sacrifice a quiet system, water cooling is the perfect choice.
You need several components for a water cooling system:
- First you need a hose. It is used to connect the individual elements in the circuit. You can choose between a soft tube or a hard tube. The more stable the tube, the longer it will last.
- Cooling is best done with cooling liquid, as it has the following advantages over distilled water: corrosion protection (prevents rust) and biological inhibitors (prevents algae from forming).
- Another important component is the pump. It ensures that the coolant circulates at an appropriate rate.
- In a water cooling circuit, the expansion tank (reservoir) must not be missing either. As soon as water heats up, it expands in volume and contracts again as soon as the water cools down. The reservoir comes into play during these fluctuations.
- Then there is the radiator. The radiator is one of the most important, because it influences the cooling the most. It absorbs the heat from the cooling water when the heated water flows through it. The metal heats up and the water cools down. The more surface area there is of the radiator, the better the cooling. Now the metal is heated and must be cooled with a radiator fan. This fan releases the heat of the metal into the ambient air.
As you can see, you have to pay attention to several things with this variant. If you decide to use this cooling system, you need enough space in your enclosure to accommodate all the necessary elements.
Now we come to air cooling or ventilation. When it comes to ventilation, a distinction can be made between vertically installed fans (the tower cooler) and the top-blow cooler, when the propellers are positioned horizontally. The tower cooler is the more classic variant, in which the rotators are installed at the front and rear of the case and have a direct airflow.
In a standard case, 3 to 4 fans are installed. Usually 2-3 front propellers at the front to draw fresh air into the interior and 1-2 rear propellers at the rear to get the hot air out. The more fans, the better, of course.
However, the possibilities are limited, because they take up a lot of space in the enclosure. The size of your case plays a role, as does the noise level. The more rotating fans run, the louder it gets. You have to decide where your noise tolerance lies or what is more important to you.
Normally, four propellers are sufficient for optimal cooling.
With top-blow cooling, the propellers sit in the lid and suck in the fresh air. You should consider installing additional propellers in the bottom or front or rear propellers to support the supply of fresh air or the discharge of used air.
For better cooling, the honeycomb structure elements (such as the mesh structure) on the side, front and/or in the lid also contribute their part. However, noise emissions also increase due to the air-permeable sections.
When choosing the right enclosure, the equipment also plays an important role. It all depends on what you value. There are many different components and upgrade options, so you have to decide what you want to use.
Important main components are, for example, a processor, a graphics card, a motherboard, a power supply and an attached cooling system. Besides your fan or water cooling system, do you want an extra CPU cooler or GPU cooler so that your processor and graphics card get the best cooling? Then make sure that there is enough space in the case to install them later or pay attention to this equipment when buying.
You also need a lot of space in your case for the corresponding equipment. Before buying, be aware of which features you would like to have and adjust the size accordingly.
Important additional equipment in your enclosure could be: Hard drives, SSDs or optical drives (such as Blu-ray / DVD or burners). You also need to make sure you have the right connections. Do you definitely need a USB-C connection or would you prefer the standard type A? Look out for these components in your new purchase and ask yourself what you need.
Here is a small list of what you can choose from:
- Space for expansion (drives, GPU risers)
- Number of fan slots and CPU / GPU coolers
- Board size (ITX, MATX, ATX)
- Ventilation / water cooling
- Various front ports (USB A)
- Cable management (built-in power supply, cable ducts)
- Dust filter
- Side windows / RGB lighting
As you can see, there is a long list of possible combinations to create the perfect PC case for you.
Currently, there are four main materials used to make PC cases. Many cases are made of steel because it provides a sturdy base. However, the elaborately designed elements are usually moulded from plastic. The light metal aluminium is used as a higher-quality alternative to steel and plastic.
In contrast to steel, aluminium is much lighter and has a very high-quality appearance.
However, this can also cost you dearly, which is why manufacturers usually opt for a compromise. They make the enclosure frame from inexpensive, robust steel and clad it externally with aluminium panels to enhance its value.
Furthermore, glass has become very popular as a typical enclosure material in recent years. Side windows made of glass or Plexiglas offer you a view into the interior of the enclosure. But also the fronts of the case or the lid made of glass offer an optimal possibility to show off the installed hardware. This variant gives you the opportunity to design your PC case in an eye-catching way.
Nowadays, the classic computer as we know it is far outdated. There are now so many different variants and limitless possibilities with the option of building your own case.
But if you are not a hobbyist, you still have a wide choice of manufacturers with different models and designs. There are quite unusual shapes with corners and edges or even completely round.
For those who like it rather plain and classy, there is, for example, a matt black case with a black tempered glass or Plexiglas as a viewing window into the inner workings. In contrast to this, there is, for example, a fully glazed case with a complete view of the interior. Or a transparent front or glass lid.
For the additional fun factor, there is the option of illuminating the interior with RGB lights. How about RGB or ARGB lighting of the individual propellers? Or RGB LED strips distributed throughout the case? If you have a water cooling system, you can also buy the coolant in a colour if you wish.
With transparent hoses or hard tubes, this can be very exciting. Furthermore, you can also cover the radiators with RGB LEDs. Gamers also like to install their graphics card upright and make it the centre of attention with attached LEDs.
PC cases: frequently asked questions and answers
What is a PC case?
The case is sometimes the most durable component, but unfortunately it is usually placed lower down the list when putting together a computer. However, a good case is essential for the optimal protection of your processor, motherboard, graphics card and power supply. If they are well protected, they will last longer.
Among other things, your case is the basis for optimal cooling. It offers the necessary space to accommodate the elements of the ventilation or the elements of the water cooling. The case is responsible for holding everything together.
You can also use your PC case as a styling element. By using tempered glass or Plexiglas and attached RGB lighting, you can create eye-catching light shows. Even the propellers can now be purchased with RGB lights.
For whom is a PC case suitable?
You should get a PC case if you have assembled a computer but have not yet found a suitable place to store your electronic hardware. A PC case provides protection for your sensitive parts and gives them a home, so to speak.
What types of PC cases are there?
|Mini - ITX- Enclosure||Low space consumption, low noise emission||Only small circuit board possible to install, limited ventilation / cooling|
|Micro - ATX - Enclosure||Compact unit||Less space for hardware, limited number of fans, water cooling is questionable, cut back on other hardware elements, small PCB|
|Midi Tower (up to ATX)||Space for hardware, possibly water cooling (radiators, expansion tank), normal fan equipment||Not all components for water cooling, possibly only one graphics card, possibly high noise emission.|
|Big Tower (up to XL-ATX)||Space for hardware, extensive water cooling (with heat exchanger, pump, radiators, expansion tank), several graphics cards, high fan configuration||High noise emission.|
Each type of PC case has its advantages and disadvantages. We have compiled the individual components for you here. You may not even consider some of them to be negative or positive. It may be that you care more about some details than others.
Therefore, in the end, only you can decide which enclosure suits you best. Consider in advance what requirements the enclosure must fulfil and decide accordingly.
What alternatives are there to a PC case?
The difference between the two is that the laptop is more mobile in terms of location. It can be taken to any room or to a friend's house. Now, if you think a laptop case doesn't offer the same performance as a PC case, you may be right. However, it offers the user a very good alternative.
- Laptop case: Good computing power balanced with the convenience of mobility.
- Tablet case: Adequate computing power balanced with the convenience of flexible use.
Furthermore, a tablet case can also be an alternative. Of course, a tablet is even smaller than a laptop and probably not as powerful in terms of computing power as the board and graphics card as in a PC case. However, if you are perhaps looking for a replacement product for on the road, a suitable tablet may be the alternative.
How can I insulate my PC case?
Be aware that insulation mats can increase the temperature by up to 10 %. Many users do not really notice this. However, if you spend a lot of time at your PC and play games that require a lot of processing power, you should keep this in mind. Especially in summer.
Let's move on to the right insulation mat. There are many manufacturers who offer insulation mats. There are also different features. It is best to make sure that the mat is very easy to attach to the enclosure. And make sure that it has good adhesive properties so that the mat still holds very well to the walls even after repeated use.
Also attach great importance to the thickness of the mat. With very thin mats, the temperatures inside the room are only slightly increased, even during long periods of use. This means that you can attach the mats to your enclosure almost without restriction.
In the end, you have to decide for yourself to what extent it makes sense to mount an insulation shield on your enclosure. You have to weigh the noise emission against the temperature influence. In your case, it may also be sufficient to optimise the airflow to prevent noise.
As a first step, it usually makes more sense to decouple the inside of the enclosure with the appropriate equipment. Or improve the cooling elements, especially retrofitting quieter propellers.
Damping mats or bitumen mats are suitable for the low vibrations or also a droning from the sheet metal. It is recommended to tackle the root of the problem rather than the symptoms.
If you have a high friction, for example from the processor (CPU), a porous foam mat would help at best, but not a smooth surface. However, absorption by friction generates heat as opposed to reflection of sound. This is something to try out.
How do I protect the PC case from dust?
If your case does not have a dust filter, we recommend that you upgrade your PC case accordingly. You can easily order such a filter online. The magnetic dust filters are the most suitable.
Another and less expensive option is tights. Pantyhose has very fine pores and is ideally suited as a kind of dust filter. We recommend that you use a dust filter or tights wherever there are propellers that draw in fresh air. Of course, both should be cleaned regularly. The cleanliness of the room in which the PC is located also plays a role.
To clean the case, we recommend that you use a fine brush (not a bristle brush) to remove dust from the inside. Despite dust filters and other tricks, the computer is, so to speak, a hoover that runs for several hours (a day).
The brush is a good solution to remove the lint without causing any damage. You probably know from experience that there are always cracks somewhere in the case through which the dust can penetrate. Regular cleaning is therefore indispensable. But please be careful with the small metal holder that connects the brush hairs to the wooden handle.
What happens if the PC case is too warm?
If, for example, you have several graphics cards in your case and only use one ventilation, the temperature limit of the graphics cards can be reached very quickly. In this case, the graphics card automatically clocks down to prevent damage due to overheating.
This process is called thermal throtteling. The desired computing power of your computer is no longer achieved as a result of the downclocking. To prevent this from happening, water cooling is recommended.
If you only use a graphics card and generally don't have that much extra equipment in your case, you can also think about installing an additional propeller or a ventilation element. This will increase the direct airflow and ensure that more fresh air gets into the interior of your case.
How do I dispose of a PC case?
However, you can dispose of a completely empty PC case in the yellow bin in most municipalities. This is because metal and plastic are often allowed in the Yellow Bin, just not e-waste. We recommend that you check the homepage of your municipality to find out what is allowed.
Otherwise, you can go to a nearby recycling centre. You should be able to dispose of your housing there without any problems. The scrap metal trade would also be an option, depending on the material your enclosure is made of. You might even be able to earn a few euros there.
Another alternative would be to sell your computer on Ebay.
The PC case is important for your home equipment if you want to store your individual hardware elements such as the circuit board, the processor or the graphics card. Before buying, you should consider what requirements the enclosure must meet.
A second consideration should be the size of your mainboard. Its size determines the size of your enclosure, so to speak. Under all circumstances, you should make sure that it can fit properly, otherwise it may be damaged.
Of course, you should also pay attention to the material and workmanship. Proper cooling is also essential. You can also consider whether you want to visually upgrade your case with a glass viewing window and RGB lighting. There are many ways to configure your case.
Image source: unsplash / 123rf