How to buy the perfect PC case
No matter whether you treat your computer as the centerpiece of your home office or just stuff it under your desk, buying the right PC case matters.
At a minimum, you want to pick a PC case that’s the right size for your needs and has room for all your hardware and USB devices. But some PC cases offer much, much more. Spacious innards, lower temperatures, muffled sound, extensive water-cooling support, and fancy-schmancy tempered glass panels or RGB lighting are just the tip of the iceberg.
Here’s a guide to buying a PC case that’s perfect for you. This is just the first step in your DIY journey; be sure to check out PCWorld’s guide to building a PC, too.
Size matters for PC cases
Before anything else, decide what size case you need. There are three major case sizes: Full tower, mid-tower, and mini-ITX.
Full-tower and mid-tower cases both fit standard ATX motherboards—by far the most common motherboard size out there. Both can also fit smaller micro-ATX motherboards. Exact sizing varies from case to case, but most mid-towers run up to roughly 18 inches high and 8 or so inches wide. Mid-tower PCs are probably the most common form factor and have enough room to fit systems with a closed-loop CPU cooler, a couple of graphics cards, and a lot of storage.
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Editor’s note: Last updated with the videos in the PC case news section, and several changes to our recommendations.
PC case news
Pricing for cases have slipped upwards in the wake of the United States’ tariffs on Chinese products. Expect to pay slightly more for a case—about $10 to $25—than you would have a year ago.
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