Only those serious about performance and aesthetics go as far as thinking about custom casings, one very essential piece of a tech aficionado’s setup. For that very purpose, we took out the time to inspect a few of the hottest and hippest system casings available in the market. Judged on looks, expansion options and included equipment, the following five made the cut. Read on to find out which casing we think is the best.
How to Choose a Casing?
Choosing a casing seems to be mostly about aesthetics in popular culture whereas any computer aficionado knows power options, expansion options and cooling options are the main criteria for selecting a casing. Read on for what we think you should have in mind when buying a casing.
There’s not much to say about this because custom power supplies come in almost all sizes so finding a power supply that fits into the form factor design of the casing shouldn’t be a problem, for most cases. In extreme circumstances, for professional gamers or CADers, upgrades in the power supply for high end gaming cards or other peripheral device will need some looking in to.
As above, CADers and gamers require high end graphic cards as well as multiple SSD’s to store their data and get on with their “daily work”. Expansion options allow you to stay with the same casing for longer. For example, one kind of casing allows you to connect an SSD from the outside, meaning you can disconnect it when you’ve filled it without opening the whole casing. Another casing discussed below, allows you to remove the disk trays in order to accommodate more fans for cooling.
Almost all high-end casings allow water or liquid cooling but how well? Most casings have a default pipeline with minimal reach around the hardware housing. This can be extended or left alone with a new kit fitted along with it. All manufacturers list cooling options where available and also list the liquids they recommend.
Five Best System Casings
Enthoo Evolv Matx
In our opinion Phanteks went all out with this one, because the all-Aluminum finish is a sweet sight whether in the Satin Black, the Anthracite Grey or the Glacier White tone.
A mid-plate means the wires go into hiding so the only thing you see when you peak in through the half plate of glass on the side shows just the parts and not the clutter. It has two fans included where the front fan is 200mm and the rear is 140mm units of the improved SP series.
Click here to see reviews and prices for the Enthoo Evolv Matx on Amazon.com
A minimalist design ensures the least number of moving parts on the inside while accommodating all standardized form factors with ease. Dust filters are available in the bottom of the casing with small ventilation slits all around the edges make sure the temperature stays within bounds.
With a possibility of 5 total fans and liquid cooling options all around, the casing still allows 13 bays and extension trays, more than enough for a gamer’s GPUs or a CADers SSD drives. To the side, IO options include 2 USB ports as well as the audio jacks.
|230mm x 450mm x 400mm|
|2x USB 3.0, audio|
|~ 90 US]=|
Graphite Series™ 780T
Corsair has been known for its innovative designs as well as technological edge when it comes to RAM modules amongst many of its achievements. Hence, no wonder the Graphite series comes out as a premium grade work of art.
The lighting fixtures, mesh design, and unorthodox design leave you wanting to touch it. The casing is hoisted over body-length toes and features a mesh at the front which lets you see the illuminated fans just behind it. The mesh design continues over the top with the edge host to options for external IO expansion. A fan-speed controller is also positioned here allowing you to switch the fan between three speeds with the press of a single button.
Click here to see reviews and prices for the Graphite Series™ 780T on Amazon.com
Tool-free panels and inserts means removing devices is as easy as sliding the trays in and out. The inside allow expansion for upto 12 fans and another 9 expansion bays for drives. The side panel is a glass-inset letting you see right into the heart of your powerhouse.
Panels have latching handles, while bays that are not required can be removed for later. The form factor fitting design allows the drives to be neatly tucked away out of the airflow of the two fans in the front. All the air sucked in through the front gets ejected from the top and rear with the right combination of fans. 3 fans come included.
|637mm x 288mm x 602mm|
|4x USB, fan switch, audio|
|~ 180 USD|
Define R5 – Black Widow
Define has been Fractal-design’s premium line of casings and system accessories. And the Define R5 requires little introduction. The design is as always streamlined and optimized for a minimalist aesthetic footprint.
The high-density material used for the build allows noise reduction while the design allows a number of possible fan configurations and liquid-based cooling solutions. The insides can hold upto 9 drives while more space can be acquired by removing the unused ODD bay. A Quick Release System developed by the manufacturer ensures that the design is unaffected by a latching system that allows effortless access to the guts.
Click here to see reviews and prices for the Define R5 – Black Widow on Amazon.com
The casing is available with window side panel options while dust-free covers are included for the front and back. Available only in black the side of the casing hosts dedicated SSD mounts. The front of the casings hosts IO including a power button, 4x USB slots, audio and reset buttons.
|232 x 451 x 521mm|
|4x USB, audio, power, reset|
|~ 80 USD|
The Elite version of the S340 enjoys a reputation and has expectations to live up to. The side is a plain wall of tempered glass so everything is clearly visible. The screws at the edges are super easy to remove and blend into the casings background.
The top, unlike any other has an HDMI port along with the regular USB ports and an audio jack. Convenience options have been built in to the design for users to be able to leave their peripheral gear (VR headset or headphones) with ease.
Click here to see reviews and prices for the S340 Elite on Amazon.com
While the front is a plain wall of steel, the overall ensemble of the mammoth like structure is complimented by the Matte Black. Dust filters are included for the front and bottom vents with possible expansion of upto 7 devices. With 2 fans already included, another 3 can be adjusted within the casing.
|203mm x 474mm x 432mm|
|Steel, Tempered Glass|
|HDMI, USB, audio, power|
|~ 100 USD|
The 805 Infinity is so called because of it’s frontal lighting effect. The effect utilizes LED strips and mirrors to recreate lines of LEDs that fade off into the darkened whole at the end. The lighting effect has a driver that can be downloaded if your board doesn’t offer ROG/Aura customization options. With a color pallet of virtually limitless colors, the front of your casing will never be the same, literally!
Click here to see reviews and prices for the 805 Infinity on Amazon.com
ROG certification means you get a quality product and that is further evident because of the classy Aluminum finish. The top of the front hosts the external IO options with a USB type C connector amongst the usual USB and audio jacks. Side panels are complete tempered glass, with 3.0mm thickness, double the regular amount in standard casings. Mounting positions allow you to achieve maximum space efficacy with a versatile tray/space for HDDs and SSDs. Said trays can be moved in order to adjust fans in their place for alternative combinations.
|476mm x 205mm x 472.5mm|
|Aluminum, Tempered Glass|
|3x USB, USB Type-C, audio|
|~ 250 USD|
If it weren’t for the price, the definite answer would have been the 805 Infinity, but on a buget, the best casing in our opinion is the Corsair 780T. The design is sleek, minimal and aesthetically stands out. The inclusion of tempered glass is not a new trick, but one not very popular because of poor executions. Corsair made sure that were not to happen with this marvel of beauty and engineering coupled together. For the price and the added features we think this is the best all-rounder option for whether you’re a gamer or CADer or just a techno-geek.