A gaming PC case or chassis is designed specifically for gaming PC hardware. It has features that would allow high-performance PC components, which are aimed at improving gaming performance. However, you should not buy a PC case just because it is labeled as a ‘gaming case’. You should consider what your specific needs are based on the hardware components that you will use. Here are the things that I recommend you should look for:
Motherboard Form Factor
Gaming motherboards usually have a form factor, or basically the size, that is longer and/or wider than entry-level low-end motherboards. This is because most of them have added features such as multi-graphics card capability and more slots for memory and expansion cards, such as PCI express (PCIe) network and sound cards. Almost all gaming PC cases can accommodate these motherboards.
There are small gaming cases that can only cater to small motherboards such as ITX boards, which are really small. The bottom line is that you should buy a case that is big enough for the motherboard.
Video Card Length
High-end video cards are usually long. Some of them are even a few inches longer than the motherboard itself. A gaming case should be able to cater most video cards. However, there are some gaming cases that have limited room for video cards so make sure that you consider the length of the video card that you’ll be using versus the limitation of the gaming case.
Hard Disk, SSD and Optical Drive Expansion Bays
Drive expansion bays aren’t usually a problem. Most gaming cases would allow you to use 2-3 optical drives and 4-6 hard drives or SSDs. If you have more than that, you should buy a much bigger gaming case.
Gaming PCs doesn’t usually use a lot of drives as it is aimed mostly at performance. There’s the SSD for faster booting and loading times, an optical drive that is usually used for installation and a regular high-capacity hard drive.
Cable Management System
Cable management inside a PC case isn’t only for looks. It allows better air flow inside your case, thus, keeping your components cool. It also makes it easier for you to remove and install hardware components.
The most common cable management systems of PC cases are those that have compartments where you could put the cables in or holes through the panel so that you could hide the cables behind the motherboard.
A good gaming PC case should give you the ability to manage your cables well even if you have a non-modular power supply. It takes time to organize the cables since you won’t be using some of them and you have to tuck them in somewhere inside the case.
Liquid Cooling or Case Fan Installation
Cooling your system is important since, not only will it keep your system cool during operation, it lengthens the life of the components. A gaming PC usually has components that require a lot of power, and thus, result in more heat dissipation. A gaming PC case should be able to utilize fans to improve air flow inside a PC. You should be able to install front case fans to take in cool air, and rear and top case fans that should exhaust the hot air out of the computer.
More and more people are using liquid cooling solutions for their PCs. This is helpful to high-end gaming computers as they usually have high-powered components that dissipate more heat. If you are planning to use liquid cooling, you should buy a gaming case that can fit large radiators and can organize the tubes.
Additional PC Case Features
Most gaming motherboards have features such as USB and audio panel connectors. It’s always better to use USB devices somewhere on the front of the PC case for easy access. It’s troublesome to use the back USB panel as there are other cables or devices that might be in the way, especially since the USB ports at the motherboard back panel are tightly packed.
Design of the PC case
Choosing a gaming PC case based on its design is subjective. It really depends on your preference if you like the overall design of the PC case or not. You may choose depending on the placement of the buttons, the labels, the windows, the mesh designs for the fans, the contour of the case, the paint job and so on.
Computer Hardware Performance Reviews
As with almost any other computer component, doing your research pays off. If you have a specific gaming case in mind, try to look for reviews on the internet and see other peoples’ opinions and experiences are for that particular gaming case. You might even see a review that has the same hardware components as you do. The things that you should look out for are temperatures, ease of installation, what hardware can be installed and price, which brings us to the next topic.
Buy Within Your Budget
Let’s face it. Most of us don’t have that much money to buy the best components for our PCs. Try to take the time to scour around for good deals on a gaming PC case. Who knows? A good gaming PC case that’s within your budget might go on sale.
There you have it. This is how I would choose a gaming case for my PC. There are a lot of PC enthusiasts who take the looks of their PCs seriously, and most of them look awesome.
I had a hard time with my gaming PC case, a Thermaltake Armor A90, since I have a non-modular power supply. It actually took me around 1 1/2 hours to organize the cables. Although it’s already clean and organized, I’m sure I would have done better with a case that has better cable management.
In the end, it will always depend on your PC hardware, your preference and your budget. Even if you have a really good gaming PC case, it may not be the best as there may be other PC cases that could provide better performance and features for your gaming rig. Of course, you cannot test all of them to find out, but at least, hopefully, I helped you in figuring out which gaming PC case is suitable for your computer.
Airflow 101: Setting Up Your Fans and Keeping Your Computer Cool – Tom’s Hardware