Taylor Clemons is a tech writer who has written for IndieHangover, GameSkinny, and Steam Shovelers. Taylor specializes in PC components, operating systems, and gaming console hardware.
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Best Cooling: Cooler Master Elite 130 at Amazon
"On the front of the case are a metal mesh front panel and ventilated side panels."
Best RGB: InWin A1 Plus at Amazon
"Has an acrylic base and 2-120mm fans with addressable RGB lighting for a custom color scheme."
Best Small Footprint: Fractal Design Node 202 at Amazon
"Ideal for mounting to the undersides or sideboards of desks, placing horizontally by a printer or monitor, or tucking away in a corner to optimize your working space."
Best Silent/Fanless: Morex 557 at Amazon
"Designed for silent operation in spaces where loud GPU and CPU cooling fans or water cooling radiators can be a distraction or annoyance."
Best Glass Panel: NZXT H200 at Amazon
"Features all-steel construction for durability and a full tempered glass panel."
Best Open-Air: Thermaltake Core P1 Tempered Glass Edition at Amazon
"Tailored to those wanting to show off their components and expand their build without being confined to a metal box."
Best Integrated Power Supply: Rosewill Mini ITX Tower at Amazon
"Comes with an integrated 250-watt power supply that can handle most builds geared toward everyday office work."
Best Overall: CORSAIR Carbide Air 240 at Amazon
"A case that has style, durability, and plenty of customization options."
Courtesy of Amazon
When looking to build a Mini-ITX PC, optimizing your cooling options is a major consideration. Luckily, the Cooler Master Elite 130 has you covered. On the front of the case are a metal mesh front panel and ventilated side panels designed to increase the amount of fresh, cooler ambient air that can enter the unit. It also has a single 120mm fan in the front to help draw in cool air as well as a single 80mm fan on the side to expel heat for constant, optimal airflow resulting from negative pressure.
The front of the case has a mounting bracket, which can accommodate a single 120mm radiator for internal water cooling options. This mini-ITX case has plenty of room on the inside for CPU cooling fans as well; customers can install CPU cooling fans up to 2.5 inches tall. The hard drive mounting brackets on the front and side of the case, power supply placement, and GPU mounting all provide ample room for airflow, ensuring cooler temperatures under load.
Building a Small Form Factor (SFF) PC doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for space-saving solutions. The InWin A1 Plus has an acrylic base and 2-120mm fans with addressable RGB lighting for a custom color scheme. When lit, the clear acrylic base of this unit creates a dazzling effect. The fans have RGB loops on both sides so the light is visible no matter how they are configured. The matte black, brushed aluminum finish of the case complements the vivid colors of the lighting strips, making them stand out against almost any desk setup.
This case can accommodate video cards up to 11.8 inches long and comes with an integrated 650-watt, gold-rated power supply, so you can rest assured your rig has enough juice to utilize RGB components such as RAM, video cards, and CPU coolers. As an added bonus, the case features a wireless charging station you can use with all mobile, Qi-enabled devices, providing 10 watts of power to charge your mobile devices even when the PC is off.
Small form factor PC builds are ideal for those with limited desk or office floor space. The Fractal Design Node 202 case has a compact design that can accommodate just about any tight space. It measures 5.7 x 13 x 18.2 inches and can be placed both horizontally or vertically. This makes it ideal for mounting to the undersides or sideboards of desks, placing horizontally by a printer or monitor, or tucking away in a corner to optimize your working space.
The Node 202 comes packaged with a foot stand for stable vertical placement so you won’t have to worry about it wobbling or tipping over while you work. And seeing as the case itself weighs just 7.72 pounds, it’s light enough to carry around your office, home, or travel lodge. The inside of the case features compartment-style construction to keep hot-running components separated and in contact with free-flowing air. As a result, your rig will run more smoothly and at lower temperatures under load.
If you are looking to build a PC that can handle typical, day-to-day office work rather than one geared toward gaming, the Morex 557 fanless case is perfect for you. Designed for silent operation in spaces where loud GPU and CPU cooling fans or water cooling radiators can be a distraction or annoyance — such as open-concept offices or conference rooms — it features mounting holes and brackets for up to 4-40mm fans and 2-60mm fans.
The Morex 557 comes with VEGA mounting hardware, so you can place it on the back of a monitor, and wall mounting brackets as an alternative space-saving measure. If you’d like to keep it on your desk, it comes with rubber feet to protect surfaces from scratches and gouges. The top and sides of the case offer plenty of ventilation for optimal intake of fresh, cooler air while keeping components at good working temperatures.
With the advent of RGB-capable components such as RAM and cooling fans, tempered glass panel construction has become very popular with PC building pros and hobbyists. For that reason, the NZXT H200 case is a great choice for those who want to show off their gaming build while conserving desk or floor space. The body of the case features all-steel construction for durability and a full tempered glass panel attached, with screws for easy removal when dropping in new components, managing cables, or performing cleaning and maintenance.
The H200 is built with cable management in mind. Its pre-installed channels behind the motherboard tray and velcro straps help create a clean-looking build. This case also features 2-120mm fans for negative pressure-assisted airflow and mounting options for a single 240mm water cooling radiator to keep your rig running smoothly, even during intense gaming sessions. This case comes in four color combinations to embellish almost any office or gaming space: all black or black with red, blue, or white accents.
Open-air design cases are tailored to those wanting to show off their components and expand their build without being confined to a metal box. The Thermaltake Core P1 Tempered Glass Edition was designed with these physical modifications in mind. This case can be used with 3D printed parts (available from 3D Makers Microsite) to create a truly unique build. The Core P1 can be utilized in both horizontal and vertical positions to optimize space, and wall-mounting brackets can be purchased separately for even more placement options.
This case includes a 5mm-thick tempered glass panel, which protects components from impact damage while still facilitating ambient airflow. The Core P1 features what Thermaltake calls a "Dismantlable Modular Design," meaning the entire case can be taken apart and rebuilt in virtually any configuration to fit your needs. It also includes a riser cable to allow for vertical GPU mounting.
Along with the open-air design, this case can support up to 2-120mm fans or a single 240mm radiator for all-in-one liquid cooling options.
If you’re looking to save a bit of cash when buying components for your build — or don’t want the hassle of making sure everything will fit – a case with an integrated power supply can serve you well. The Rosewill Mini ITX Tower comes with an integrated 250-watt power supply that can handle most builds geared toward everyday office work. This case is built with convenience in mind, featuring a front-facing I/O panel for easy access to two USB 2.0 ports and two audio ports.
It also is mindful of expandability, with space for an external 5.25-inch drive bay as well as two 3.5 inch drive bays for swapping hard drives or optical drives as needed. The front of the case has drive bay covers to hide drive openings and create a sleek and clean look to complement almost any office or home workspace. The side panels feature large ventilation areas for optimal airflow.
If you’re looking for a case that has style, durability, and plenty of customization options, the CORSAIR Carbide Air 240 has you covered. This cube-style case has a variety of style options from a standard acrylic viewing window, RGB capabilities, and even a tempered glass panel. It comes with 3-120mm fans and has room for up to 2-240mm liquid cooling radiators; however, it is only compatible with CORSAIR liquid cooling kits.
The Carbide Air 240 features tool-less drive mounting with 3 bays, which can fit both 3.5- and 2.5-inch drives. On the front of the case are two USB 3.0 ports and two audio ports for easy connectivity to all your peripherals. Altogether, the Carbide Air 240 is compact enough to accommodate small desks or gaming rooms and offices with limited floor space while still fitting full-size graphics cards.
The Carbide Air 240 has a cutout in the CPU backplate, so you can install a dedicated cooling fan. It can also support micro ATX motherboards, giving you the option to install two GPUs at the same time.