Which Gaming PC Case would you recommend?


Dec 5, 2008

I was recently looking at both mid-towers and full-towers for my next rig build but I am not sure which one to go for. I was interested in mid-towers at the beginning but then I heard that Radeon HD 5970 video card does not fit into many of the mid tower cases so I am not sure if I better go with a full-tower instead which would allow me to fit a 11.5" long video card in the future. I am also interested in PC Cases that has a side fan which could blow the air directly towards the video card and CPU but I hope that they would not be noisy.

The PC Cases that I was looking at are:

Thermaltake Armor+ (a very good gaming pc case but a bit pricey)
Thermaltake Armor+ MX (mid-tower version of Armor+)
Thermaltake Element G (a mid-tower designed for gamers)
Thermaltake Element V (looks like Antec 1200 but many people said that Antec 1200 is still better)
Antec 1200 (a full-tower version of Antec 900)
Antec 902 (revision of Antec 900)
Coolermaster 690 II Advanced (announced in January, 2010)
Coolermaster Cosmos Pure (a nice looking full-tower from Coolermaster)
Lian Li PC-A70F (but it has no side fan)
Coolermaster HAF 922
Coolermaster HAF 932
Coolermaster Storm Sniper

Thermaltake Armor+ is very good but it might be too expensive for many people and it is currently about 2 years old so I was looking at the other newer alternatives which might offer better value.

Which Gaming PC Case would you recommend?

And how important is the side fan of the PC case? Is it a must? Because not all of them have side fan...

Thank you. :bounce:


Dec 5, 2008

These are the PC parts that I am planning to buy:

Motherboard: ASUS P7P55D-E PRO
CPU: Intel Core i7 860
CPU Cooler: Thermalright Venomous X
RAM Memory: 4GB DDR3 Ram (ordinary Corsair DDR3 Ram might fit but Corsair Dominator might not fit because it has tall heatsink?)
Hard disk: Seagate SATA III HDD
Single Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 5870 (or possibly Radeon HD 5890 or a dual-GPU video card in the future)
Sound Card: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatality Pro
PSU: Enermax Modu 87+ 700W (80+ Gold of Energy Efficiency Certified) (Standard ATX PS2 size)


May 29, 2009
cm storm sniper black edition, fits 5970 with space to spare. For cooling, cm storm sniper black > 1200 for everything except the cpu, antec 1200 has more airflow around the cpu so it's better for cpu overclocking while the storm sniper has better airflow around gpu/psu/cpu, the gpu @ load (gtx260) ran 5C~ cooler in sniper than antec 1200 but cpu ran hotter , 1-2C

1- Good rig.
2- Are you sure?, the heatsink usually isn't a problem. The only problem is if you have a Coolermaster V10
3- The CPU cooler is good, but the coolermaster hyper 212+ is very good too at $29.99
4- The PSU isn't good.

Now, focus in the main question. I would buy in this order:

1- This, new option, in combo deal with PSU 750W.
2- Antec 1200
3- Coolermaster HF 932, new add, but very good.
4- Thermaltake V9, IMO better that the element G
In your original post you mentioned that ATI Radeon HD 5970. In your second post post you mentioned the HD 5870 and 5890.

The 5970 is 12.16" or 309 mm long. In addition some allowance has to be made for the PCI-e power cables.

For the 5970 you will need a case that is at least 20 inches long from front to back. A length of 24 inches would be better. You'll have to check the length of the cases you listed to find out which ones might be okay.

The case fan is not a mandatory requirement for a gaming pc. There are pc gaming rigs that do very well without a case fan on the side panel. I did a little test with my Coolermaster HAF 932 case two weeks ago in response to a thread asking the same question. I ran Prime95 at 100% load with and without the large intake fan on the side panel. Temps were about 2C lower with the side panel fan. For the typical user and gamer that won't make much of a difference. I have a Lian Li / Lancool Dragon Lord PC-K60 case for my brand new build. The case does not have a fan or any ventilation on the side panel. When I ran Prime 95 at 100% load the core temperatures were the same as the HAF 932 with side fan running. As usual, individual results will vary.

I have an Intel Core i7 860 system with the new Thermalright Venomous X cpu heatsink. The memory modules with the extra tall heatspreaders that resemble a comb will not fit in the memory slot closest to the cpu socket. They interfere with the heatsink. I've mentioned this before. Tom's Hardware repeatedly published articles about memory indicating those extra tall heatspreaders do not improve memory cooling. Other reviews confirm THG's findings. Those tall heatspreaders are an advertising gimmick. Optimal memory cooling is achieved with no memory heatspreaders. The cpu heatsink is right next to the memory and pulls air right over the modules.
saint19 - I have the Coolermaster Hyper 212 in my emergency backup pc. Exact same problem with those extra tall heatspreaders as with most other tower style cpu heatsinks. In fact, I had to install standard memory in the memory slot closest to the cpu socket first and then install the heatsink.

Why is the new Enermax modu87+ Gold Certified power supply not good? We just had another thread about that specific model this morning. Technical reviews were very very favorable. It almost matches the Seasonic X-650 Gold Certified psu. I just checked several technical reviews. The Thermaltake psu you mentioned is a very good psu but it can't match the new gold and silver certified psu's.


Dec 5, 2008

I wasn't really planning to buy Radeon HD 5970 but it would be a shame to get a PC Case which isn't even capable of keeping Radeon HD 5970 video card. I mentioned about HD 5970 because I fear that in the future, the next generation video cards could be longer than the current generation. Imagine, not being able to fit a longer Radeon HD 6870/ Radeon HD 7870 which might be as long as Radeon HD 5970 and risking to throw away the entire PC Case and buying a new one too early. So I was referring more to the future video card because I'm not going to be upgrade my PC Case in every year of course. I want to make sure that it is capable of keeping a longer video card(s) of the future (in case of upgrading video card). :ouch:

Maybe I'm wrong because future video cards might not even be longer and they might actually be shorter and more powerful and consuming lesser power once the technology is improved like having smaller 32nm/28nm GPU and etc...

Lately, I was looking at Coolermaster HAF 932 and HAF 933 and Storm Sniper. Many people are saying that Thermaltake was copying Coolermaster and Antec with their recent releases like Element S and Element V. Many said that Thermaltake Element S was copied from Coolermaster Storm Sniper while Thermaltake Element V is a rip off from HAF 932 and Antec 1200.

The only good cases from Thermaltake that I saw were the Armor+ series, Xaser VI, Speedo and V9 and Kandalf.

For the moment, I am leaning towards Coolermaster HAF 932/922 and Coolermaster Storm Sniper and Lian Li PC-A70F and Coolermaster 690 II Advanced and Thermaltake Speedo and Thermaltake Armor+ MX.

Anyway, with the system spec I posted above, should the Mid-tower be enough for me? Or should I better go with Full-tower??? :??:

And is the side fan really that useful??? :??:
GEE! I bought the Coolermaster HAF 932 in August 2008 when the case was first introduced. I still use it for my emergency back-up system. It is a huge beast. Ventilation, airflow, and cooling are excellent. It can easily accomodate extra large video cards. The case is wider than normal so it can easily accomodate those 160mm tall cpu heatsinks and still have a lot of room left over for the 200mm fan on the side panel.

From my own experience, the experiences of other veterans, and several technical reviews, a fan on the side panel can help a little bit but not as much as users expect. At the maxium I would not expect a temperature drop of more than 3C. Typically it will be a 2C drop or less. Although it is very very rare, temps may actually go up with a side panel fan. The only thing I guarantee is that individual results will vary.

Those are ya winners from among that list.

I like the 932 for it's installation features and 3 pin fan connectors.
I like the 1200 for it's cooling flexibility, air filters and aesthetics.

However, the 1200 fits the CP-850 PSU and that's the deal sealer.....and the newegg $244 combo price for both, tell me no more ! After all, how many PSU's are on the silentpcreview Editor's Choice List , get a 10.0 performance rating at jonnyguru.com and that you can get for even twice the $84 price of the CP-850 in the combo ($244 newegg combo price - $160 cost of 1200 case)


The 932 is the next choice w/ the Corsair HX850 but at a $75 premium, I can't recommend it while this deal lasts.

then again .....

The Antec Dark Fleet Series arrives next month:

The military style looks is a bit much at first glance but the matte black finish and the fact that ya can turn off the bling (LED's have off switches) works for me....like 1200 looks better but the feature set is impressive.

1. External Hot Swap 2.5 Drive Bay at top ...way cool
2. Still Fits CP-850 PSU.
3. 14 drive bays
4. SSD drive bay
5. Access doors over all drive bays give access to filters
5. HD Bays hot swappable.
7. 7 fan mounts, 5 fans w/ speed control.


As for the components with the new Intel CPU scheduled to drop March 16, I expect we'll see a lot of new MoBos not to mention the annual Intel price drops at the end of February. With fermi arriving that same month, prices are going to be shaken up quite a bit. Antec and Thermaltake are intro'ing new cases in march and everyone else at CES see,ms to have something about to op in the next 6 - 8 weeks. While I'm usually not an advocate of waiting for new tech since it's always changing and ya can never escape it, it seems that just too many moons are converging right now.

If ya decide not to wait if ya thinking 5870 and Xfire, I'd be concerned about bandwidth issues. The Asus P7P55 WS solves that issue with the NF200 and provides SAS but it doesn't have SATA II and USB 3 .... the board that "has it all" must be right around the corner. Alternately the X58 platform can provide SATA 3 / USB 3 / x16 x 16 PCI-E bandwidth ....no SAS but that less likely to matter.


Memory - Lowest CAS # ya can afford at DDR1500

CPU - Best ya can afford.

Sound Card - Stick w/ on board unless ya decide later that ya can't live with it.

HS - Something in the top 3 here:


TIM - Something near the top here:


GFX - Plug ya budget into here


get yaself a GTS 250 to hold ya off till 2-3 months after fermi drops then look at the May or June THG roundup and buy what tickles ya fancy while fitting in ya budget. At best, you'll get something hot we didn't know about today (from either side) ... at worst, you'll benefit from price drops. Save the 250 as a dedicated PhysX card or sell it off.
Jack - The Dark Fleet looks like total ventilation with all that perforated mesh. It also looks vaguely familiar.

BTW - You're getting a little excited. DDR 1500? I hope you actually meant DDR3 1600 memory. According to the link you posted that Antec CP-850 was not awarded a 10.0 at jonnyguru.com. That's okay. The hit was for functionality (proprietary vs standard atx) and aesthetics rather than performance and value.


The Lian Li PC-a77f


Need I say more? I will anyway!



"The power supply unit is at the bottom of the case. It can draw in cold air directly through the vent below the power supply unit. This cooler, fresh air will keep your PSU components more cool and stable and thus extend the PSU lifecycle."


"There is an opening on the motherboard tray, allow for user to change the CPU cooler without removing the motherboard." ~ easily my favorite feature. WHY DOESN'T EVERY CASE HAVE THIS?!


"The PC-A77F is a Full-tower case, which is ideal for the latest graphics cards in combination with the best thermal dynamics. All the internal installation can be done without tools, and is easily adjustable to optimize your hardware setup. Especially in the advent of adding in new graphics cards, equipped with 8 PCI slots, can hold three or more graphics cards, supports CrossfireX™ and 3-way SLI™."

That's right kiddies, it has 8 PCI slots meaning you could utilize 4 dual slot GPU cards should the need ever arise.

It will hold any card you throw at it with 14.5 inches worth of clearance for video cards.


"USB3.0 x 4 / e-SATA x1 / HD+AC97 Audio " Thats right kiddies, 4 USB 3.0 ports, did I mention that is case will last you for years?!

It has 3 120mm intaking front fans, 2 140mm exhausting top fans and 1 120mm exhausting rear fan. It will cool with the best of your picks and will surpass many, possibly all of them, when you factor in the use of aluminum. Look at Johnny's example, his Lancool cools as well as his HAF 932 which has more air flow.

Did I mention it was available in silver too?



$260 is nothing when you factor in:

a) You wont need to upgrade for years.

b) You get the only case on the market with USB 3.0 ports

c) You get elite top of the line cooling http://www.lian-li.com.tw/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=478&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=61&g=t

d) You get a HAND-BUILT and largely HANDCRAFTED AIRPLANE GRADE crafted aluminum case. http://www.lian-li.com.tw/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=478&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=61&g=q

e) You get an amount of refined styling and beauty that you wont get tired of like many do with the flashy cases like the Antec 900 and such.

f) You get all that amazing cooling and yet the case will be very quiet as all Lian-Li cases are known to be. http://www.lian-li.com.tw/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=478&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=61&g=s

g) You are already buying a kick ass PC, why not get an equally kick ass case?!

$260 sounds like a bargain to me. I would love to have the money to buy this case, and I already have an outstanding case, the Silverstone TJ07 which cost me $350. I would drop that $260 in a heart beat and may yet do so in the future!

Oh and to save you some money, drop the i7 860 and get an Xeon X3440. It is the same thing but a server chip and will drop into any P55 motherboard and give you all of the performance of an i7 860 for less, assuming you overclock. Oh and since it is a server chip, it is high binned meaning it may overclock better.


Dec 5, 2008

But the Lian Li cases does not have a side fan. How important is the side fan? Some people cared a lot about buying PC case that have a side fan and some people complained about side fan being noisy or vibrating the panel door which is annoying...

Also, where is the fan controller?

Isn't 3 120mm front fans are kinda overkill? 3 front fans might be useful if you install 3 Hard disks in 3 HDD Cages?

When is the Lian Li PC-a77f being released? That is not the newest PC case? Isn't it? The Lian Li PC-A70F and PC-A71F are newer...

Now, I shall reduce the PC Cases on my buying list to only like 7 which could be the winner to my choice:

Lian Li PC-A77F
Lian Li PC-A70F
Coolermaster HAF 932
Coolermaster HAF 922
Coolermaster Storm Sniper
Antec 1200
Thermaltake Armor+

Which of these could be the winner to my choice?

Lian Li PC-A77F and PC-A70F has more front fans than HAF 932 but HAF 932 has a large side fan and a larger rear fan than Lian Li PC-A77F/A70F...
It's quite simple. Fans mounted on a side panel do not produce miracles. Typically cpu temperatures may decrease 2 degrees Celsius at most. Although it is very very rare, fans on side panels might actually increase cpu temperatures by about 1 degree Celsius. It depends on the case ventilation, airflow, and cooling. For all practical purposes the difference is insignificant for the typical user or gamer. It might make a difference for a hardcore gamer into extreme overclocking going on a suicide mission to save the world from alien invaders.

I just posted about this twice in the past couple of days. Two weeks ago I did a test in response to the same question. I have a system in a Coolermaster HAF 932 case. I ran Prime 95 at 100% load with the large side panel fan running and with the fan disconnected. CPU temperature was a little less than 2 degrees Celsius lower with the side panel running. That's not much of a difference.

I also have a brand new in a Lian Li / Lancool Dragon Lord case that does not have a side panel fan. When I ran Prime 95 at 100% load the cpu temperature was almost identical to the HAF 932 with the side fan running.

I absolutely, positively guarantee individual results will vary.


Dec 5, 2008

Since you already have a Coolermaster HAF 932 then why did you spend your money on Lian Li Lancool Dragon Lord case? You were having problems with Coolermaster HAF 932?
I am not having any problems with my Coolermaster HAF 932. There is nothing wrong with the case.

I just built a brand new Intel Core i7 860 system. All brand new components except for the XFX Radeon HD 4770 video card. I bought two HAF 932 cases in August 2008 when it was first introduced. The pc in my HAF 932 is an AMD based system. I use it now as an emergency back-up system. The second HAF 932 was for a case mod that I sold.

I purchased my first pc in 1984. I have been upgrading and building ever since. I also build systems for other people. Over the years I have used a variety of cases.


Dec 5, 2008
I think that the problem with Thermaltake as many people mentioned is that sometimes Thermaltake uses cheap material like plastic for cases like Armor+ which only served for beauty just like the 2 flap doors. Some people might love them because the top reflective plastic and 2 flap doors would make the pc case look beautiful but some might argued that the 2 flap doors bothers them because they had to close them manually after opening the DVD Rom's slot and they would also question about the quality component that Thermaltake uses since the top part is cheap plastic and it could be easily damage or break because it is not resistance and the high price that Thermaltake wanted them to pay which makes the value bad. If they are going to spend like $170-$200 then they would not buy something that has plastic to it like 90% steel + 10% plastic product but they would rather get a 100% full steel, resistant pc case instead. It is like as if Thermaltake had glued the plastic on top of the Steel Case and that is why the plastic on the edge is not a handle because otherwise it could break off. So it looks like Thermaltake is caring too much about the look of their products like Armor+ PC Case which became part of their marketing key to sell their products but the problem is that not everyone cares about the beautiness of the PC case but they care more about the cooling performance instead. This is why I started to look at other models and the ones from other brands too.

I have nothing against Thermaltake brand or Thermaltake Armor+ PC Case and I have it on my buying list for almost 2 years until now I am deciding also to look at other alternatives. I've been delaying my PC rig build for almost 2 years because of Intel's mainstream Nehalem micro-architecture/P55 and DirectX 11 and due to 40nm yields issue of TSMC and 80+ Gold PSU.

At the meantime, I bought only the 5.1 channels speakers (Creative Gigaworks G550W) and an ASUS DVD-+RW Driver and I got a free Sound Card (Free Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Fatality Pro)... :)



I'll number it to make it easier.

1. Side fans are not important at all and I would strongly advice you not to use one because it doesn't help cool very much, but produces a lot of noise in your ear if you are not careful.

2. I believe it is on the top of the front face, but hidden beneath the removable front face.

3. Those 3 fans are putting cold air into your system, you can never have too much cooling. You can put 9 hard drives in there as well.

4. It is to be released at the end of feb. or early march for $260. It is the newest case by Lian Li, newer than the other ones you listed.

5. The Lian Li 77f has a better balance of intake and exhaust than the HAF 932 and the Lian Li 77f is made out of aluminum. The HAF 932 will provide about the same airflow as the Lian Li 77f, but the Lian Li's superior material and design should make it cool better, at least on par with the HAF 932.



Yeah I've been sitting on my 8800 GTS 512mbs for about 2 years and I just recently upgraded my 3+ year old E6750 to an i5 750. I still can't justify upgrading my GPUs, nor do I really have the money. I will likely wait until the 6xxx series comes out to see about upgrading. Nice to see someone else with patience, most people here gobble up the latest bling on instinct the second it comes out.

As for Thermaltake, yes you are right they are infamous when it comes to materials and quality. To be perfectly honest, I couldn't imagine having plastic on my PC case, aluminum is just so much nicer to look at and so much nicer to use. Then again, not everyone really cares about their case.

My case, the Silverstone TJ07:

Not nearly as beautiful as the PC-a77f, or many of Lian Li's recent products, but still great.


Dec 5, 2008

But the HAF 932 is a lot cheaper which could make it have a better value?

Coolermaster HAF 932 is like $160-$170 (if I'm correct) which is definitely cheaper than Lian Li PC-A77F...

Anyway, is the Lian Li PC-A77F better than something like Antec 1200? Does it offer a better airflow?

Would the PSU at the bottom of the case produces more heat and blowing the heat into the system? Some people argued that it would be better if the PSU is at the top...

I was also wondering about whether the bottom fans would be able to blow the air directly towards the video card since my PCI sound card Sound Blaster X-FI Fatality Pro might be blocking the air???

You are also right that Lian Li PC-A77F is new because I got confuse with the other model in the first page of Lian Li's full-tower case list website. Lian Li PC-A77F is actually on the second page of Lian Li's full-tower case list website.



It is good to ask questions, nice to see someone wanting to know what they are buying before buying it.

Again the number thing again.

1. This is a value judgement for you. That is like saying, hey the Nissan Altima costs a lot less than that Mustang Shelby GT. Well in this context, the PC-a77f will give as good if not better cooling performance. It comes with a lot of great features that have been explained already. It is made from better materials and will a much more mature, yet impressive styling. It will be MUCH easier to install components in, as the HAF 932 isn't the greatest in that department. The PC-a77f will give you all the features, cooling, and compatibility that you could need for a good 3-5+ years, even USB 3.0. Is this worth the price premium? That is up to you. Even for a high school student with a car payment, the extra $100 wouldn't ruin me, but that is me.

2. The PC-a77f will offer equal or better airflow than the 1200. Also, the 1200 isn't very deep and can be hard to install long video cards in.

3. 95%+ of all power supplies exhaust air outside of the case. A bottom mounted PSU allows the PSU to intake cool air, keeping it stable, and allows the case to have more top ventilation which is very important since heat rises.

4. Here is a basic diagram of how this set up will work:


As you can see, even the air blown from the bottom will rise to the top because the exhaust fans are on the top. This will allow the air to go over all the major components, including your video cards despite your sound card. This is the reason why side fans are not a good idea. They disrupt this natural flow of air and cause air currents to converge on one another, and just like with the winds on earth, this creates static air which doesn't move or only moves slowly. Since this air stays in place for a longer period of time it heats up (causing storms on earth) and can actually pass heat onto other components in the worst case scenario, in the best case scenario it won't do much at all.


Dec 5, 2008

I agree, it is not like you got to carry it to an LAN Party where people do gaming and you got to show off your PC Case to them for every week since these are heavy full-tower cases and they are not portable.

Most of the time, we look at the monitor than looking at the pc case and some people would leave their pc case underneath their desktop and putting the monitor on top of the desk so this is why I think that there is no point to show off its beauty that much because nobody is going to see it unless if they oftenly come into your room/computer room and see it themselve.

At the beginning, I was more like an old-school noob because I care much about beauty of the PC like having cathode ray lights or beautiful lights from CPU cooler or something like Crucial Ballistix Ram with lights on top and a beautiful PC Case regardless to its cooling performance but now, I think that performance is more important as well as spending on something that is good for bang for the buck.