Best & Worst PC Cases of 2021

Best & Worst PC Cases of 2021

This round-up of the best computer cases of 2021 compares the top options for gaming PCs, workstations, and more, including budget cases, quiet cases, & airflow cases for PC builds.
Sponsor: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII (Hero Dark on Amazon

This review of the best PC cases we’ve worked with in 2021 also includes the best previous year options that are still available, since cases don’t go bad. We’re looking at the top options for ATX, E-ATX, and some mini-ITX computer builds. If you’re building a new gaming computer or workstation, this list will help figure out the best case for thermals and airflow, noise levels, or build quality and convenience, among other factors. Just in time for Cyber Monday, too!

Grab a toolkit, modmat, shirt, or award crystal on the GN store! You get a quality item and support us at the same time:

Watch our Best CPU Coolers of 2021 round-up here:
Watch our Best CPUs of 2021 round-up here:

Check out our Case Review Playlist to see full reviews of these cases and more:

RELATED PRODUCTS [Affiliate Links]

Best Overall Case of 2021: Fractal Torrent on Amazon –
Review of the Fractal Torrent:

Best Mechanical Design of 2021: be quiet! Silent Base 802 on Amazon –
Review of the be quiet! Silent Base 802:

Runner-Up for Best Mechanical Design: Lian Li O11 Air Mini on Amazon –
Review of the O11 Air Mini:

Best Budget PC Gaming Case of 2021: Montech X3 Mesh on Amazon –
Review of the Montech X3 Mesh:

Best Small Form Factor (Mini-ITX) Cases to consider: Cooler Master NR200P on Amazon –
We haven’t worked with the SSUPD Meshlicious, but it is on our acquisition list:

Best Out-of-the-Box Thermals 2021: Fractal Torrent & Lian Li Lancool II Mesh
Lian Li Lancool II Mesh on Amazon:
Lian Li Lancool II Mesh review:

Best Noise Levels of 2021: Corsair 4000D Airflow & be quiet! Pure Base 500DX
Corsair 4000D Airflow on Amazon –
Corsair 4000D review:
be quiet! Pure Base 500DX on Amazon –
Pure Base 500DX review:

Best Noise-Normalized Thermals PC Case: Lian Li Lancool 215 on Amazon –
Lancool 215 Review:

Extreme Worst Case: NZXT H1 (Fire video:
Traditional Worst Case: MSI Sekira 500X (Review:

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00:00 – Best [and Worst] Cases of 2021
00:58 – Criteria, Tons of Data, & Scoring
02:53 – Best Overall Case of 2021
05:59 – Best Mechanical Design (& Runner-Up)
07:53 – Best Budget Case
09:50 – Best Small Form Factor Cases
11:48 – Best Out of the Box Thermals
13:21 – Best Noise Levels
15:13 – Best Noise-Normalized Thermals
16:28 – Extreme Worst Case
18:24 – Traditional Worst Case
19:26 – Worst PC Case Trend & Conclusion

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Host, Writing, Test Lead: Steve Burke
Writing, Testing: Patrick Lathan
Video: Keegan Gallick, Andrew Coleman


  1. SteelRat on May 14, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    Is there any good pc case without glass?

  2. Josip Matić on May 14, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    19:06 I’m dying of laughter

  3. andola jackson on May 14, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Mesh II p. 280mm arctic Push pull up front the aio in the cpu header, the pull fans double connected to the same mobo header bc they also make fans with fan headers on the back of the fan plug for up to 3 per mobo/header. Just nice for cablemanagement and using the fan/headers near the front i/o area. Connecting the pull fans header to the cpu headers fan curve. Then adding the p12 fans under the gpu on the psu shroud mounts. Best cost-effective solution i could find for cooling/noise. Got a 5 pack of p12 and p14 fans. Used the extra 120mm p12s to push pull a cm212 rgb. As i had 2 one for an RGB client budget build in a mb311 that was a push pull rgb cm fan 212. The p12 212 push pull in a friends HP envy that had one of those cheapo amd coolers that are worse than the wraith. TBH a budget range GREAT performing CPU cooler from a pure contact point and heat pipe thermal efficiency standpoint Add 2x p12 fans to it, and they wont ever have to CLIMB to high rpms like they would on a now ancient 212. These budget cpu air coolers are even 10-15$ cheaper than the 212 RGB. I remember my friend wanted to build in the H1 bc they said every other ITX chassis was too ugly otherwise they wouldnt ever have an ITX build…instead they put a x570 master and nhd-15 in a h510i even worse a single fan 2060. BC they were trying to wedge POWER into a specific budget. If only they spent 50$ more on their chassis and 50$ more on their gpu for a better cooling option or a 2 fan 2070. Now they dont want to get a bigger cpu until they get a new chassis..and WONT bc they cant get a gpu upgrade either to justify the "move". I mean its not like they have a huge duel load in a work load based scenario. Just a hot gpu XD. I guess they just really liked the NZXT aesthetic. At the expense of their 2060 running like a heavily OC 1660ti on a flagship AIB….at even worse thermals on their 2060.

  4. 99KINGZ on May 14, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Test HAF 700 Evo against HAF X with 3080ti FE and 5950x with Noctua cooler. Plz also run second test with additional GPU installed (PhysX) just to see differences in temps having 2 GPUs.

  5. Lord Adz on May 14, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    Best time of year :3

  6. billyhatcher643 on May 14, 2022 at 8:03 pm

    nzxt did fix their h1 mini itx case i still like the nzxt h1 case

  7. Ahmed Nofal on May 14, 2022 at 8:10 pm


  8. Dan on May 14, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks guys for all your work!

  9. 99KINGZ on May 14, 2022 at 8:13 pm

    why HAF X is not on the chart

  10. HeyZeusWasaComE. on May 14, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    Glad you put this video out. Only watching it now but I need a case to replace my damaged Define R5. Quality content as always.

    Edit. Fractal Torrent it is.

  11. Yusuf T-Deen on May 14, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    8:52 The Montech X3 Mesh is a cheap-ass case with cheap-ass parts, but not so cheap-ass that it becomes WEAK-ass, which is a different category.

    This kind of succulent and highbrow humour is what keeps me coming back.

  12. JaytB on May 14, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    at 3:52 the reflection shows the camera man poking his nose.

  13. Nick Taylor IV on May 14, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    I’m sitting here watching this with a chuckle here and there, then I look at the other end of my desk at my Cooler Master HAF EVO Borg Cube sitting there with two RBG fans side by side looking at me with it’s robotic grin… We Are Borg! 🤖

  14. HughMungus on May 14, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    It’s important to note that MOST cases come with ZERO fans or very shitty fans

    You guys said the fractal torrent is expensive but it’s actually not at all

    The 2 front fans are 30$ a piece and the bottom 3 are 20$ a piece if you buy em brand new from Newegg

    so you get 100$ in fans in a 180$ case

    Meaning it’s the BEST value of all the cases and it’s the case with some of the best performance

  15. Christopher Campbell on May 14, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Best commercial I’ve seen. When are we going to see a super bowl slot?

  16. Eli Percival on May 14, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    lol at the person picking their nose while shooting the fractal case and showing himself in a reflection from the glass on the back of the case

  17. Huck Finn on May 14, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Always drop by here to see what Steve has to say about stuff. Getting the theory sorted out for a first-time build, based on a Z690 mobo. Strangely, everything is easy to pick, except the case… thanks for this one.

  18. Gamers Nexus on May 14, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    There’s a lot of… FIRE in this one. Full review links above if you’re interested in more depth for any of these!
    Grab a toolkit, modmat, shirt, or award crystal on the GN store! You get a quality item and support us at the same time:
    Watch our Best CPU Coolers of 2021 round-up here:
    Watch our Best CPUs of 2021 round-up here:

  19. Arjuna on May 14, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    would be nice to do normalized tests with just normal Noctua fans in each of the cases.
    Let’s be real, we will all replace the stock fans anyway

  20. Gregg Roberts on May 14, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    I didn’t like that fractal because I have all in one cpu watercooler.

  21. Lance Leader on May 14, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    I bought the wrong Lian Li Lancool II Mesh ..

  22. Swampert Tube on May 14, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    I want to get a new case, but I still use a disc drive. Commenting this before I watch the video. Here’s to hoping at least one of the best of cases has it.

  23. josh dignam on May 14, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    x3 case literally doesnt exist anywhere online

  24. dhuffu on May 14, 2022 at 8:25 pm

    Have noticed nzxt customer service is beyond shit tbh

  25. Fox McCloud on May 14, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    I’d be really great if you could publish the full database/charts of all the cases; having to compare videos from 3 years ago to videos of today and hope that the case you’re wanting to compare is in both of them is inefficient and un-ideal; it’d also be cool to see how well flagship cases of yesteryear (like the HAF-X) stack up against the current ranking of things without requesting you do yet another review of it.

  26. Duy Anh Le on May 14, 2022 at 8:30 pm

    10:52 I thought you weren’t supposed to have the water block below your pump.

  27. AdmLancel on May 14, 2022 at 8:31 pm

    Many times, I have heard about 12900Ks and RTX 3090s thermal throttling under stress tests. I assembled a computer with both, and used these reviews on CPU coolers and cases to select the Fractal Torrent and Noctua NH-D15. I’m chuffed to say that a full bore stress test of the i9-12900K and RTX 3090 FE resulted in no thermal throttling on a fully air cooled solution at stock settings, and so I have to say, with no sarcasm…

    Thanks, Steve.

  28. Wyatt Johnson on May 14, 2022 at 8:34 pm

    I was hoping to find the motherboard one. I might be blind… But these have helped my update rebuild. Returning a few things and ordering replacements.

  29. Gen X on May 14, 2022 at 8:36 pm

    Do you measure the other temps like HDD, Motherboard, SSD’s and PSU – I mean I would never put a PSU at the top of a case with a high end CPU/GPU 😱. And yes Meshalicous is a stupid name for a cake I mean case 🤣🤣

  30. BRETT on May 14, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    time to revisit this in 2022. is there a new king ?

  31. Helman Frow on May 14, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Can someone recommend a case to pair with the Liquid Freezer II – 420? My goal is adequate cooling at low noise levels.

  32. Brandon Kilian on May 14, 2022 at 8:38 pm

    I guess I’ll be holding onto my case from 2012… not a fan of tempered glass. It’s a shame nobody makes a decent flowing case like they used to.

  33. FirstName LastName on May 14, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Wouldn’t you just hate to buy a case, then come to Gamers Nexus to check out what they think of it, and find out that it got a "worst case" award! Oh the shame…

  34. Avius L on May 14, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    I personally love the design of the Fractal Design Torrent RGB. But EVERYONE is complaining about the fans make lots of noise and overall just aren’t good quality. What are peoples opinions of this?

  35. Caley McKibbin on May 14, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Montech X3 is not available anywhere so this value award is now useless.

  36. Lord Adz on May 14, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    Which one is the best "case" scenario

  37. richard coleman on May 14, 2022 at 8:45 pm

    Nice rundown. Do you have any suggestions for a *best* case that doesn’t have any transparent windows? thanks.

  38. Wolverine607 on May 14, 2022 at 8:46 pm

    Just a question and to confirm what would make sense. Obviously putting foam on a door to cover fans impedes and restricts airflow even if it helps reduce minor noises like coil whine and vibrations and even some fan noise.

    But its a good thing to have foa on side panel and top cover assuming no fans nor exhausts in those areas as it will reduce noise without impeding front to back airflow? But of course putting foam or a filter in front of a fan will impede airflow. Like the doors on Be Quiet cases that have foam and depend on side small grills to get air in.

    I like Be Quiet cases, just wish they had one with PSU mount in rear part of case so bottom of case would be open for better GPU cooling. And go figure they have not updated Dark Base Pro 900. Still only minor updates and has optical drive bays which they should do away with and make an updated version with side mounted PSU and 3 140mm or bigger fans and at least one exhaust 140mm or bigger fan with a mesh front panel and foam dampened side panel and top of case.

  39. Drunk nSailr on May 14, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    Got myself the Fractal Design Torrent, after considering your recommendation. Haven’t finished the build yet, but I guess a 360 radiator in the front is gonna keep my 5900X nicely chilled (currently got a 280, which does perfectly fine) and my 3080Ti is gonna be nicely chilled by the 3 140mm fans at the bottom (although I switched out the 3 fans for the Aspect RGB fans).

  40. based lord on May 14, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    So I really need to upgrade my case, I have a very simple build only rocking an i5 8600 and a EVGA 3060. However, there are so many great cases out there, I want a full size case so I can upgrade and just keep adding more and more in the near future. I really like the o11 dynamic full size, cause I would love to learn how to make a custom water loop. I’m okay with a mid size tower but I really am leaning towards a full. However since the o11 comes with nothing in it as far as fans go, I dont like how I would have to buy a fan controller/header for all the fans I’m going to need to put in it. I like how corsair comes with really good ones

  41. Philip Lucas on May 14, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    Great info! I was going to buy my daughter the Fractal Torrent case as her first build and it’s good to know about the history there. Glad that Fractal stepped up to the plate quickly and fixed the issue for all items. I bought a Define 7 XL case a year ago or so and absolutely loved it. there was an issue with one of the case fan wires that got caught between the frame and fan chassis and they fixed it quickly no questions asked. Great company!

  42. Rick 3037 on May 14, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    i dont hold any case maker at my stained as no one has made a case that comes close to my stained when people stop being gay and dumb and make something so it works 100% and not just look good something that a woman would do and now 90% are a man acting like a woman saying look look its nice right so gay AIR FLOW IS LESS AS TO MAKE A CASE LOOK GOOD

  43. Brzozx on May 14, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    Which one should i choose for aio 360 and best thermal and noise level ? i consider p500a and corsair 5000d airflow ?

  44. EternalSlushy on May 14, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    Just settled on the Fractal Mesh 2 XL Dark

  45. Rick 3037 on May 14, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    but i can say all of your shit case that you have here the corsair 540 is better them all of them

  46. Black Mage on May 14, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Considering a new case and came back to this video again after viewing it a few months ago. If only I can "like" this video twice.

  47. Картограф on May 14, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Alright so I bought Lian Li 215. I plugged the fans into the MB. On Asrock B450M silent mode the fans are absolutely silent (zero noise). But Gigabyte X570S silent mode spins them faster or something, they are very silent but not noiseless. The case is good, as long as you spend time tuning it.

  48. Matt B on May 14, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Man I don’t really like the looks of any of them..

  49. FlyBaby on May 14, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    I just rehomed an old Haswell PC into the Cooler Master nr200p and it was really good to deal with since all of the panels are easily removed without tools and SSDs can be installed without tools. I put a huge 140mm air cooler (the reason for rehoming the PC) and it fit. As Steve says, it wasn’t a complete pain to build in unlike the tiny aluminum 1 cubic foot cube this PC was originally built in that had 4 x 40mm fans in it. Gaming required closed headphones in the past and got pretty toasty.