Keeping your hardware cool (whether it's a high-end system with one of the best graphics cards or just a basic PC with a cheap CPU) and noise levels as low as possible is paramount to good system performance and your own peace of mind. A mass of variables affect it, from the number of included fans (and total fan mount locations), to sound dampening material and overall shape and design, the list is long.
Choose the best PC case for you and it’ll serve you well through multiple builds, plus save some hard-earned cash in the long-run. Cooling is key, especially in small cases or with lots of components.
Airflow is important in choosing the best PC case, especially when it comes to high-end components in tight spaces. Check our cooler reviews for our cooling test results before buying, and remember that cases with tempered-glass fronts and tops often restrict airflow and may require additional fans.
Unless you don’t care about aesthetics at all and are going to shove your new system far under your desk, it's likely to spend lots of time in your peripheral vision. But after that, find something that appeals to you visually, whether that be a glass-enclosed rainbow of RGB LEDs, or a simple black box with smooth lines and lots of top-mounted USB ports.
A dual-layout (open or extra storage) interior, vented top panel, dedicated water cooling fill port under the top filter, and a Nexus+ 2 PWM fan hub add to the Define 7's extremely solid construction and top-notch fit/finish making it a sure hit with performance enthusiasts. If you're looking for top-notch performance with a strong feature set, the Fractal Design Define 7 is worth the money.
Loan Li Fanciful II Mesh (Image credit: Tom's Hardware) Type: Mid Tower ATX | Motherboard Support: Minority, Micro-ATX, ATX | Card Length Supported: 15.1 inches (384 mm) | Storage Support: (4) 2.5-inch (3) 3.5-inch | Included Fans: (2) 140 mm, (1) 120 mm If you’re in the market for a no-fuss, built-like-a-tank, high-performance, competitively priced PC case and don’t mind this model’s somewhat boring appearance, we can do nothing other than recommend the Loan Li Fanciful II Mesh.
Aside from being a great performing case, the Fanciful II Mesh is also a dream to work in and offers unparalleled flexibility. The case is heavy, but feels extremely solid and is clearly meant to last.
Its mesh front panel also lends the chassis to a highly airflow-optimized design. We would still recommend adding at least one fan to blow air onto the GPU if you can spare the expense, but it’s worth noting that our test bed with the i9-9900K and the 2070 Super is far beyond what most shoppers in this segment would throw at this case, and the P300A’s single fan still managed to keep temperatures in check.
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware) Best Case for High-End Rigs and Workstations Fractal offers a thoughtful, versatile design aimed at ease-of-use, and delivers a very pleasant and enjoyable building experience with the Testify 2.
Whether you use this case as a system where you just want to deliver tons of airflow and room for expansion, a workstation with tons of hard drives, a server, or high-end custom liquid cooling, the Testify 2 will find a way to accommodate your build. For that, along with thermal and acoustic performance that is in-line with what we expect from a mesh front, it earns a rare five-star rating.
The Testify 2 doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to case design, instead gently chiseling away at it to refine the experience. Excellent performance, good-looking design, included RGB and fan control, and competitive price tag come together to make the H400i an excellent choice for MicroATX builders.
The case gets a little noisy with fans running at top speed, and there’s no USB-C ports on the front panel. But if those shortcomings sound reasonable to you and your motherboard is smaller than full-size ATX, this case should be on your short list.
The Silence 400 offers these, plus a hidden front panel device bay and adequate dust filtration, along with a classic look. Despite its slightly higher-than-average temperatures, the case's exceptionally reduced noise gave it a great performance balance that could be perfect for your low-noise environment.
With a base that's under 7.5-inches square and a height of just over 15 inches, the H from NEXT packs a lot of hardware into an incredibly small footprint. Concerns over its incredibly large price are mostly addressed via its inclusion of NEXT's 650w, 80+ Gold SFX modular power supply and built-in 140 mm AIO liquid cooling system.
Those custom fit components leave builders free to assemble their machines without the need to purchase custom-length cables, as may have otherwise been required to fit so much hardware into so small a space. With support for both AM4 and LGA 1151 processors plus graphics cards up to 12" long, limitations are primarily left to your imagination.
Put a great deal of thought into the design of this chassis’ filtration system. Gaining access to filters requires removing the front panel, but even though the front and bottom filters are extremely long, maintenance and cleaning is a snap.
Planters’ Entries Pro II is a unique chassis, offering the most seamless dual-system support we’ve ever seen. And its new fabric mesh front looks really great, especially when you get close to the case.
Thermally and acoustically, the Entries Pro II also performs phenomenally well. Of course, the mesh does let more noise out than a closed-front case would, but if you’re careful in your component selection and only pick quiet parts, it should all remain very tolerable.
Along with its beautiful hardware design, OP-Z uses your iOS devices as a display (among other things) and plays nice with your Mac too. Much like the OP-1 before it, OP-Z continues with TE’s focus on quirky, but powerful little standalone music making devices.
It includes a host of built-in virtual instruments and samplers as well as the ability to add your own sounds to the mix. All of which can be sequenced using some amazing Pocket Operator style punch-in effects, extremely versatile pattern settings and more.
This thing works as a portable standalone device or paired via Bluetooth with an iPhone or iPad. The iOS OP-Z app provides the system’s display as well as a series of sound editors, project management tools, photo/3D video hubs, MIDI configurations and more.
2 octave musical keyboard 51 mechanical keys in total Pressure sensitive pitch bend 4 x multipurpose color coded encoders It feels like paper to the touch and I love it (IEF 1022 PARA + 50%glass fiber mixture during injection molding.).
While you can get some cool stuff out of this thing, don’t expect a full synth panel of controls for each of the 8 instrument tracks. Having said all that, OP-Z plays nice with OP-1, so you can bring sounds over and there are ways to add your own drums and samples on to the machine with relative ease.
However, with a series of Step Components that can be applied on a track-by-track or full song basis, things get very interesting. That include everything from filter sweeps and some wild randomization possibilities right to glitchy madness. All of which can be sequenced on top of your basic parts to create everything from interesting alternate patterns to evolving ambiance and well, a lot more.
Those sometimes insanely complicated glitch-style effects all of a sudden become musical in their implementation by way of being able to perform them just like a typical bass line or melody. Whether you’re just creating interesting nuances in your next pop song, the backing track for the next Them Yoke solo album, or DJing a minimalist electron rave, OP-Z can handle it.
You’ll also find customizable CC messages that you can use to control the various contextual rotary disc encoder settings (filters, sound parameters, FX sends and more). You can even use the OP-Z keyboard to control your iPhone’s camera shutter and then store each shot on said key for sequencing.
There are a good amounts of visual effects (color changes, timing related FX, etc.) For the record, I have not been able to test out the lighting rig sequencing or the 3D video effects (outside the included demo projects).
I however, do not have regular access to DMX lighting rigs and do not have a buddy that makes Unity 3D animations (yet? TE has included some excellent little cheat sheets in the form of physical paper overlays.
In the end, I would have to say this is another big win for the design firm meets synth company that is Teenage Engineering. It has always set out to create unique instruments while mostly ignoring the trends of the bigger corporations in the space.
Whether it’s the tiny form factor or happy sound palette limitations, I’m not sure, but this little gadget makes me want to get creative in a way most other comparable products do not. There’s a mini touch-sensitive pitch bender button, you can turn the whole thing into a live microphone just by lifting it up to your mouth.
Due to its quantized (if you want), sequencer based song creation, I would argue that it is infinitely better suited to live (or not) electronic music than the venerable OP-1 (now shipping again!). While its sound design capabilities are certainly less detailed than OP-1, if you had to choose one or the other, I would certainly rather OP-Z’s organized, sequencer-based workflow over OP-1’s virtual tape machine any day.
OP-1 will always remain part of my sound design palette, but OP-Z just seems to fall a little less on the overly indulgent side of things due to its more practical infrastructure.