When you’re building a new PC it’s easy to focus all of your attention on grabbing the best graphics card, CPU, and motherboard. But let’s not forget about what holds it all together; the chassis. This is where all those expensive components have to live and—more importantly—breathe. For a lot of PC gamers, and PC builders, a full-size ATX case is the best option due to their generous size which allows for extra working room and plenty of space for fans and radiators. Though large cases aren’t as en vogue as they used to be, there’s still plenty to choose from, and here are my picks for the best full-size cases available today.
Money is No Object Super-Tower – Corsair Obsidian 1000D
Corsair’s all-new flagship “super tower” is the type of case that will only appeal to the most well-heeled, liquid-cooling fanatics due to its size, price, and features. At $500 it’s the most expensive case on this list, and for that chunk of change you get a tempered-glass clad monstrosity, capable of holding two builds simultaneously; one (E) ATX, and one mini-ITX, so you can stream and game using separate machines at the same time. Notable features include three tempered glass panels, slide-out radiator mounts on the top and sides, eighteen fan mounts and room for four 480mm radiators. A French Door storage compartment holds up to six 2.5″ drives, and there’s a built-in fan and lighting controller as well. It’s so massive it weighs 65 pounds, empty.
Best Customizable Full-Size Tower – Cooler Master Cosmos C700P
The Cooler Master Cosmos line of cases are all highly regarded, and the all-new C700P offers an extraordinary level of customization and features. Every single panel within the C700P is removable, so it’s possible to place your motherboard in a number of different configurations including inverted, or you can swap it to the other side of the case if you want access to the innards from either the left-or-right side. Since it uses tempered glass side panels you’re going to be showing off your gear, so there’s a sophisticated shroud system to easily cover up any ugly cables for a clean look. Plus, the RGB light bar on the top and bottom look pretty slick.
Another Great Full-Size Case Option – Be Quiet Dark Base Pro 900
When you’re buying a huge PC case, customization options are key. The Dark Base Pro 900 is another fully modular enclosure, and you can even remove the motherboard tray entirely so you can assemble most of the components outside of the chassis, then slide it in when it’s ready. The side panel features tempered glass as opposed to cheap acrylic, but keep in mind that this much glass is heavy; this big boy weighs in at a hefty 32 pounds. And it has a feature I wish more cases would adopt; there’s a Qi wireless charger built right into the top of the case for your smartphone.
Best Budget Full-Tower – NZXT Source 530
The term “budget full-tower case” can be a bit of an oxymoron, given the huge size and the pricy components you’ll likely stack inside. But NZXT’s Source 530 fits the bill as it’s massive and usually can be found pretty cheap – less than $100. It holds a boatload of hardware, including six 3.5″ drives, three 5.25″ drives, and there’s support for a 360mm radiator on top and a 240mm at the front. You can install up to nine fans, and all the hard drive cages are removable for better airflow as well.
Something a Little Different – Corsair Graphite 780T
Big cases mean lots of room, so you can climb in there and easily upgrade your rig with new components. Thankfully, the Graphite 780T from Corsair is not only super roomy, it’s also mercifully easy to open and close. The side panel opens up with a simple latch at the top, so one pull and you’re ready to swap parts. There’s six hard drive bays if you’re a video editor or photographer, and it even has optical drive bays for the really old school gamers. Water cooling options are abundant, and I’d say the Graphite 780T looks cool without being too flashy.
Matt Clark has been writing about technology, computer hardware, video games, and pop culture for a decade but he’s been nerding out about those things his entire life. When he’s not writing at his computer, you can find him working inside of it. Follow him on Twitter @clarkmatt.