This mid-tower case is ideal for building an ATX system that doesn't need extensive cooling or multiple graphics cards.
The metal used throughout is smart and minimal, and its side panels are coated with sound-absorbing material in order to reduce noise. The fans are also designed for low-noise, and their speed can be altered with a three-stage controller.
The hard disk cage is full of solid metal caddies, and it's removable in two stages – handy, as larger graphics cards may be blocked if the cage is left installed. This case supports water-cooling hardware, but there's not as much room as other models – the R5 is capable with pre-built liquid coolers, but proper bespoke loops with large radiators and reservoirs will be better accommodated elsewhere.
It doesn't quite have the chops for powerful high-end builds, but this is a smart, subtle and versatile tower for mid-range ATX rigs.
4. NZXT Manta
Its curved good looks impress, but this case isn't cheap
Type: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 245 x 450 x 426mm | Weight: 7.2kg | Features: Colour: Black; Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 2 x 3.5-inch, 3 x 2.5-inch; Fans Included: 2 x 120mm front, 1 x 120mm rear PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Curved steel panels, 280mm water-cooling radiator support
This mini-ITX enclosure stands apart from rivals thanks to its curved steel panels. The subtly arcing shape helps the Manta look different, but NZXT also says it has practical applications – chiefly, more room to store excess cables.
The Manta supports Mini-ITX motherboards, which come with pros and cons. They're able to handle the most powerful CPUs and graphics cards, but they can only accommodate one card and don't have the wealth of connectors found on ATX or micro-ATX boards. That makes them ideal for gaming or home machines that won't need many upgrades.
That said, the Manta does a fine job – it supports ATX power supplies and 280mm pre-built liquid-coolers, and has enough room for huge graphics cards and sizeable CPU heatsinks. It has ample room for storage, and includes several fans. It's not the smallest mini-ITX case, but it's one of the best-looking and most versatile.
5. Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX
Stunning, strong and with features that punch above its weight
Type: Micro-ATX | Dimensions: 230 x 400 x 450mm | Weight: 9kg | Features: Colour: Black/Grey/White; Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch, 2 x 2.5-inch, 1 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 1 x 200mm front, 1 x 140mm rear PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Fan hub, replacement power LEDs
The Phanteks Enthoo Evolv marks the mid-way point between taller towers and tiny mini-ITX enclosures. It's a good bit of the market to occupy: its conventional tower design means it still has ample features and space, but it's still smaller than full-size cases.
The Evolv's doors swing open to reveal a smart interior. Full-size PSUs and cables sit beneath a shroud that keeps the system tidy, and storage slides into a metal cage at the front. Cable-routing is simple and many panels pull away with quick-release mechanisms.
The aluminium looks fantastic and offers rock-solid build quality, and it's capable on the cooling front – this case comes with a 200mm front fan, and can handle modest liquid-cooling units and more conventional air-cooling hardware. It can even be used for bespoke liquid cooling, although more disassembly is required.
There's little wrong with the Evolv. It's more expensive than other micro-ATX cases, but it justifies that price by balancing a great range of features and laudable versatility with sturdy, good-looking design.
6. Lian-Li PC-V355B
A tiny aluminium chassis that offers surprisingly versatility
Type: Cube | Dimensions: 283 x 386 x 263mm | Weight: 3.7kg | Features: Colour: Black/Silver; Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX; Drive Bays: 3 x 3.5-inch, 1 x 2.5-inch, 1 x 5.25-inch; Fans Included: 1 x 120mm front PSU; Support: ATX Ports: 2 x USB 3, 2 x audio; Special Features: Slide-out motherboard tray
Cube cases are ideal for several scenarios: modest office machines, media systems that sit next to a TV, or even gaming. Lian-Li's PC-V355B is a smart-looking cube with the versatility to handle all of these situations.
It accepts micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, which makes it surprisingly versatile considering its diminutive dimensions. It looks good, too – a subtle box of sturdy brushed aluminium available in black or silver – although some might not like its lines and corners.
The fans are mounted on anti-vibration screws to cut down noise, and the motherboard tray can slide out to aid installation – a boon when so many small cases are so fiddly. The Lian-Li can handle a single SSD and three hard disks and it'll also fit reasonably large graphics cards.
There's enough space here to build a machine with the grunt to handle work and play with equal competence – and the Lian-Li won't take up room while doing it.