If you are thinking about building a new PC for yourself, the first thing that should be of concern is the case. Obviously one of the more integral parts for a system, a case should be selected with peace of mind so you don’t have to worry about replacing it at least a few years down the line. If you are on a budget it can be an arduous task of selecting a decent chassis.
You might want to skimp out on your case and just pick up the cheapest one you can find, but you might regret that decision. You need a case that is well built and will not look out of place in your overall setup. With that being said, finding a case under $50 can be a tough task that is why this guide was created to help you with that. Let’s have a look at the best affordable cases you should be aware of.
1. Cougar MX330-G
- Great looks
- Relatively thinner than other cases
- PSU Shroud
- Mesh front panel
- Comes with a single fan
Form Factor: Mid-tower/ATX | Fan mounts: 5 | Storage Expansion Bays: 4 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 5.9kg
Cougar is a great brand for PC components and their products are usually built like a tank. Cougar MX330-G is the tempered glass variant for the MX330 and usually goes for $40-50. The overall design of the casing is quite impressive and is somewhat thinner than the other cases listed here. You get great features like full mesh front, dust filters, tempered glass side panel, and PSU shroud.
The I/O panel provides four USB ports, unlike most of the cases which provide only two of them. The cable management of the case is pretty impressive as well and you can easily hide the cables on the backside. There can be two fans installed at the front, two at the top and one fan at the rear; not the best but good enough for most builds. Moreover, this means that you won’t be able to install 360mm radiators in this case by any means. The case provides two 3.5″ bays and two 2.5″ bays, leading to a total of four expansion bays. As for the motherboard is concerned, you can install up to ATX motherboards while MX330-G itself is a mid-tower case.
Overall, this case provides a great value and is suitable for even high-end builds, as it provides a great performance along with sufficient features.
2. DEEPCOOL MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB
Best RGB Lighting
- Fantastic looks
- Tempered glass on both sides and front
- RGB can be synced with components from many companies
- Airflow not as good as those with mesh front
Form Factor: Mid-tower/ E-ATX | Fan mounts: 6 | Storage Expansion: 4 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 1 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button, LED button | Weight: 6.97 kg
Let’s just settle this straight out the gate that this is a really good looking case. DEEPCOOL MATREXX 55 ADD-RGB has tempered glass panels on both the front and the sides that look really great with LED fans. Moreover, the RGB strip at the front of the case looks extremely beautiful and gives a premium feel. The case supports RGB lighting from various manufacturers like ASUS AuraSync, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI MysticLights etc.
As for the compatibility of the case is concerned, the case supports even the E-ATX motherboards, so you can stop worrying about it. The cables can easily be hidden behind the PSU shroud, that is available only in the ADD-RGB version. There is space for six fans in the case, three at the front, two at the top, and one at the rear.
Overall, the thing this case brings to the spotlight is the aesthetics, which is why you should definitely check it out if you value aesthetics more than anything, although features-wise, the case feels better than most of the cases as well.
It supports ATX, MATX, and mini ITX motherboards. Storage expansion includes space for 2 hard drives and 1 SSD, though there is a mounting option for an SSD on the front above the PSU shroud. The front can fit three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans. There is also room for a 120mm fan on the rear.
3. Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
- I/O ports on the side
- Modular design
- Magnetic dust filters
- The dust filters limit the airflow somewhat
Form Factor: Mini-Tower/Micro-ATX | Fan mounts: 6 | Storage Expansion Bays: 3 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 3.7kg
Cooler Master is a high-end professional company which designs tons of cases covering a large range of prices. However, MasterBox Q300L is a budget case and provides a very modern design. First of all, the case is built in a very modular way, i.e. you can use the case both in the horizontal position and vertical position because the insides can be rotated easily. Moreover, the I/O panel can be fully positioned on any side of the case.
The front panel has 2 USB 3.0 ports and your audio jack for headsets and mics. It is a mini-tower case which supports both mini ITX and Micro ATX motherboards, although it provides more than enough expansion bays (5 bays). There can be installed six fans in the case, two at the front, two at the top, one at the bottom, and one at the rear of the case. A great feature of the case is that you get magnetic dust filters at the front, bottom, and the top which aids a lot in keeping the dust away.
Overall, it is a good case for simpler builds but the thing holding it back is that you can still get better airflow at this price point and the radiator support is not that great in this case.
4. Thermaltake Core V1 Cube
Small Form Factor
- Unique design
- Great small form factor
- Surprisingly amazing airflow
- Complex cable management
- Difficult components installation
Form Factor: Mini-ITX Cube | Fan mounts: 3 | Storage Expansion Bays: 4 | Transparent Side Panel: Semi (Mesh) | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 3.22kg
Last up on our list is a mini ITX case from Thermaltake. This is aptly named the V1 cube as it very much looks like a small cube case. This is a very tiny ITX case and the only decent affordable one. It has a mesh design with grills all around. It has a large 200mm fan on the front and you can use a 140mm radiator with that.
It can fit a graphics card up to 285mm which is very impressive for this small form factor. As for storage, it has two 2.5 inch drives and two 3.5 inch drives. Surprisingly this case has really good airflow and cooling. The build quality is pretty decent as well. Of course, this is not for beginner builders as this is a smaller case and a bit difficult to build in for newcomers. The cable management isn’t all that great either because of the limited space.
Overall, we will say that this case should only be bought if you want to do something adventurous and change the regular form factor of your system.
5. Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1
- Comes with three customizable trims for top and the bottom
- Dark Mirror front panel
- Not enough vents for airflow
- No fan-mount at the top
Form Factor: Mini-Tower/Micro-ATX | Fan mounts: 4 | Storage Expansion Bays: 3 | Transparent Side Panel: Yes | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio in/out, Power button, Reset button | Weight: 4.08kg
Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1 is a relatively new case and comes with quite a style. It has a dark mirrored front panel that really isn’t transparent but looks really great with LED fans. The side panel window is acrylic and very large, it also has good visibility so you can see the internals of your case. The red trim on this case looks really vibrant and this would look great in a black and red build. Unfortunately, this case seems to put form over function, as the airflow is quite bad due to small vents, comparing to competitors.
It supports micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards. Storage expansion includes space for two 3.5″ drives and one 2.5″ drive; not much but enough to support several TerraBytes of space. The front panel can fit three 120mm fans or two 140mm fans, while the rear can support a single fan. Surprisingly, there is no place to install any fan at the top, which is another reason for bad airflow. However, if you can increase your budget by a bit, you can go for the CM MasterBox MB511 RGB, which we reviewed a few weeks ago.
Overall, Cooler Master Masterbox Lite 3.1 is not so good when it comes to airflow, however, if your system is not that powerful and you want the top of the line looks, this case might hold a lot of value.
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