The PC Case is a seemingly unimportant part of the PC build in terms of performance and is actually overlooked quite a lot by novice builders. Most new builders, or even experienced ones sometimes, just pick a case that can hold their components and don’t give it much thought beyond that. However, it is proven that the chassis of your PC can sometimes impact performance quite significantly if you do not pay attention to how it is configured. Airflow is the paramount factor by which the chassis can impact your PC’s day-to-day performance.
But this does not mean that you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a PC case for it to have great airflow. We have seen even expensive cases fall flat in that department, while some cheaper offerings can deliver chart-topping numbers just because of their design. There are other factors too that contribute to what makes a case better than another one. The build quality, component support, included fans, and cable management features are all important and should be considered while making a purchase decision. Therefore it is important to know what you are getting when shopping for a PC case, especially if you are on a fairly tight budget like $70.
So here are the 5 best budget PC cases under $70 that deliver great airflow performance and have a solid assortment of features.
1. Phanteks Eclipse P400A
A Great Bang-for-the-Buck!
- Spacious Interior
- Front Mesh Panel
- Good Quality Included Fans
- Lots of Expansion Options
- Plain Uninteresting Look
Form Factor: Mid-Tower | Front Material: Mesh Panel | Side Material: Tempered Glass | Included Fans: 2x 120mm Black Fans | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
Phanteks is one of the best and most popular case manufacturers around, and their Eclipse series of cases has become a fan favorite among PC builders. The series aims to provide a premium product at a reasonable price that has all the essentials for a great case but eliminates any unnecessary bells and whistles in order to save costs. This trend carries over to the Phanteks Eclipse P400A which is one of the very best cases you can buy under $70.
The Phanteks Eclipse P400A is a mid-tower with excellent build quality and a host of great features. The case features a tempered glass side-panel on the left side, while the front is made of mesh in order to improve airflow. The case can support ATX, Micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards so you can equip the P400A however you want. Phanteks has also included 2 120mm black fans in the price which really helps improve the value proposition for this case.
The interior of the P400A is quite spacious with lots of room to work in. The case supports either a 240mm or a 360mm radiator on the front, with additional radiator mounting spots for a 280mm radiator as well. You can also equip the P400A with a 240mm radiator on the top and the rear also supports a 120mm radiator. This means that the P400A is quite versatile in terms of radiator-mounting options. Furthermore, the case supports an extensive array of storage devices with up to 6 HDDs and 8 SSDs across various mounting points. 2 HDD trays and 2 dedicated SSD brackets are included in the initial package.
The case also has great cable-management features with rubber grommets that cover the cutouts in the steel panel. These grommets are not even found on some $100 cases so it is clearly a great inclusion here. The rear space behind the motherboard tray is also quite adequate for cable management, so you should not have too much of a problem when managing your cables in this case. For accessibility, the front I/O includes 2x USB 3.0 ports, microphone, headphone, power button, reset switch, and a 3-speed fan controller.
All in all, the Phanteks P400A presents a pretty unbeatable value when priced at $69.99. The front mesh panel combined with the extensive radiator and storage drive support easily makes it a recommendation if you are looking for a versatile case under $70.
2. NZXT H510
Classic NZXT Design Language
- Minimalistic Design
- Impressive Build Quality
- Negative Pressure Airflow
- 2 Included Fans
- Minimal Radiator Support
Form Factor: Mid-Tower | Front Material: Solid Steel | Side Material: Tempered Glass | Included Fans: 2x 120mm Black Fans | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
The NZXT H510 is one of the most iconic cases that NZXT has ever produced. It was released as a replacement to the quite legendary S340 Elite that was loved by NZXT fans everywhere. The H-series has made a name for itself for bringing the most amazing aesthetics to the consumers, while also being versatile and having plenty of features that PC builders require, and the H510 is no different.
The NZXT H510 is the entry-level option in the H-series from NZXT and it is a mid-tower case with support for ATX, Micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards. The H510 features a tempered glass side-panel with quite a unique design, as well as a solid front panel that might be a little restrictive to direct airflow. However, due to the smart placement of the 2 included 120mm fans, the temperatures inside the case are quite impressive for a case with a closed front.
The H510 seems to be quite restrictive in terms of airflow, but testing by several reviewers and users has shown that it is not quite as bad as it seems to be. The H510 is primarily a negative-pressure optimized case, which means that it works best if the two fans are placed as exhausts (which they are from the factory) rather than intakes. This forces the air from the outside to make its way to the inside of the case via small gaps in the chassis due to negative pressure, and that leads to a significant drop in GPU temperatures. The CPU temperatures are not quite so impressive but that can be rectified by using a radiator. The NZXT H510 has support for a 240 or 280mm radiator in the front of the case, but unfortunately no 360mm radiator is supported.
Aesthetically, the H510 is quite amazing as it brings a minimalistic design with sleek lines and clean panels. The iconic NZXT cable management bar is also present in this case which helps to clean up the cable management of your build a little bit. The build quality of the case is also excellent, and there are multiple quality-of-life features as well on the case, such as the inclusion of a front USB-C port.
The H510 is one of the most iconic cases in NZXT’s lineup, and it certainly gets full marks for its unique design. If you are looking for a minimalistic case with a budget under $70, then the H510 is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
CoolerMaster does not have the best reputation in terms of case design and optimal airflow. They have many excellent cases such as the CM MB511 and the H500P Mesh but sometimes they deliver failures as well such as the original H500 and many of the MasterBox Lite cases. However, with the NR600, they delivered one of the best airflow-focused cases on the market right now, and it is quite affordable as well.
The CoolerMaster NR600 is quite an underrated case and many people are unaware that it even exists. It is a mid-tower case with a tempered glass side panel and a full mesh front panel, that has support for micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards. It is a little disappointing that this case does not support ATX motherboards, considering the fact that it is basically the same size as an NZXT H510. The decision of not including any fans is also a questionable decision from CoolerMaster, however that one can be understood due to the price point of this case.
The NR600 is an airflow-focused chassis and that is clear from the looks of the case. It has a full mesh front panel that allows maximum air to pass through, and it also has large ventilation holes towards the rear and the top of the case. The best course of action for someone looking to buy this case would be to spend a little bit extra on a 3-pack of simple non-RGB fans for efficient airflow. That should be possible since the listing price for this case is a hair under $60 at the time of writing.
The looks of the NR600 resemble the NZXT H510 quite a bit if we somehow ignore the fact that the NR600 has a mesh front panel. The shape of the tempered glass side panel is particularly similar to the H510, and so is the design of the power supply shroud. The case looks fine, although one wouldn’t classify it as classically beautiful, especially if you get the ODD version that supports an optical disk drive. The cable management room is also decent and multiple rubber grommets are provided for a clean, uninterrupted look from the front.
Overall, the NR600 is another great option if you are looking for a minimalistic, airflow-focused chassis well under $70. However, the case should ideally be bought with some fans in order to get the full advantage of the mesh front panel.
4. Fractal Design Focus G
Affordable Alternative from Fractal
- Front Mesh Panel
- 2 Included Fans
- Supports ODD
- Acrylic Side Panel
- Included Fans have only White LEDs
Form Factor: Mid-Tower | Front Material: Mesh Panel | Side Material: Acrylic | Included Fans: 2x 120mm White LED Fans | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
The Fractal Design Focus G is one of the more affordable entries in our roundup, as it can be seen regularly listed for around $60. Although the NR600 is also a $60 case, the Focus G already includes two 120mm fans that are preinstalled in the front of the case, so that makes it a better value than the NR600. However, there are some areas where the Focus G still falls a little short.
The Focus G is another mid-tower case with support for ATX, Micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards. The support for ATX motherboards is a nice feature at this price point, as many of the cases in this range only support the smaller form factors. There are two 120mm white LED fans that are pre-installed, however, they have fixed white lighting and that might not match with the design language of every build. The front of the case is a full mesh panel which is nice, but the side has an acrylic panel which is not the best material to make a transparent window.
The inclusion of the acrylic panel is a disappointment due to the fact that acrylic generally looks and feels worse than glass, and has a nasty tendency to scratch very easily. Still, the decision can be understood due to the case’s price and excellent value proposition. The inclusion of a mesh front panel is an excellent feature as already stated. The build quality of the case overall is solid inside, and the cable management space is also adequate.
Fractal Design is an amazing manufacturer with some great products and the Focus G is definitely one of them. This is an affordable alternative to the ones that are already mentioned and should be considered if you are on a fairly tight $60 budget for a case.
5. CoolerMaster MasterBox Q500L
A Barebones Cheaper Option
Form Factor: Mid-Tower | Front Material: Steel with Perforations | Side Material: Acrylic | Included Fans: None | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, mini-ITX
Another quirky offering from CoolerMaster is the MasterBox Q500L which is an ultra-budget casing meant to target the $50 price tag. The Q500L is a mid-tower case with support for ATX, Micro-ATX, and mini-ITX motherboards in a chassis that is quite small by mid-tower standards. It has a front steel panel with several perforations covered by a dust filter that should offer a little more airflow than a solid steel panel. The side panel is acrylic just like the aforementioned Focus G. Unlike the Focus G however, the Q500L does not come with any included fans.
The interior layout of the Q500L is also quite unique. Due to its small size, CoolerMaster designed it so that the power supply sits in the very front of the case in a vertical orientation, and the motherboard goes from the very top to the very bottom of the chassis. The PSU bracket can also be relocated to offer multiple mounting options. The interior space is already rather cramped, however, and building a PC in the Q500L might not be the most comfortable experience.
The Q500L also suffers from the problem of bad airflow, as its perforated steel panel struggles to allow adequate air into the chassis. This case should also be bought with a pack of fans to install, in order to improve the airflow situation a bit. Build quality of the case is also not the best, but that is to be expected at this ultra-budget price point. Still, the Q500L offers a unique, compact case at a very affordable price point and one that has most of the features that can be reasonably expected at this price point.
All in all, the Q500L is a barebones alternative to the ones that are listed above it. If your budget is capped at $50 for a case, then the Q500L makes sense, but you should invest in a pack of fans as soon as you get the chance.