Only the best airflow PC case will solve all the heat dissipation issues you face. The best case for airflow purposes will be different from the case for water cooling since the two types of cases serve different purposes. A lot of people have been looking to upgrade their rigs with the recent announcement of Nvidia’s RTX 3000 lineup of GPUs. While their performance metrics remain to be seen, one thing is for certain that you should be taking a look at your current lineup if you want to upgrade. Though the RTX 3000 has a unique and different design that is intended for better airflow and cooling, your case can also be a limiting factor as it must determine how much air will be going into the guts of your PC.
A good PC case takes into account the size of your components and therefore, becomes ideal for maximum airflow so the temperatures are kept at bay. Along with that, it’s also a good idea to have a case big enough to have room for upgrades in the future without you having to change everything up. Adding in more high CFM fans can’t always be the solution for several reasons.
Therefore, your first choice must be choosing a case designed in a way that not only has enough space for maximum airflow but is designed to improve upon that. Take a look at our selection of cool PC cases that will keep your components cool as well.
The Best PC Case For Airflow – Our Picks
|1||Fractal Design Meshify C||Best Overall PC Case For Airflow|| |
|2||Phanteks P400A||Best Looking PC Case For Airflow|| |
|3||Cooler Master NR600||Best Value PC Case For Airflow|| |
|4||Cooler Master Cosmos C700M||Best Large PC Case For Airflow|| |
|5||NZXT H1||Best Compact PC Case For Airflow|| |
|Product Name||Fractal Design Meshify C|
|Award||Best Overall PC Case For Airflow|
|Product Name||Phanteks P400A|
|Award||Best Looking PC Case For Airflow|
|Product Name||Cooler Master NR600|
|Award||Best Value PC Case For Airflow|
|Product Name||Cooler Master Cosmos C700M|
|Award||Best Large PC Case For Airflow|
|Product Name||NZXT H1|
|Award||Best Compact PC Case For Airflow|
Last Update on 2022-01-18 at 13:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
With many PC cases in the market ranging from some overly enthusiastic executions to simple but very effective ones, there are many at your disposal. Having good airflow minimizes system temperatures and dust build-up further ensuring longevity to concerned components. Our detailed guide on how to optimize your airflow can also help you maintain the best airflow conditions in your case. This list is going to help you with that and help you choose the best airflow PC case for your PC build.
1. Fractal Design Meshify C
Best Overall PC Case For Airflow
- Mesh Design
- Excellent Airflow
- Easy To Clean Filters
- Spacious Chassis
- Easy To Work In
- No RGB Lights
- Relatively Expensive
Fan Mounts: 7 | Storage Options: 5 | I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Audio I/O, Power button, Reset button | Tempered Glass: Yes
PC cases offer a wide range of benefits. Some excel at one more than the other and that can be seen in cases where a very “gaming-looking” case is designed that offers the aesthetics but doesn’t really have that real estate to keep the airflow business strong. Fractal Design Meshify C is a prime example of the opposite of that. A case that not only has a terrific airflow design but also looks that speak up gaming to you.
Fractal Design Meshify C features an all-black design which is not really something we haven’t seen before. In fact, the all-black design helps it blend in with most types of gaming setups. On the other hand, we have been seeing an increase in the preference for white cases so you may want to look past this if that’s what you’re after. The Fractal Design Meshify C is a compact and well-designed case that does not shy away from being a robust case either. We have also reviewed the Fractal Design Meshify 2, so if you want to take an in-depth look at that case, check out our Fractal Design Meshify 2 review.
On the side, there is a tempered glass panel which is really the norm these days. There is also a variant with a solid panel as well, should you want to go for that. The angular mesh on the front with the filter is not only easy to clean but also maximizes airflow. The Fractal Design Meshify C comes with two 120mm fans installed that make for even better cooling.
The Fractal Design Meshify C comes with additional benefits thanks to the space that you get with this case. There are 5 storage options (3 SSD and 2 HDD). With the RTX 3000 release, many are worried about the size of that GPU as some cases may not be able to house it properly. That is not the case with this as it has a maximum GPU length of 315mm. Even then, you’ll have room for additional fans or water cooling. There is only a minor downside to the Fractal Design Meshify C and that is that it comes without RGB lights. You may need to get a separate RGB strip for this case however, the Fractal Design Meshify C checks all the right boxes including price.
Alternative Roundup: Budget PC Cases Under $70
When looking for a PC case with the best airflow, there are many options that you can consider. However, few of them can give you the best of the best while still boasting a relatively reasonable price. Fractal Design Meshify C is one of them. Due to the aforementioned reasons, we think that the Fractal Design Meshify C is the best overall PC case for airflow. With just very few setbacks that some may very easily be able to look past, the Fractal Design Meshify C is a future-proof investment and a solid PC case.
2. Phanteks P400A
Best Looking PC Case For Airflow
- Support For E-ATX Motherboards
- 3 Pre-installed Fans
- Solid Build Quality
- Excellent Airflow
- RGB Lighting
- Relatively Expensive
- Front Fans Might Be Loud
Fan Mounts: 7 | Storage Options: 8 | I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Audio I/O, Power button, Reset button, RGB button, Fan speed button | Tempered Glass: Yes
Phanteks is a name synonymous with products that are responsible for cooling your PC. They’ve put out many fans that cover a wide variety of requirements that are demanded by the users. For the second-best airflow cooler on our list, we have the Phanteks P400A. A case with a simple design but still an elegant and very efficiently designed one. It might also be the best looking PC case for airflow on our list.
Helpful Roundup: Budget PC Cases Under $50
The Phanteks P400A is an ATX mid-tower sized case for your PC. It is available in three different variants, one is in black without RGB, the other is black with RGB fans and the last one is in white with RGB fans. The Phanteks P400A is a big case and that is evident from its 470mm x 465mm. On the front is a full metal mesh and behind it are three 120mm fans. The controls and buttons are situated on the top and that is where you can find additional USB ports as well. If you have an RGB variant, you can also control the lighting effects, etc using the buttons found at the top.
There is plenty of space in the Phanteks P400A for you to house any upgrades, making this case a future-proof investment. You can install an E-ATX motherboard as well and the Phanteks P400A has space for two HDDs and two SSDs along with 4 optical drives. This case also has a bracket and mounts for the GPU and HDD which makes it easy to install them. On the top panel, the mesh also has a magnetic filter that captures the dust particles and filters the air that goes in the case. This filter is quite easy to clean as well so that’s a bonus too. On a related note, you might also be interested in our picks for the tempered glass cases as well.
The Phanteks P400A has competitions that have the same price tag. However, this case does many things really well which makes it an excellent choice for a PC case that has efficient airflow. With a reasonable price tag and definitely a smart investment for any future upgrades you might want for your PC, the Phanteks P400A is a great PC case to have that will ensure that your PC has all the air it needs.
3. Cooler Master NR600
Best Value PC Case For Airflow
- Solid Build Quality
- Minimalistic Design
- Mesh Panels
- Design Resembles Iconic NZXT Cases
- Few Fan Mounts
- Only 2 Stock Fans Included
- No RGB Lighting
Fan Mounts: 4 | Storage Options: 9 | I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Audio I/O, Power button, Reset button | Tempered Glass: Yes
It’s hard to talk about products like PC cases and not bring up Cooler Master‘s name. They’re very well versed in this category and have a record of great products in their lineup to prove it. For the third best airflow PC case in this list, we have Cooler Master’s NR600, a budget case pick for you all. It is not exactly a unique PC case, but its still a really good one. You can also check out our Cooler Master MB511 review if you want to get a general idea about Cooler Master’s design philosophy.
The Cooler Master NR600 PC case bears a design that is honestly not something we haven’t seen before. It’s a tried and tested design that has worked for many cases in the past and works for NR600 now. An all-black casing with steel is primarily used for the build. On the front is a mesh metal panel with support for three fans behind it. The mesh helps in bringing in only the clean air which is then sucked in by the fans. The top also features a mesh plate with a filter that you can remove for cleaning purposes. The ports are situated on the top and are there for easy access.
There is enough space in the Cooler Master NR600 for you to put in any GPU that you might want. Even then, the Cooler Master NR600 case ends up with ample space for future upgrades. The front and back also have space and support for fans and radiators 120/140 and 240mm form factors. It can fit in ATX form factor motherboards quite easily. There is a lack of RGB lighting with the Cooler Master NR600 and the fans on the front feel like they have very odd vibrations. When that happens, the noise of the fans can get a little annoying, so it might not be the most silent PC case out there. If the plain black design is not for you, you might be interested in our picks for the best white PC cases.
The Cooler Master NR600 is the dream PC case for budget builders out there. With a friendly price tag, you get the benefit of just about everything a PC case must-have. Along with all of that, the design makes for efficient cooling and the top has a dual-headphone jack for both audio and microphone. The NR600 is very easy to appreciate and get behind, making it a great PC case. Due to its excellent price-to-performance ratio, we think that the NR600 is the best value PC case for airflow on our list.
4. Cooler Master Cosmos C700M
Best Large PC Case For Airflow
- Great Looks
- Sturdy Build Quality
- Huge Interior Room
- Plenty Of Front I/O
- Overkill For Many People
- No Mesh Panels Or Filters
- Expensive Price
Fan Mounts: 9 | Storage Options: 5 | I/O Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1, Audio I/O, Power button, Reset button | Tempered Glass: Yes
Going back down to the fourth-best airflow PC case in our list, we have Cooler Master’s name coming up again. The Cooler Master Cosmos C700M is what you’d think gaming PCs would look like in the ’90s. With a very “gamey” look about it, the Cosmos C700M makes its presence known with its flashy looks and different design. Its spacious interior labels it as the best large PC case for airflow on our list. If you are interested in more large-sized cases, check out our picks for the best full-tower PC cases as well.
The Cooler Master Cosmos C700M has a really great look with handle-like probes on the top and vertical RGB strips at the front and bottom. The side of the Cosmos C700M has a tempered glass panel that curves around and can be opened up easily. The glass is not screwed in and is held by hinges that open up, kind of like how a door would. On the front top are where the buttons and ports are which include, 4 USB ports, a USB 3.1 port, a headphone, and a microphone port along with the traditional reset and power buttons. The look, build, and overall efficiency of the Cosmos C700M is really something worth applauding. It is built like a dual PC case, but it is in fact not quite one.
Along with all of that, the Cosmos C700M has a lot of real estate in it. It can house even the widest of PC components. It can support motherboards of up to E-ATX form factor and still have enough room for more. Even though there is space inside, there are no mesh panels that can support efficient airflow. Despite having a very aesthetic look, there are some quirks. The price it boasts is quite high and may feel overkill for just a PC case.
Related Read: Best Open-Air PC Cases
The Cosmos C700M is a great PC case that comes with a price tag not affordable by all. It has great port and storage options along with plenty of space inside. While it boasts a very cool look, it may not be the ideal choice for most people as it is not only more money, you need extra fans for efficient airflow as well.
5. NZXT H1
Best Compact PC Case For Airflow
- USB 3.1 Front I/O Port
- 3 Perforated Panel Sides
- Compact Form Factor
- High Price Tag
- Only One Integrated Cooler
- Selected Use And Target Audience
- Little Room For DIY
Fan Mounts: 1(integrated) | Storage Options: 2 | I/O Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1, Audio I/O, Power button | Tempered Glass: Yes
NZXT may very well be one of the most iconic names in the PC case market. With some PC cases in collaboration with big names such as Ninja, they’ve made their name known by having the most minimalistic PC cases in the market. The NZXT H1, which makes it into our list, comes in with a bit of a different take.
The NZXT H1 PC case is a small one, ideally for mini-ITX board sizes. Being NZXT, it does have a rather good-looking but simple build. The front panel has tempered glass that you can screw in place. The other three sides all use mesh panels. This allows air to enter easily and keeps temperatures at bay. It comes with a preinstalled PCIe riser card and prerouted cables for power. This makes both installation and cable management much easier. This case is available in both black and white colors.
On the top, there is a USB-C port, a USB 3.1 port, a headphone jack, and a power button. Being a small case, your options are rather narrow as there isn’t a lot of space and real estate for you to work on. The mesh panels do a good job of keeping the temperatures at bay as more air flows in from all sides. Unfortunately, all of these features come at a price. This NZXT case is priced quite high which will definitely make some people question whether getting this is a smart investment or not.
Helpful Roundup: The Best Micro-ATX Cases
There aren’t a lot of small form-factor ITX builds out there, especially for gaming. However, NZXT does a good job of covering all grounds and provides the people with a mini-ITX form factor case. The H1 is probably the best compact PC case for airflow out there. There isn’t a lot to go on with this case except its design. Let’s face it, the main reason you’ll consider this case is for the unique look. If you can stomach the price, this is a great option to go with.
How To Optimize Airflow In Your PC Case
Optimizing the airflow in your PC case is one of the primary tasks that you should perform when building a PC. Not only enthusiasts, but even regular consumers should try their hand at this practice. This can protect your PC’s components from overheating, prevent the chassis from exponential dust buildup, and generally increase the life expectancy of the components themselves. Firstly, we want to create a positive pressure inside the chassis.
When we speak about positive airflow, we mean to say that the fans inside your system are bringing in more cool air than they are expelling used air out of the system. This produces a positive cooling cycle, and this is what you want to aim for. Negative air pressure is when there is more air being flushed out than there is being sucked in, creating a potential vacuum that may start sucking in air from cracks and crevices of the chassis, leading to immense dust buildup. Equal air pressure has a balanced intake and expulsion cycle.
After this, keeping the setup in a cooler environment will allow for cooler air to get sucked in to lower the temperatures of your CPU and GPU. Radiators, if placed properly, can behave as effective exhausts, and fans, which are the fundamental operators in this entire cyclical setup, can be the ultimate game-changers in effectively circulating the air depending upon their size, speed, alignment, and type. Cleaning your system regularly and taking preventive measures to keep dust and obstructing particles out of your setup will also ensure that your system cools effectively and its circulation is not disturbed by unwanted foreign bodies.
Lastly, if your case is still overheating, you might want to take a look at our picks for the best airflow PC case options out there, and change your chassis. Our detailed PC case buying guide might be of help here. This might be the only solution if your case is not particularly well-designed, which by the way, there are a lot of in the market.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally speaking, it is agreed upon in the enthusiast community that positive case pressure is better than negative case pressure in a number of scenarios. The biggest advantage in favor of positive case pressure is the dust buildup or rather, the lack of it. Negative air pressure causes a lot of dust buildup very quickly because the air is actually being sucked in through little cracks and openings in the chassis itself. This might work in the favor of GPU temperatures in certain scenarios, but the dust buildup factor negates its benefits.
This depends entirely on your budget and your aesthetic preference, however, more fans generally do offer a better cooling environment. There is certainly a point of diminishing returns with fans as well. In a case with 6 fan options (3 intakes and 3 exhausts), the sweet spot of the price-to-performance ratio lies at 2 intake fans and 1 exhaust fan. This way you have positive pressure inside the case as well, which will decrease dust buildup and improve your temperatures. Installing 3 intake fans and 3 exhaust fans will only improve your temperatures slightly over this configuration.
Positive pressure can be created inside a case when the number of intake fans is more than the number of exhaust fans. In positive pressure, you want the case to be sucking air in through the fans rather than through the cracks and crevices of the chassis. This reduces dust buildup and it is actually really good for CPU temperatures as well, particularly if you are using a large tower air cooler. Negative pressure can be created if the number of exhaust fans is more than the number of intake fans.
Fan RPM or fan speed does have an impact on performance and acoustics, but not to an extent that it should worry the average consumer. If the number of intake fans in your case is the same as the number of exhaust fans, then the fan RPM dictates the pressure of your case, whether it is positive or negative. Furthermore, fans with a higher RPM ceiling do have the capacity to move more air, thus aiding in thermal performance, but this does come at the tradeoff of acoustics. It is a balancing act when it comes to the number of fans and fan RPM.