Dec 28, 2023

The 10 Best PC Cases of Computex 2023

If there's anything you can count on at the Computex trade show, it's custom-built desktop PCs that look like they landed from another planet…or at least beamed in from 10 years in the future. The PC DIY community could well consider the history of this seminal trade show their origin story. The basis of these many, many builds is, of course, the humble PC case—but the models on show at Computex are, very often, anything but humble.

PCMag was on site to meet with PC vendors and industry executives up and down the spectrum. But one of our favorite side quests in Taipei is checking out all the new gear that PC builders will be lusting after, and scheming to build with, in the coming year. We could fill endless pages with the cool designs and the creative mods at the show, not to mention the masses of commodity gear that manufacturers are hawking and deal-making around on the fringes of the halls. But given we spent the better part of three days traversing the endless corridors and aisles of Taipei's Nangang Exhibition Center, we think we have a pretty good handle on what's new…and what rocks. These were the 10 PC cases that caught our eyes, and kept them the longest.

The O11 Vision was the winner of our overall "best in show" for PC cases. We see a lot of PC cases at Computex, and we've seen plenty of winners from Lian Li over the years. But none has been more eye-catching or jaw-dropping than the Vision, with three tempered-glass windows that all join together seamlessly to create a cool "glass box" effect. This gives you a large section that lets you see straight through into the case and all of the components mounted in it. Plus, the top glass is mirrored on the inside, but transparent viewed through the top, creating a double-RGB visual fiesta when you look at it from below.

We have seen plenty of other heavy-on-the-glass PC cases before, but they have had supporting braces between the glass sheets. This is the first major-maker case to do it without such obstructions, and the aesthetic is stunning. Pair it with some of Lian Li's equally striking fans and Strimer RGB cable mods, and you'll have a PC build that's tough to top with out-of-the-box products.

The Lian Li "desk cases" are legendary at this point, but the new version shown at Computex 2023 gains a bit of...sustainability cred? No, really, hear us out: It will ship in much more compact packaging, thanks to portions of the desk surface being trim metal and the whole works shipped disassembled. That said, expect no shortage of nifty features.

The Desk Case is now designed for one big system to be built under the glass desk surface (instead of two). But what a system it can be. The desk electrically raises and lowers, and you get a shelf in the back for keeping the inevitable PC cable snakes off the floor. Also, the glass surface of the desktop still has the mind-boggling magic trick of transforming from clear to opaque at the push of a button.

New stuff? The desk has a built-in can cooler and heater for your cola, caffeine, or other fixes, as well as a pop-open drawer on the right to organize your office supplies. And a little pop-up USB hub lives to the north of the can cooler. Expect to pay more than $2,000…and to be the envy of anyone who visits.

In Win's Mod Free case concept was first shown at CES 2023. Mod Free is made up of a host of frames that you can combine in various orientations to create the modular and industrial-looking case of your dreams. But we were smitten at Computex 2023 by the elegant, ultramodern-looking Mini version. It looks very little like the full-size Mod Free. It's a Mini-ITX case, and thin wooden vertical slats give the case a sort of Scandinavian elegance, while also allowing for copious airflow.

The case can accept ATX power supplies, as well as GPUs up to 325mm or 430mm, depending on how you configure it. Like the original Mod Free, though, the Mini remains a dual-style device: It can serve as a case by itself, or as an expansion to another Mod Free chassis.

In 2023, SilverStone marked its 20th anniversary, and the company is celebrating the event by creating what may well be its largest case ever. The case weighs in at more than 40 pounds by itself and features a unique internal layout with the motherboard mounting tray rotated 90 degrees relative to the standard placement. This puts the rear I/O panel on the motherboard on the top of the case, which is something we’d actually like to see more of, as this makes the many ports of the rear I/O panel readily accessible.

That said, the big appeal of this chassis is the slightly angled mounting of the graphics card, which you can make out in the first image, shown from the back. You vertically mount your GPU here at an approximate 11-degree angle off perfectly vertical to help with airflow. Internally, the case is spacious, with ample room for working in components. (The polygonal panels near the case bottom pop off, and behind them you'll find a wonderland of drive bays.) Everything has been adjusted to accommodate the rotated motherboard tray and make the building process easier. The only caveat? The case will list for $999, so the name might be better tweaked to "Altissimo"!

SilverStone's Alta D1 is a server-oriented case offering that's being rolled down to the consumer market. Despite its stodgy-seeming roots, it is designed to be supremely customizable. The case has a hinged front panel that holds huge air intake fans; it also swings open to give you access to three hot-swappable 2.5-inch bays and two legacy 5.25-inch drive bays. These can be freely interchanged and moved around each other's places inside of the case, making the orientation and layout of the inner front panel highly customizable.

The case is also rather large and spacious, with room for multiple power supplies at the bottom of the case—clearly a major advantage for anyone building an extremely power-hungry workstation.

The Ncore 100 Max is a highly compact small form factor (SFF) PC case with an internal volume of just 15.6 liters. The case has a unique design that, at a glance, makes it look less like a PC than some variety of unidentifiable consumer electronics gear. This is partially thanks to a wrap-around metal panel covered in ventilation holes with mesh underneath. (This lends a vague resemblance to some sort of edgy speaker system.)

In truth though, the Ncore 100 Max is a high-performance PC case that can hold extra-large graphics cards like Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090. That it can do this in such a small footprint, while also supporting a water cooler and looking stylish in your living room, is just gravy.

Nothing feels quite the same as building something with your own two hands. PCs effect that sentiment, but what if you had to build your PC's own case, too, before you even got started? Cooler Master's Qube 500 Flatpack, in some ways, could be overlooked as just your run-of-the-mill ATX chassis, if you considered just the finished product. But when you buy one of these cases, it doesn't look anything like that picture above, when it arrives.

That's because the Cooler Master Qube 500 Flatpack ships entirely disassembled, as a kit of mostly flat parts that you then snap and screw together into a working PC case. The idea is to look at the case itself as part of the build process, and a project that should prove fun for families that build together as a project. In addition, the Qube comes in a variety of fun panel colors, so part of the enjoyment is in the color-coordinating. Between these considerations and the build itself, this gives you the feeling of accomplishment in really building your own PC. In addition, the case supports 3D-printed customization options to make it all the more personalized to you.

Passively cooling components has always been an enticing idea, as it enables you to build PCs that are virtually silent while in use. This can help reduce stress in the workplace (the hum and whir of PC case fans going all day), and at home while gaming, without your gaming PC sounding like a jet plane about to take off. Keeping your PC cooled without fans is not at all easy, though, especially if it's a powerful one, which is why we don't often see it done. We have seen a fair few passive CPU coolers over the years, as well as some low-end passively cooled graphics cards, but these have always been in the minority and not practical options for high-end hardware.

Streacom took up the challenge, said, "Enough of that!" and built a full passively cooled high-end PC chassis in the SG10. The company achieved this by turning the frame of its SG10 PC case into one enormous passive cooler for both the CPU and GPU. Part of the case is a double set of heat sinks attached to the upper part of the case via vapor tubes. Heating, condensation, and cooling cycles, done without pumps, is what keeps this case's thermal solution flowing. That makes this product doubly interesting, as not only is it a passive cooler, but it's both the PC thermal solution and a PC case all in one body. (Note that the copper model shown here may or may not make it to market.)

Cases perform an important role in holding your components, protecting them, and providing them with adequate ventilation. But at the same time, cases are largely just aesthetic choices. There are countless cases on the market, plenty of them for filling these basic tasks without fuss, which leaves your choice of which one to buy largely one of aesthetics and budget.

Then you have the cases that let you tweak and fiddle with their very structure, with the aim of being your long-term squeeze. Be Quiet's Dark Base Pro 901 is an unusual case that enables you to mount your motherboard, up to EATX size, in it upside-down. (That's to say: upside-down relative to the typical way a motherboard is mounted in most other cases, using an inverted motherboard tray.)

This doesn't provide any serious benefit to the system except maybe letting the GPU vent a little easier out the top and back of the case, and it's largely an aesthetic choice. But if you’ve been looking for a case that lets you see your hardware through the right-hand side of the case instead of the left, or like the way the system looks better this way, then it's a smart option. Also look at it as a premium model that gives you the option to experiment with orientation if you're not sure which way you'll want things mounted.

Other worthy features include a wireless charging pad on the top near the front, and touch controls for the RGB and fans. It should fit any conceivable video card, and Be Quiet supplies a chunky bracket to support today's GPU beasts. You get three bundled 140mm Silent Wings fans, with room for up to 11. Yes, even though it's Be Quiet, it goes to 11.

It's $59! Need we say more? Montech is a relatively young PC case maker, one that was just getting off the ground at the time of the last Computex in 2019. The company's aim is to deliver quality, attractive gear for builders at value prices. That's a nice change, seeing as case prices have been drifting upward in recent years, with the premium on flashy cases seeming to grow by the day. Montech is bucking that trend for the moment, though, by releasing its snazzy X4 for just $59. For that price, you get what appears to be a surprisingly feature-filled ATX case. The case ships with a tempered-glass side panel and four built-in RGB fans, three on the front and one on the back. The front is covered in a mesh that's not super eye-catching, but it does enable you to see the RGB lights underneath.

It can be difficult to know how good a case really is, or how it performs, until you’ve spent some time with it and know what it's like to build in it. But forestalling any major issues in either area, this looks to be a heck of a good case for the price.

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