What you need to know before choosing a good Airflow Case?
Before proceeding to the list, you need to consider the following three points:-
1. Positive and negative airflow- Positive airflow is determined by the amount of cool air taken in the case by the intake fans and the negative airflow is determined by the amount of hot air that is taken outside of the case by the exhaust fans. To maintain a steady and stable temperature inside, one must strive for the balanced airflow. If a case only has negative airflow, then it means it will not be cool as it should be and if there is too much positive airflow, the result will also be similar.
To choose a case, it must have an equal number of intake and exhaust fan slots or if it doesn’t have an equal number of intake/exhaust fan slots then we need to use the same amount of fans for both intake and exhaust. If suppose, there are 3 fan slots for exhaust and 2 fan slots for intake, then we will use 2 fans for both exhaust and intake to maintain the balance.
2. Amount of ventilation- Ventilation directly affects the cooling capacity of a case. If a case has a lot of slots for intake and exhaust fans but doesn’t have enough ventilation at the front or bottom, then there is no use of having so many fans.
There are cases like Corsair 570X and Phanteks P400 which can support several fans for intake and exhaust but due to the lack of proper ventilation from the front and top, the temperature inside remains hotter than the cases which have meshed panels. Although, meshed panels will accumulate dust easily but if they have dust filter installed, then it will be easy to clean them without worrying so much.
3. Compatibility- After airflow and ventilation, comes the compatibility of components. A case may have both of the above-mentioned features but if it can’t support large CPU coolers, several storage devices or long graphics cards, then it’s still useless. Most of the people buy good airflow cases because of having so many components that generate a lot of heat. So, productivity workers and overclockers need a lot of space for installing their required components and also need good ventilation for proper cooling.
Advantages of a good Airflow Case
Advantages are several. Not only your components remain cooler but their life also increases drastically. If you push the hardware to its limit without proper cooling, then it may fry easily and I have seen people’s graphics cards fry due to lack of ventilation. I also remember my motherboard getting so hot that it made the side panel feel like burning because of the lack of the means to drive that hot air out from inside. But I remember, when I put a single case fan at the rear, that problem was solved. So, it is obvious that the more components you add, the more heat it will generate and you will need a good cooling solution for your case.
Which fans to use in Airflow Cases?
This is a very good question. For good airflow, you don’t only need good ventilated cases but also good fans that will drive out a lot of hot air from inside and also bring cooler air inside. Personally, I have used CPU fans like Thermaltake Riing SP fans, Corsair AF, SP and HD series fans, Deepcool, Cooler Master and Antec fans and I found out that the best fans among these are the Corsair AF series fans. You can literally test them with your hands. The amount of air they throw is far better than the SP series fans and Noctua NF series fans are even better. So, be sure you use only AirFlow fans from brands like Corsair or Noctua for best performance. They are very efficient and silent.
Good budget Airflow Cases
Rosewill Gaming Challenger S
The least and the best under $50 I can recommend is the Rosewill Challenger S. It’s an awesome case for airflow despite being so cheap. Well, it’s cheap because of its construction. The material used in this case is neither of that good quality nor it’s poorly made. It’s just intermediate which is justified for its price.
But due to its features, it made to the list of budget airflow pc cases. First of all, the compatibility is very good. You can install a full ATX motherboard in it and long graphics card too. The case comes with 2x 5.25″ ODD bays and 3x 3.5″ HDD bays that are tool free. Not bad. The space behind the motherboard tray is also enough for routeing thick cables and the cutout for installing new CPU coolers is also big and will let you swap your CPU coolers without taking out the motherboard.
At its side panel, it has ventilation through honeycomb mesh on which you can install 2x 120mm fans for even more airflow. This case doesn’t have any transparent window panel to make it better in terms of cooling. The case comes with 2x 120mm pre-installed BLUE LED fans at the front and 1x 120mm pre-installed Non-LED fan at the rear. So, you don’t have to buy fans for proper cooling although the quality of those fans are not that good. They are just basic. And you can also add two more 120mm fans at the top for creating a good balance in airflow but that’s just a preferable option.
In total, this case can have up to 7x 120mm fans that will create so much airflow in the case that it will never heat up in any circumstance. This case is good especially for the people who live in hot areas. The front and top have dust filters but the bottom and side panel doesn’t so it means it will accumulate some dust overtime quickly although not that much as the front side still has a good resistance against dust and you can clean your front panel every month for proper and cleaner operation.
Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02
I have used this case in my builds and also reviewed it in some of my posts like in Best Corsair Cases. I have personally built in this case for my friend and it’s worthy of making to this list. The SPEC-02 is the next and a little-upgraded version of the SPEC-01 but the differences are minor. The design and ventilation are almost same but there is one more slot for adding a 120mm fan at the bottom beside the PSU.
So, for cooling, it has the capability of supporting 2x 120mm fans at the front, a 1x 120mm fan at the rear, 2x 120mm fan at the top and 1x 120mm fan at the bottom, all totalling to 6 fans that provide balanced airflow. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any slot on the side panel for installing more fans but the 3-3 fan configuration for intake and exhaust is commendable. The case comes with 2 pre-installed fans only. One is at the front that has RED LED and the rear one has No LED. Both of these fans are quality ones and if you want to increase the quantity you should consider installing an equal number of fans for intake and exhaust for better airflow.
The case also has a good ventilation at the front. As many cases despite having 2 or 3 fan slots at the front don’t have proper ventilation, they either have the gaps for airflow at the sides or a the top/bottom but it limits the airflow just as Phanteks P400. But this one has a dust filter along with good ventilation on the front panel. At the top side or bottom side, it doesn’t have any dust filter, so it will accumulate dust easily.
As for compatibility, it has a good support for long graphics cards, tool-less HDD installation and a good location for SSD bays which are in the HDD cage. Cable management is also fine. It’s not that spectacular because there are some flaws like not having a separate cutout of routeing the CPU cable but there is some fine space at the back of the motherboard tray but don’t expect it to be the cleanest.
Check:- Best Mid-Tower Cases
DeepCool TX Mid Tower TESSERACT SW
At the same price as that of Corsair Carbide Series Spec-02, a good case is available from DeepCool. DeepCool is not a very big brand and it doesn’t produce better quality cases than Corsair or Cooler Master but for people who are on a budget and want more for less, then DeepCool has some good solutions.
DeepCool Tessaract SW is a fine quality case made up of SPCC and Plastic that is used in most of the budget cases. It can support all form factor motherboards and basic components just like the above-mentioned cases.
This case has a very good support for storage devices and comes with 7 drive bays for installing up to 4 HDD’s or 3 SSD’s and all of them are tool free. So, you can just plug and play. The case, however, is not long enough to support very long graphics cards. It “CAN” support long graphics cards but you may face problem in wiring and installing the storage devices. 2 Fan graphics cards although can be installed with ease.
Cable management is also just fine. Not spectacular. The motherboard tray cut out for installing the CPU cooler is not big enough but you can do it with some difficulty. There are a lot of routeing holes in the motherboard tray which is a good thing for using Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX and ATX motherboards. You can route the cables from wherever you want.
Now coming to its main feature which is cooling, it really gives a very good value here. There is a meshed front panel which has a good ventilation from top to bottom and comes with pre-installed 120mm BLUE LED fan for intake. At the rear, it comes with one more Blue LED fan for exhaust. Although the quality of DeepCool fans is not that great but both can be seen through the side transparent panel and even there, you will find two more slots for installing 2x 120mm fans. So, along with good aesthetics, it also has good intake capacity.
But as usual, we have to see whether it provides balanced airflow or not. If you install two more fans at the side panel, then you will have 3 fans for intake, so you must need 3 fans for exhaust for proper airflow and fortunately, it has that feature. It comes with the support for installing 2x 120mm fans at the top. Although, you cannot install radiator at the top because of the clearance issue but you can install 1x 120mm radiator at the rear just like the Corsair Carbide Series SPEC-02.
So, overall it has better components compatibility especially when it comes to storage devices and great cooling with all-around airflow feature.
A much better option
SilverStone Technology RL05BR-W
Unfortunately, this case did not get so much popularity as the others. The reasons may be many but putting those aside, we will focus what it delivers and how is it for the money. Silverstone is definitely the producer of one of the best Mini-ITX cases and this one is best for airflow without a doubt. Everything, in this case, is good and I don’t find any major CON’s in it.
There are two pre-installed 140mm RED LED fans at the front for intake. Those are bigger and better than the 120mm fans that are present in the previous above-mentioned cases. The front panel is meshed and has dust filter to stop the accumulation of dust easily inside the case. You can also install radiator instead of only fans which is great for CPU cooling.
The case is 6Kg heavy and the material is just fine. Still, it’s better than the previous cases. But the price is also more. For the increase of price, it comes with better airflow and the top of the case also has support for 2x 120/140mm fans or 240/280mm radiator. The bottom of the case also has one dust filter for the PSU that is very much needed.
So cooling wise, it’s far better than the above cases but let’s look at its component compatibility. It can support very long graphics cards as there is no drive cage at the front and those are present inside the PSU shroud where you can either install 2 HDD’s or 2 SSD’s. There are also two more drive bays for SSD’s above them. But you are limited to max 4 storage devices at one time. So, you cannot have too many storage drives at the same time in this case. But other than that it has a PSU shroud which covers every cable and a separate cover at the motherboard tray for hiding the ATX power cables and other cables properly similar to the NZXT S340.
There is an additional USB type C port at the front along with two USB 3.0 ports and the design from every angle looks great. I definitely recommend this case for $70 and should be the priority of anyone who wants the best airflow case for this price.
Best Airflow Cases
Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 ATX Cube
When you need the cases with the best airflow then Corsair has several cases like these. Among them is the Corsair Carbide Air 540 ATX cube which also has a smaller version for mini-ITX form factor motherboards. This case is very innovative and has a unique design when comes to installing the components.
The hard drive bays and the SSD bays are at the back where the power supply will be installed and therefore only the beautiful components like graphics cards, radiator, ram, motherboard etc. will be seen through the transparent window. It can support a lot of radiators at the same time and perhaps it’s much easy to do custom water cooling inside it.
For cooling, it has ventilation from front to the top and comes with pre-installed 2x 140mm Fan at the front which can be interchanged to either 3x 120mm fans or a 240/280/360mm radiator. But then you won’t be able to install very long graphics card as some clearance issue may occur. But at the top, there is a lot of space for installing even a dual fan radiator and you can even install very thick radiators which are used for custom water loops.
This case can have 6x 120mm fans or 5x 140mm fans at the same time and supports several storage devices at the same time. As most of the wiring stuff goes at the back, cable management is very easy due to the large empty space present at the back. Rubber grommets are huge Pro in this case and are present for routeing cables from different directions. This case is all the way one of the best airflow cases right now in the market although it’s not cheap and comes for around $140.
Thermaltake Core X31 RGB Edition
For $100, I find the Core X31 to be the best case both for airflow and customization. The reasons for choosing this case over other cases with the same amount of fan slots are modular design and better ventilation. You can take apart almost every drive cage and even the PSU shroud from it to build in it accordingly.
For people who want to do custom water loop will definitely need this case because even if you remove all the cages you will still have drive bays at the back side of the motherboard tray where you can install hard drives and SSD’s. In front, you will still be left with plenty of space for custom water loop and a great ventilation for sending the heat out, out of the rear and top of the case where you can install up to 4x 120mm fans collectively.
The top also supports 3x 140mm fans and has a dust filter. Not only the top but the bottom, the front also has dust filters for preventing the dust accumulation. Fan support is astonishingly not limited to the front, top and rear but you can also install up to 2x 120mm or 2x 140mm fan at the bottom beside the PSU. The airflow will be ridiculously high, in this case, leaving no room for overheating whatsoever.
For $100, This is the best case which is modular, having great airflow and also comes with 3x 120mm TT RGB fans pre-installed. I use the TT Riing fans myself in my personal rig for radiators and those are one of the best PC fans I have ever used.
Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Airflow Edition
We cannot forget that there are many gamers and productivity workers who need a lot of components, especially storage devices inside their PC. Productivity applications of video editing and rendering require a lot of horse-power and generate a lot of heat when it’s continuously done. So, the case needs better airflow along with ample space for increasing the components quantity.
For this Corsair has a great solution. Corsair has it’s Obsidian 750D which is perfectly suited for all types of productivity workers as well as gamers. Not only it’s huge but it’s fully modular to adjust according to the needs. It has several Hard drive/ SSD cages for installing several storage devices at the same time. Or you can also remove some of them if you plan to do SLI or custom water loop.
There is ample space behind the motherboard tray also where cable management is very easy to do but as the tower is huge, it also weighs around 10KG. So combined with the components especially with 2 or more graphics cards and CPU coolers, you will have it close to 20KG easily. But let’s move to its cooling feature.
At the front, it has space for installing up to 2x 120mm or 2x 140mm fans although it already comes with 2x 140mm AF series fans that are Non-LED and provide maximum airflow as I said earlier that AF series fans from Corsair are best. At the top, there is plenty of space for installing 3x 120mm or 2x 140mm fan that can be replaced by a 240/280 or a 360mm radiator and it has a lot of clearance to not pose any difficulty installing the motherboard and Ram.
At the bottom, if you remove and adjust the Drive bays in one row leaving space at the bottom then you will have space for installing 2x 120mm/140mm fans or even radiators. And at the rear, as usual, it can support 1x 120mm/140mm fan which it already comes with pre-installed 1x 140mm AF series fan. So for cooling, you cannot find any CON in it and especially when it has dust filters everywhere to stop the dust from accumulation. This is a total package with full component support and best airflow.
Check:- Best Full Tower Cases
Do you have any other recommendations for the list? Let me know in the comments below!