We all started building PCs somewhere. If you're thinking about your first build, there's a pretty good chance that you're in the market for an ATX mid-tower (also known as a mid-ATX to some) case.
There are several really good reasons to go with a mid-tower. First, they support regular, full (not extended!) ATX motherboards. This is the biggest class of desktop motherboard, which means you're also likely to find a board that fits your budget and need pretty easily. Another reason to go with a mid-tower is ease of installation. Micro-ATX and mini-ITX cases are often much tighter and can offer less flexibility in a build. That's not what you want if this is your first rodeo. Finally, ATX full-tower cases can get quite large, and take up a lot of real estate. In comparison, you can easily fit a mid-tower under a desk. Mid towers are also lighter and require less effort to move.
With smaller sizes than full towers, mid towers often offer fewer options when it comes to liquid cooling. With less space, there is less room for large cooling accessories, especially custom loop systems that require reservoirs, tubing and pumps.
Mid-tower ATX cases are great because they generally keep things simple, and offer the baseline when it comes to form.
Best High-End ATX Mid-Tower Case
- Great cable management
- Alumium chassis has great look and feel
- PSU partition keeps builds looking clean
- Expensive for an ATX mid-tower chassis
- Can be a little tight, depending on cooling options
There are few reasons to spend more than $150 on an ATX mid-tower. But for those who feel the need, Phanteks has you covered.
We really love Phanteks' Enthoo Evolv mini-ITX case, so when we eyed its bigger ATX brother, we were very impressed.
Best Mid-Range ATX Mid-Tower Case
- Very clean design
- Room for dual radiators
- Available in 4 colors, including a Razer special edition
- Good cable management room
- May be tight if you want more than two 3.5-inch HDDs
- No 5.25-inch drive bay may bother some
With some cases, you can either love it or hate it. We feel that the NZXT S340 is one of those cases. While some may not like its minimalistic looks, many think its great. A quick glance at the S340's Amazon reviews page says the case is well regarded by customers. Regardless of how you feel about the S340's appearance, the fact remains that the Phantom is a well laid-out case that can be had for right around $80.
Best Budget ATX Mid-Tower Case
- Simple layout
- Clean exterior look
- Solid build quality with steel interior
- Beveled side panel makes for easier cable management
- Lack of rubber grommets for cable management makes it harder to hide your mess
- Fixed hard drive cage
- No real options for double-wide water cooling radiators
There seems to be a huge gulf between ultra-cheap cases and cases that cost closer to $100. With the Corsair Carbide 100R, however, compromises are minimized as much as possible, while still delivering a decent layout.
One form factor, a world of possibilities
The ATX mid-tower is the most common form of the PC. It's what most people think of when they think of a desktop PC. But that doesn't mean that it has to be boring.
There's a big world of PC cases out there for the mid-tower form factor, and it was tough choosing just a few to feature here. If you're shopping for a case, our general advice is to be ready to spend about $100 for a case with plenty of features and options, decently high build quality, and a look that fits your personality.
After all, this is the thing you'll be spending a lot of time sitting next to. You owe it to yourself to make sure you get a case that you'll be happy with.
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