Don't get us wrong, we love our big capacious best full tower case options. What we don't love is how much space they occupy in our cramped metropolitan apartments. And as rent prices soar, we've had a good think about downsizing and what it would take to keep gaming at high resolutions and with graphics settings cranked up, absent the need for heavy duty enclosures.
The obvious solution is to pare down to the best mini-ITX case of your choosing. But despite being more portable than a full-tower case, they're prohibitively limited in terms of graphics performance, expansion slots, power and airflow. If that sounds like too much compromise for your liking, perhaps the best mid-tower case is more your speed. Taking a variety of shapes and forms, a mid-tower case is the ideal companion for any standard ATX motherboard measuring 12 inches long and 9.6 inches wide. It can also effectively house mini-ITX and micro-ATX motherboards, though admittedly the cons outweigh the pros in that scenario.
In reality, a mid-tower case is oftentimes the default choice for aspiring PC builders and veteran DIYers alike. The best mid-tower case is characterized by not only striking aesthetics, as shamelessly exhibited below, but also by facilitation of pristine cable management and logical airflow. Whether you're trying to play games at your desk or in your living room, front and center, the best mid-tower case isn't too large for your apartment nor is it too small to accommodate the loftier components of your desire. For the truly unbridled PC gaming experience, carry on, my wayward child.
Our favorite overall mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX and EATX(Up to 272mm or 10.7-inches) | Dimensions: W: 230mm H: 516mm D: 494mm | Weight: 12.27 kg | Radiator Support: Front: 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm with Push/Pull, Top: 2 x 140mm or 3 x 120mm, Rear: 1 x 120mm | I/O Ports: 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 1 x Audio/Mic | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 7, 3.5”: 2+1
One of our latest favorites is NZXT’s H700i, released last year. The ease of building in it and the satisfaction it provides are second to none. NZXT markets the H700i as a "smart" case thanks to the inclusion of a new smart hub powered by the company’s CAM software.
This hub acts as both a digital fan controller and a RGB LED controller that uses machine learning to find the perfect balance between noise and cooling for your fan speeds in real-time. The H700i generously includes four pre-installed fans and two RGB strips to make full use of the smart hub out of the box.
These features already set the H700i apart from the crowd, but the cable management on the backside is the star of the show. Four different cable routing channels with integrated cable tie downs made the process effortless and extremely satisfying. Priced at $200, the H700i is one of the more expensive cases we’ve recommended but it’s about as premium as it gets.
Cooler Master SL600M
The best high-end mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX (support upto 12" x 10.7") | Dimensions: 544 x 242 x 573 mm | Weight: 13.6 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm | I/O Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 8 3.5”: 4
The MasterCase SL600M has to be one of Cooler Master's most beautifully designed cases. It features anodized aluminum with a sand-blasted finish and just enough attitude to make it look sleek, futuristic and elegant, all at once. We were even more impressed once we opened it up and tested it.
Cooler Master's SL600M is the first case we've tested with a vertical chimney design that just makes sense and works. It's a bold move to completely seal the front of a case, but Cooler Master went all-in with the SL600M, completely sealing the front and moving the entire PSU shroud and housing from the bottom of the case to the front of the case. All of that newly opened space combined with generous feet allow the case to produce some serious airflow directly onto the GPU.
While the CPU temperatures suffered from this design, the SL600M has the lowest GPU temperatures out of every mid tower we've tested. Mount the graphics card vertically and away from the glass with the rotatable PCI bracket and cooling improves even further. While the case features all of the connectivity and convenience you'd expect in a high end mid tower, it's unfortunately missing an included GPU riser cable.
Cooler Master H500M
The best airflow mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX (support upto 12" x 10.7") | Dimensions: 544 x 248 x 546mm | Weight: 14.2 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm | I/O Ports: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x Audio/Mic | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3 3.5”: 2
Cooler Master's H500M is the company's latest flagship mid-tower, but we'd really rather it be called a full-sized tower. Measuring 21.4 x 9.8 x 21.5 inches, the H500M is one of the biggest mid-towers on this list. Thanks to its large size and internal layout, it's really easy to build in and supports a huge variety of components and custom cooling options.
The H500M comes with two massive 200mm RGB LED fans installed which do a fantastic job of increasing airflow out of the box. Other modern touches include a USB 3.1 Type-C connector and tons of modularity including the option to choose between a mesh or tempered glass front panel.
Our only major issue with the case is the lack of easily removable magnetic dust filters for the front fan intake. Luckily, all of the mesh in the entire H500 line features a secondary filter layer that'll help keep dust out of your build. We mention the dust because the H500M features some serious airflow and comes prepared to keep the beefiest of gaming PCs cool.
In Win 303C
The best mid-range mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 500mm x 215mm x 480mm | Weight: 12.81 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 240mm, 360mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 6 3.5”: 3
In Win was one of the first case manufacturers to experiment with tempered glass panels and now it looks like everyone is using them. It’s only fitting since our interior components have become more and more aesthetically pleasing. The company’s 303 was one of our favorite cases for some time thanks to its massive tempered glass door, dual-chamber design and affordability.
Now the company has updated the case with the 303C which brings a USB 3.1 Type-C connector to the front I/O and adds RGB lighting. It also includes a nifty metal GPU bracket which prevents the dreaded sagging you get with heavy graphics cards.
Overall, the 303C is a great case that is capable of supporting a wide variety of liquid cooled builds and offers a very clean aesthetic without compromising thermal performance. Installation can be tricky if you fill all of the fan slots, but the end result is well worth the trouble.
The best budget mid-tower
Form Factor: Mid-tower | Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: W: 210mm H: 460mm D: 428mm | Weight: 7 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm; 140mm; 240mm; 280mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (Type A) | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3 3.5”: 3
NZXT’s S340 has long gone unchallenged as our favorite budget mid-tower thanks to its minimalistic design, steel side panels, and most importantly accessibility. The H500 is its direct replacement and it checks off all of the boxes of its predecessor with a few modern updates that allow it to keep its place on the throne.
Like the S340, the H500's sleek design includes a steel cable management bar and PSU shroud to keep things looking just as clean on the inside as it does on the outside. If you have an extra $30 to spare, the H500i is also available which features built in rgb lighting and fan control via NZXT's CAM-powered smart device.
If you want to add a pop of color to your build, NZXT offers the H500 with a few different colors to match your components. Priced at $70, the case is absolutely comparable in build quality and features to $100+ competitors.
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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