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Last Update: May 11, 2019

Top 5 Open Air PC Cases for Gaming

Published 01:02 AM
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Out in the wild, the world is our ventilation system. If you’re looking for better airflow in anything, an open system is usually better than a closed. While air goes anywhere it wants in an open system, it allows for an increase of it altogether. Kinda like when you’re getting into a car on a hot day. Outside it’s hot, and inside… well, it’s hotter. Until you turn on the AC.

This is the same with open air PC cases. They get both increased airflow and better ventilation from their open systems and have cooling solutions – whether liquid, air, or both.

Here, we list the top 5 open air PC cases of 2019 that will give you the best experiences that you need. 🖥️ 💨

1

Best Choice: Thermaltake Core P5

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Key Features

  • Supreme Thermaltake Liquid Cooling Support
  • Built for Makers
  • Fully Modular Concept
  • 3-Way Placement Layout
  • Panoramic Viewing
  • Versatile GPU and PSU Orientation

Specifications

  • Mid-tower
  • L x W x H → 22.4 in x 13.1 in x 23.9 in
  • Net Weight: 29.6 lb
  • Motherboards: Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX
  • 8 Expansion Slots

Thermaltake Core P5 Review

If there’s one thing Thermaltake is really good at its creating open air cases. The Thermaltake Core P5 is a mid-tower case that uses Thermaltake’s supreme liquid cooling support, supporting up to either 480mm radiator liquid cooling or 140mm case fans while holding a long graphics card and providing excellent visual effects.

A great mid-tower case, if you’d like to check out others like out read our best mid-tower cases guide.

The P5 is great at cooling with its water-cooling capabilities and a cooling support which goes through the entire case. The only bad thing is that it NEEDS liquid cooling. Unfortunately, All-In-One (AIO) water coolers may not even have the hose length needed to reach the radiator.

The P5 is fully modular and built for makers to customize with their own mods and drive bays. It has a versatile GPU and PSU orientation with Thermaltake’s special design bracket, allowing you to show off your graphics card and power supply, and vertical PSU layout support when you use an ITX motherboard.

The P5 even comes with a riser cable, but you’ll end up having to buy your own due to problems with its PCI Express cable.

The Thermaltake has a very nice design and great build quality. You’ll get a nice panoramic view where you can see the front and back of the system. While it has a 3-way placement layout whether you want to place it vertically, horizontally, or wall-mount, you actually can’t wall-mount it according to many gamers.

The best part though is that you can see inside through its transparent build, which just looks great and amazing. This is a great, beautifully designed open air case with great quality. Though you can’t mount it on the wall, there’s still a lot to love about it.

+Pros
  • Very nice design
  • A lot of space for hardware
  • Transparent build to see everything inside
  • Watercooling capabilities
  • Great build quality
-Cons
  • Unable to be mounted on the wall
  • Problems with PCIe cable require you to buy a Riser cable
  • It needs liquid cooling
  • AIO Water coolers hose length
2

Best Quality: Thermaltake Core P7

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Key Features

  • 5mm thick tempered glass window with a gorgeous view
  • Ultimate extended chassis assembly flexibility
  • 3-way placement layout
  • Dismantable Modular Design (DMD)
  • Versatile GPU and PSU Orientation
  • Remarkable Expansion
  • Supreme Liquid Cooling Support

Specifications

  • Full tower
  • Different sizes: Main, Extended, and Assembling Chassis.
  • Net Weight: 56.21 lbs
  • Motherboards: Mini ITX, Macro ATX, ATX, E-ATX
  • 8 Expansion Slots

Thermaltake Core P7 Review

Just like the Core P5, the Core P7 comes with a lot of the same features and pros. A full-tower case coming in different chassis sizes (main, extended, and assembling), the P7 is a sturdy, solid build with a great layout and beauty to it.

Like the P5, the P7 has a 3-way placement layout, uses Thermaltake’s liquid cooling support, and has versatile GPU and PSU orientation. This case is very heavy so wall-mounting can be hard, especially since this case should be handled with care or it can break if dropped.

This is due to its 5mm thick tempered glass window which is immaculate and shows its back and front, overall looking and being very high quality.

There is a lot of flexibility to its ultimate extended chassis which allows you to install the extended chassis at 45, 90, 180, or 270 degrees to the front/rear side of the main case. With such a big case, there’s even great room for a lot of cable management.

There is a lot of expansion possibilities through its eight 3.5”/2.5” storage devices, easy installation, and removable drive bays – helping the P7 to be very customizable. Its whole modular design is dismantlable, giving you ease with installation through easy to reach screws and the ability to build the system from the ground up.

But, it comes with very bad instructions that don’t help anyone that isn’t familiar with PC case construction. The P7 has great overall quality and is something that you should consider, especially if you’re looking for a nice-looking, very customizable and flexible PC case.

+Pros
  • Very visually appealing
  • Great quality
  • Sturdy, solid build
  • Very customizable
  • Good cable management
-Cons
  • Bad instructions
  • Very heavy
  • Handle with Care
3

Best Value: Thermaltake Core P1

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Key Features

  • 5mm thick tempered glass window design
  • Built for Makers
  • DMD
  • 3-Way Placement Layout
  • Versatile GPU Orientation
  • Native AIO Support
  • Supreme Hardware Support

Specifications

  • Mini case
  • L x W x H → 15 in x 13.1 in x 16.6 in
  • Net Weight: 20.9 lb
  • Motherboards: Mini ITX
  • 5 Expansion Slots

Thermaltake Core P1 Review

The last of our Thermaltakes, the Core P1 has most of the same features and qualities as the P7 and P5. The biggest difference is how much of a great budget this comes at. Check out our best budget PC cases if you’re interested in others.

When comparing the P1 with the others, it has a 3-way placement layout, a versatile GPU orientation, a standard riser cable, DMD, and a 5mm thick tempered glass window design. Like the P5, its riser cable is hit or miss, some people like it and some hate it, and like the P7 its heavy and sturdy and has really hard to follow instructions.

The P1 is very customizable with a unique look and great quality for its price. Though it is a Mini-ITX case, and only takes Mini-ITX motherboards, it was built for makers like the P5. You can use Thermaltake’s own 3D printing accessory files to mod your P1. The P1’s modding is all in your hands and gives you a lot of customizability to work with.

The P1 natively supports a radiator size of 1 x 120mm / 2 x 120mm of AIO (All-In-One) liquid cooling solution. With supreme hardware support, the P1 has a lot of flexibility with mounting its fans, radiator, and drive trays. There’s a lot to the P1; it’s at a great budget that you’re sure to love.

+Pros
  • Looks unique
  • Sturdy
  • Customizable
  • Nice quality
-Cons
  • Hit or miss riser cable
  • Heavy
  • Hard to follow instructions
4

Best Mini ITX: In-Win D-Frame Mini

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Key Features

  • Iconic D-shaped Aluminum Tube Framework
  • Excellent Thermal Solutions
  • Incredible Powerful Design

Specifications

  • Open-Air Chassis
  • Motherboards: Mini-ITX
  • L x W x H: 20 in x 12.5 in x 22.5 in
  • Net Weight: 16 lbs
  • 8 Expansion slots

In-Win D-Frame Mini Review

The In-Win D-Frame Mini is a very lightweight, Mini-ITX case that comes at a high price. You have the choice of hardware frame with this beauty, between blue, red, black, green, and orange. Regardless of your choice, the D-Frame Mini is very nice to look at with an overall very strong and appealing design.

The D-Frame Mini uses solid aluminum tubes and tempered glass to create its frame. You can set it up anyway with its unique D-shaped design, and even take it anywhere with you since it’s super portable since it’s light and has its own carrying handle.

The D-Frame Mini is even flexible with 6-dimensional positioning design and rubber grommets that allow you to place it in many different ways and eliminate vibrations. Though small, you can fit a high graphics card up to 340mm and a PSU up to 220mm.

The D-Frame Mini also supports both liquid (up to a 240mm radiator) and air cooling, delivering great thermal solutions through its open-air chassis. While it’s pricey, it is really a great option for anyone with an mITX motherboard. Though it’s only mini-ITX, it is still a great option. If this is something you like, check out our best mini-ITX cases list.

+Pros
  • Great strong quality
  • Very lightweight
  • Available in many colors
  • Very appealing
-Cons
  • Pricey
  • A lot of dust
  • Only Mini-ITX
5

Best Cooling: COUGAR Conquer

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Key Features

  • Superb detail
  • Unique aluminum framing and immaculate tempered glass
  • Superior Expandability
  • Extreme Cooling Performance
  • Ideal for Modders

Specifications

  • Mid-tower
  • Motherboards: Mini ITX, MicroATX, ATX
  • L x W x H: 26.96 in x 22.83 in x 10.03 in
  • Net Weight: 30.9 lbs
  • 7 Expansion Slots

COUGAR Conquer Review

The COUGAR Conquer is a mid-tower PC case that is great for any gamer. The Conquer is a very nice looking case that uses COUGAR’s “design DNA” of industrial-military inspiration with truss aesthetics, aluminum framing, and superb detail to create a unique looking design.

The aluminum framing is matched with two 5mm-thick tempered glass panels which give you a look inside of its open-air chassis. It’s really nice.

With superb expandability, you can see everything inside and show it all off to everyone that comes over; there are even 7 expansion slots to work with – though the hard-drive placements are generally bad. Of course, the overall benefits weigh out the cons.

There’s no need to worry about the Conquer’s strength either. It’s extremely sturdy and durable, but this comes with being heavy. Overall, it has an amazing build quality.

Whether you plan to mod or not, which you probably will, the Conquer is very easy to assemble. You can easily take it apart, work with individual pieces, piece together, and modify the case as fit needs. Both modders and newbies can easily make this system great for them.

The last thing about the Conquer is that it uses great cooling performance. Having support for a 360mm radiator on the top and a 240mm radiator at the front, and having amazing airflow, the Conquer keeps your inside components very cool and nice.

The only problem here is that it has no dust filtration, which means it needs a lot of maintenance. In the end, the Conquer is a great choice for any PC gamer.

+Pros
  • Great cooling performance
  • Great build quality
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Beautiful design
-Cons
  • No dust filtration
  • Pricey
  • Bad hard-drive mother placements
  • Heavy

Open Air PC Cases: Buying Guide

Buying the best Open Air PC Case for you comes with the need for you to know what to look for. We give you a few pointers here.

Motherboards: Which is Perfect for your Case?

The only way to use a motherboard is to know which ones go in which case. Luckily, they are all named similarly so you can easily tell which goes where. The four most common motherboards are mITX, mATX, ATX, and E-ATX in order of smallest to largest. The four common case sizes are Micro-ITX, Micro-ATX, Mid-Tower, and Full Tower.

Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic

Cases work with motherboards equal to and lesser than their size. Micro-ITX cases can only use mITX, Micro-ATX can use both mITX and mATX. Mid-Tower can hold ATX and lower, and Full-Tower can use E-ATX and lower. This is the opposite backward. mITX can go in all of the cases, mATX can go in all except for Micro-ITX, ATX can go in Mid-Tower and Full Tower, and E-ATX can only go in Full Tower.

Aesthetics: RGB Lighting

When it comes to aesthetics, this is all in your hands. With RGB lighting, you can of course just buy your own RGB fans and led strips and apply them to your case, but some cases already come with RGB lights. If this is the case, pun intended, all you need to do is make sure that you’re getting the color or color scheme you want.

Air Flow and Cooling: Keeping your Computer Cool

It’s important to keep your case’s components cool in order to keep your computer running longer and keep your maintenance low. Your PC case will determine which CPU cooler you can use – either liquid or air cooling – and which types of coolers and radiators you can install; the latter for liquid cooling. While liquid cooling is better due to a better transfer of heat, there is the risk of possibly damaging your components.

COUGAR CONQUER

If you want great air flow, you’re most likely going to want a case that allows you to install multiple fans in many locations – the top, back, front, side, etc. This will help with air flow being processed in and out of the case. It’s also better to get grilled panels or openings for better airflow into and out of the case instead of solid panels which restrict the air flowing in and out.


Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions that come up around any PC case, Open air and Closed. We answer some of them here.

Are open-air computers better than closed?

This is up to you. While open-air computers allow more airflow, this airflow goes wherever it wants. Also, open-air gets a lot dustier and needs more maintenance. They’re mainly liked because they look better and allow for easier access to its interior.

Closed cases, on the other hand, are easier to move around without the fear of something coming out, need less maintenance, and allows for a tighter airflow over airflow just coming from around you. Again, this is up to you.

Lian Li PC-O9WX Mid-Tower Case

Is it cheaper to build or buy a PC?

Building a PC can definitely be cheaper than buying one. After buying a PC, the only way to make it your own is to then buy the pieces you want, and then go in and install them yourself. Or, you can just buy all the pieces and make your own. Sometimes, this comes out to around the same price as just buying one then modding it, other times, it comes out as cheaper.

There’s a general fear that you’ll mess up when building your own PC or will buy something you don’t need – but you can do the same when buying one. If you’re interested in building your own, check out our How to Build a Gaming PC guide to help you out.

What is the best case for a gaming computer?

We believe the best gaming PC case is the Corsair Crystal Series 570X RGB. Check out our 10 Best PC Cases for Gaming for our other choices.

nexus m pc cases


Conclusion

Open air PC cases are great choices for better room ventilation. No matter which of these calls out to you, Thermaltake or otherwise, you’re sure to be making a great choice. Using our FAQ and Buyer’s Guide, you’re sure to be able to make the perfect choice for you.


Sources:

  1. Types of Computer Cases and Motherboard Factors, November 30th, 2011
  2. Steve Lander, The Disadvantages of a Computer With a Small Case, Chron
  3. Case Modding, Wikipedia
  4. Steve Lander, How to Install a Thermal Sensor on a PC Case, Chron
  5. How to Install a Desktop Computer Fan, WikiHow
  6. PC Case Sizes Explained, TechQuickie, June 18th, 2014
  7. PC Case FAQ, Corsair
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