When I was 11, I experimented with the combination of hardware (a Genius keyboard) and liquids (a can of Coke). Like many scientists ahead of their time, I was misunderstood and grounded for two weeks. Within a few decades, someone came up with the idea of making a water-cooled computer case, and now everyone wants one.
I was a pioneer, dad. A pioneer.
It seems we were wrongly taught to keep things that run on electricity away from water. If you’re looking to mix the two, here are some models you should pay attention to.
We’ll talk about the pros and cons of six high-quality gaming PC cases that are great for water cooling. We compared overall performance, price, quality, game compatibility, and design.
Below is a buying guide and frequently asked questions to help you decide on the best water cooling solution for your specific needs.
Best 4 CPU cases for water cooling [PC Cabinets] in 2023 – Reviews
1. NZXT H510i
The H-Series model of this NZXT was built with durability in mind –; the case is made entirely of steel except for a tempered glass panel. The panel itself is well made and easy to install and remove using a single screw to hold it in place.
When it comes to cooling, the case configuration ensures good airflow, even with the two accompanying Aer F120mm fans. With enough room for additional fans, you won’t have to worry about the high temperature.
Another pleasant surprise is how quiet the H500i is. NZXT’s decision not to cut corners on material quality has been rewarded with impressive sound insulation. As a bonus, the Smart Device offers a quiet preset that minimizes fan noise. If you are looking for the quietest PC cases, you will be very satisfied with this one.
The H500i comes with the NZXT cable management bar which covers the cable routing hole for a clean look. Features like routing channels and cable tie-down strips help manage cables without much thought.
The biggest downside to this case is the CAM software that powers the built-in Smart Device. Many users reported issues like software not loading properly, missing features, LED control not working, etc. Since most issues have occurred with older versions of the software, it’s worth making sure you have the latest version.
2. Thermaltake V200 RGB Edition Tempered Glass
If you’re looking for the best you can get on a budget, Thermaltake V200 is the winner. This RGB edition comes with seven different fan colors and plenty of customization options, like controlling the RGB fans using the button on the front or the motherboard.
One thing you will love about this case is that it is spacious. There’s plenty of room for larger components and additional fans or multiple hard drives, giving you more freedom to design the layout.
This case doesn’t have an optical drive slot, so if you want to use CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays, you’ll have to make do with an external optical drive. Don’t rely on the manual for help, either. The instructions are as vague as the Azor Ahai Prophecy from Game of Thrones, not explaining how to install certain components.
For more affordable options similar to Thermaltake V200, take a look at our selection of the best budget PC cases.
3. MasterBox Pro 5 RGB
In modding, as in love, you never forget your premiere. In the first case, it’s mainly because a bad choice can make you give up modding forever. If you’re inexperienced and looking for an easy-to-handle case, the MasterBox Pro 5 is worth considering.
Although Pro 5 is simple, it is a durable case that combines glass and metal. Since dust is always a concern, it was nice to see that it comes with a PSU dust filter.
The DSS mounting solution is quite simple, with easy to use slots. Another reason to check out this case if you’re looking for a low-level PC build. On the other hand, the power supply area is surprisingly limited. The hard drive cage is positioned in such a way that it reduces the space available for the power supply, so you’ll struggle to install even a standard-size power supply.
4. CORSAIR AIR 540 Carbide
When it comes to design, the CORSAIR Carbide AIR 540 takes the crown. Its sleek, minimalist design sets it apart from other devices in this price range. This model features an interesting two-cage solution that allows you to hide anything you don’t want to show in one cage and display the most beautiful pieces in the other.
As you’ve probably guessed, the two-cage design offers plenty of space. This allows you to load your build up with additional components. So here are some tips on the best CPU cooler you can add to the mix. This does not mean that the AIR 540 carbide has bad airflow, on the contrary. The airflow is exceptional, and you can optimize it by placing the parts that need better cooling in a cage.
An unpleasant surprise is that this model does not come with a PSU filter. Be prepared to get one, as the case requires at least one additional dust filter.
CPU Water Cooling Cases: Buying Guide
Pre-installed or ready for water cooler
Much depends on your experience building a custom PC. It’s easier for beginners to opt for a case with a cooling system, so they don’t have to worry about airflow and cooling performance.
More experienced users will usually choose an off-the-shelf enclosure for their water cooler and choose their own components.
Component support: Be compatible with your components
The most important thing in a case is whether it can support all the components you want to install. Before making a choice, check the case specifications, such as I/O configuration (number of ports, port types), fan configuration (number of mounting locations, fan types), lighting RGB, motherboard compatibility (ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX), etc.
Performance: Does it go all the way to 11?
When researching a deal, consider its performance. What is the airflow, and how many fans come with it? What kind of water cooling can it support? Check the overall capacity and quality of the cooling system, including information such as fan speed, size, model, etc.
Size and Space: Fit whatever you need
You can choose from a mini, medium, full and super tower. It’s up to you which size you’re most comfortable with, but keep in mind that two crates of the same size often have different headroom, depending on the layout of the crates.
Ideally, you should first settle on a PC case you are considering buying and then choose a liquid cooler. This will avoid unwanted compatibility issues and the need to replace/order a new cooler.
Noise: it can drive you crazy
The amount of noise your folder will make is proportional to the number of fans you have. Be careful when choosing a fan type, as RPM, size, and model dictate the noise level. The materials used for the enclosure will affect the noise level – some offer better soundproofing than others.
The design: Show its construction
The choice of design depends entirely on your personal preferences. Consider whether you want a minimalist monochromatic design or a case with LED fans. Most cases come with a glass plate that allows you to showcase the interior layout and various features that help hide less presentable components such as cables.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need water cooling?
You don’t necessarily need it, but water cooling is better than air cooling because it removes excess heat faster and doesn’t heat up the inside of the case.
The best high-end gaming rigs are much safer with liquid cooling.
What liquid is used in liquid cooling?
Water, deionized water, glycol/water solutions and dielectric fluids such as fluorocarbons and PAs.
Do you need to replace liquid cooling?
It depends on the type of cooling you have. A closed-loop cooling system does not require fluid replacement, but if you have an open-loop system, you should replace it periodically.
Are liquid coolers quieter?
Yes. Fans for air cooling make a lot more noise.
Do I need a tank for water cooling?
It depends on how many components you have. It is recommended to have a reservoir if you have a lot of components that need to be cooled.
However, most mid-range and budget gaming devices won’t need a tank.
Does liquid cooling improve performance?
It depends. If your processor is slow because it overheats, liquid cooling will help it run at normal speed. The best way to improve performance with liquid cooling is to overclock your CPU, allowing it to run faster than it normally would.
We hope this list helped you make a decision on the best water cooling case that best suits your needs. Otherwise, you can also check out our pick of the best mid-tower cases for further inspiration.