Water Cooled PC Cases For Gamers
Top 5 Water-cooled PC Cases for Gamers
Photo credit Unsplash
So it happened again.
Few minutes into your online gaming session and your screen starts to flicker. Your monitor begins to skip frames, and in five minutes you have to sign off to give your CPU/GPU some time to come up for air – almost literally.
The problem as always is heat and thermal throttling.
Well, that’s a sign it’s time to get a water-cooled PC solution.
Research has shown that CPU/GPU performance drops very rapidly with increase in temperature. The drop is as hard as a 30 percent frequency drop at 70 degrees.
This throttling setting is necessary to protect your hardware. They’ll fry if they keep running at peak performance at such brutal temperatures.
Anyhow, in this article, we’ll show you five solid water cooling options for your next PC build. That way, you won’t have to keep monitoring CPU temperatures instead of enjoying your gaming sessions.
1. The Phanteks Enthoo Elite
Photo credit Phanteks
This full tower, water-cooled PC case sports an intimidating 30-inch frame with space for more than one PC if you ever need it. It comes pre-fitted with a number of cable control and aesthetic fittings to ease your building process. It costs around $1197 for one new case on Amazon.
How The Phanteks Enthoo Elite Stands Out
The powerful PC doesn’t skimp on aesthetics. It provides led lights at strategic positions to showcase the beauty of your piping and water cooling process. It’s standout features however are the numerous configuration options for both motherboard and water-cooling components. It supports a GPU length of 480mm.
Top features include:
1. Powerful Watercooling Options
The PC case sports an impressive array of options for water cooling radiators and fans.
- Front – Up to four 120/140mm fans and four 120/140mm radiators
- Top – Up to four 120mm fans/three 140mm fans and four 120mm or three 140mm radiators
- Bottom – Up to four 120mm fans/three 140mm fans and four 120mm or three 140mm radiators
- Midplate – Up to four 120mm fans/three 140mm fans and four 120mm or three 140mm radiators
- Side – Up to three 120mm fans/two 140mm fans and three 120mm or two 140mm radiators
- Rear – Up to two 120/140mm fans and one 120/140mm radiator
2. Variety of MotherBoard Form Factor Support
This PC case provides excellent support for all the popular motherboards you may need to install. This, in turn, makes it an excellent candidate for future improvements as well as modifications. It supports ATX, EATX, uATX, mini-ITX, SSI EEB.
3. Multiple Ports and Accessibility Features
This PC case supports 4 USB 3.0 ports, USB type C ports, Dual Mic and headphones as well as HDMI and RGB control wheel. With these, you’ll be missing very little in terms of accessibility.
4. Cable Control
This case comes with grooves and velcros to support cable control and help in neat design builds.
Where The Phanteks Enthoo Elite Needs Improvement
In terms of engineering, the Phanteks Enthoo Elite is peerless in its price range. Although its sturdy build and heavier materials can be substituted for lightweight options. The pricing is also quite steep.
- Spacious – can contain two PCs if you need it
- Supports lots of motherboard design shapes
- Excellent water cooling options
- Cable control and aesthetically pleasing exterior with tempered glass and RGB lighting
- Multiple ports and connectivity hub options
- Premium Aluminum build
- Quite pricey at $900
- Quite heavy to move around after building
2. Lian LI Dynamic PC 011
Photo credit Lian Li
This PC case is as aesthetically pleasing as it is full-featured. The case is a full tower aluminum and tempered glass chassis behemoth. The price for this PC case is $346.
How The Lian LI Dynamic PC 011 Stands Out
It sports excellent cable management and offers dual PSU support for heavy gamers who prefer the option. The spaces provide can also hold multiple hard drives for memory loving gamers. It supports a GPU length of 420mm.
Top features include:
1. Superior Water Cooling Support
The options available lets you decide on your build style. You can install fans or radiators only or both. Here’s a breakdown:
- Top – Three 120mm fans/two 140mm fans
- Side – Three 120mm fans
- Bottom – Three 120mm fans
- Radiator Options: Three 120mm radiator/Two 120mm radiator/two 140mm radiator
- Efficient Dust Filter Design and Double Layer Cable Management Design
To avoid clogs on your CPU, this Case comes equipped with magnetic dust filters. The cable management provides an isolation compartment to avoid cables getting strewn all around the case.
2. Six Drive support
This case can take as much as six hard drives in its bays. The options allow you to support 4 2.5’ SSD and two 3.5’ HDD.
3. Aesthetically Pleasing
The aluminum and tempered glass combo make the PC case glow up when running. The RGB led lights to add to this spectral brilliance exuding elegant aesthetic appeal.
4. Supported Motherboard and Connectivity Ports
This PC case supports different motherboard configurations including:
- E-ATX, ATX, Micro-ATX and Mini ATX. It also supports VGA cards as long as 420mm.
- It also sports two USB 3.0 supports, one USB 3.1 support, HD Audio.
Where The Lian LI Dynamic PC 011 Needs Improvement
While this case towers in aesthetics and features, the cable management feature can use some improvement. The routing can be a pain to manage especially during upgrades.
- Very aesthetic and premium build
- Multiple Motherboard configuration support
- Portable and lightweight
- Price friendly as it comes for just $237 on Amazon
Cable management while superb is not very intuitive nor beginner friendly
3. Thermaltake Core X9 Snow Edition
Photo credit Thermaltake
This is a cube-shaped PC case. The case offers a premium sturdy chassis with tempered glass panels for aesthetics.
Its stocky build makes it convenient to add an impressive number of fans and radiators for water cooling purposes. It costs $192 for this case.
How The Thermaltake Core X9 Snow Edition Stands Out
The build of this PC case is unconventional, but it provides some advantages. The first noticeable feature is the roominess and ease of configuration. Another top feature is the stackability; you can stack up to five of these cases and even remodel them as servers if you like. It supports a GPU length of 590mm.
Other Top features include:
1. Great Support for Water Cooling Components
The PC case provides an array of options that give you remarkable flexibility in configuring your water cooling installation. Some of them are:
Support for 120,140, 180, 240, 280, 360, 420, 480mm radiator stacks on the front, top, side, back and bottom sections.
Support for 120, 140 and 200mm fans on the top, front, side, rear, back and bottom sections.
2. Space for Multiple Disks
You can install as many as six disks on this PC case without the build feeling cramped. This is in addition to supporting a dual extension VGA card of a length of 590mm. There is also enough space to pack in a 200mm PSU still and have plenty of free room to spare.
3. Cable Management
The structure of the case allows for cables to move in one direction hence preventing criss crossing of wires in the internals. The compartmentalization baked in the build lets you manage cable installation and upgrades without doing much housekeeping.
4. Aesthetically Pleasing Design
The side panels are made of tempered glass, and the case supports an RGB led lights. This lets you see the glow of the internal components when the PC is running.
5. MotherBoard and Connectivity Support
This case supports the E-ATX, ATX, mini-ATX, micro-ATX form factors. It also provides sufficient ports for four USB 3.0 as well as HD audio and fan controller.
Where The Thermaltake Core X9 Snow Edition Needs Improvement
While the cube casing is quite impressive with enough space, the downside is the weight of the final build. The case also needs to make better use of the free space, so users don’t have to sacrifice the drive storage sections for additional features.
- Very roomy and spacious interior
- Modular design makes upgrades very easy
- Excellent cable management
- Rich support for different motherboard form factors (E-ATX, ATX, mini-ATX, micro-ATX)
- Sturdy, premium build with support for stackability
- Relatively cheaper than competitors
- Final build is usually bulky and inconvenient to move around
- Internal space can be better organized to provide extra features for installing components.
4. DeepCool ARK90 E-ATX Case
The DeepCool ARK90 case is a minimalist full tower PC case for gamers who want simple but pretty PC case solutions.
The case design is also optimized for water-cooling with multiple provisions for fans and coolers inside the spacious compartments.
It supports a GPU length of 310mm. The case costs $460 for one.
How The DeepCool ARK90 E-ATX case Stands Out
The design of the internal compartments is optimized to keep all the technical decisions simple. The PSU, cable management and drive storage compartments are nicely arranged to intuitively direct installers even those with beginner experience.
Other notable features are:
1. Extensive Water Cooling Support
The case provides options and flexibility for installing water-cooling components. The intuitive and straightforward tower design allows you to install fans, radiators, and coolers for your CPU and GPU cooling. Supported configurations include:
120, 240, 360mm radiators including a pre-installed CAPTAIN series DeepCool 280mm radiator
Three 140mm RGB fans for heat dissipation in the graphics card compartment.
Despite the minimalist design, the case sports impressive RGB light support. It also comes with a side panel entirely made of tempered glass to show these RGB when the PC is running.
The transparent water tube and flow pump show the liquid flow process illuminated by the LED RGB.
3. Multiple Drive Support
The case provides a feature to allow you to install as many as five drives in the disk compartment. It has enough space for three 3.5’ Drive Bays and an additional three 2.5’ SSD.
4. Motherboard Form Factor Support
The PC case supports many popular form factors for motherboards. This means you can easily upgrade and modify your installation in the future.
Supported form factors are E-ATX, ATX, MATX, and Mini ITX.
Where The DeepCool ARK90 E-ATX case Needs Improvement
This case provides excellent features all round but may turn off gamers who prefer the louder aesthetic features over its minimalist design.
- Relatively cheaper than the competition
- Support for RGB lights
- Excellent water cooling support
- Optimal cable management and support for multiple motherboard form factors
- Multiple drive support
- The minimalist design can be perceived as bland
- The build is not as premium as competition
Cougar Panzer Evo
Photo credit Panzer
This full tower PC case is styled like a military tank but this time for Gamers. The high-performance hardware exterior also testifies to its muse – a tank.
How The Cougar Panzer Evo case Stands Out
Asides the obvious unconventional design, the Cougar Panzer Evo has excellent support for water-cooling. And you don’t have to sacrifice the spaces for other PC components for it too. The support for multiple drives as well as motherboards is one key feature that keeps it quite ahead of its competition in the same price range. It only costs $149.99 on Amazon.
Other features are:
1. Extensive Support for Cooling Components Installation
To prevent your tank from frying, this PC case provides 120/140mm radiators racks. You can install these individual units in crates of 240mm, 280mm or 360mm.
All these can be installed on the top, side, bottom, read and back of the case. This gives you limitless options in designing your cooling solution.
The RGB light on the queer design of this case is a pleasure to behold. The lights come up once the PC is booted. This lets you see the internals of the radiators and other cooling components in action.
3. Support for Different Motherboard Form Factors
Y0u would rarely find a motherboard that doesn’t sit comfortably inside this PC case. The case supports different form factors including:
Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, ATX, E-ATX, CEB.
4. Support For Multiple Drives
The PC case allows you to install as many as six memory drives inside its bay. This means you have a chunk of memory options for installation of all the games you’ll hope to play.
Where The Cougar Panzer Evo case Needs Improvement
Despite the stylish design and multiple support for different components, this PC case does poorly in cable management.
Although channels are provided for the cables, they aren’t optimally positions to get the wires out of the way. In some cases, you’ll find yourself improvising alternative routes for the cables.
- Very affordable
- Support for lengthy GPU (up to 390mm)
- Multiple motherboard form factor support
- Excellent cooling features
- Multiple memory drives support
- The design may appeal to a niche set of gamers
- Cable management could use some work
- Only one style available
How To Choose a WaterCooled PC for Gamers
Photo credit Unsplash
1. Support for MotherBoard Form Factor
For gamers, a PC case is expected to hold up for a pretty long time. This means it should support upgrades. Having a PC case with support for multiple motherboard form factors will ensure that you can swap out this piece of hardware easily when you need to make an upgrade.
2. Extensive Options for Fans and Radiators
Different gamers have different expectations about their gaming configurations. A PC case with extensive options for cooling components will give you more flexibility during installations and future upgrades.
3. Support for Longest Length for GPU
GPUs are the powerhouse of the gaming rigs. The longer the GPU your PC case can support the more upgrade-proof it is. This way if newer longer GPUs show up in the scene, you’ll not be back on the PC case shopping markets.
4. Ports and Connectivity
This makes your overall use of the PC case a lot easier. The more extensive the arrays of ports and connectivity hubs you have the better.
5. Disk and Drive Bay Options
Storing tons of games and documents comes naturally to the average gamer. Always choose the PC case with support for multiple disk drives over one with limited options.
6. Price To Value Ratio
More expensive cases are not necessarily better cases. The best case is the one that offers the most comprehensive features at the friendliest price.
Water Cooled PC Games for Winners
The winner in this epic standoff is the Phanteks Enthoo Elite PC case. It ticks all the boxes sufficiently for all cadres of gamers.
It possesses one of the roomiest interiors and vastly superior support for water cooling configurations.
Other features where it leads the pack is the drive bay options, ports and connectivity, and motherboard support.
Sure, the price is steep, but you get what you pay for. Its premium build and aesthetic appeal also make up for the high price.
Final Verdict: Water-Cooled PC Case for Gamers
Choosing a water cooled PC case for gaming should be a pretty straightforward process. In this article, we’ve listed the most important areas to consider before taking the plunge. I’m sure that with this guide you’ll be well equipped to make the best decision for your next gaming PC case.