A computer case does not play a direct role in a computer system. Neither it affects
the performance nor does it cater much to custom cooling; it is still essential to the
overall computer system.
This is because it influences the airflow in the system to keep it cool while protecting and hosting all of the components.
So, you can’t end up with a good-looking PC case; it has to be well-built, functional, and perfect for your PC build.
Many brands, high-end or moderate but reasonably priced options, are available
with different designs, sizes, and a wide variety of feature sets. Picking the suitable
PC case for water cooling could be more challenging, especially when opting for
the water-cooled PC build.
In this post, we’ll discuss some significant concerning factors; that you have to
consider when shopping around a PC case for the next project. Hopefully, you’ll
get a good idea regarding this matter by the end of this article.
For Water Cooling PC Case Mattes- Why
There is a lot to consider, even more than the air-cooled system that could fulfill
your cooling needs. When you’ve decided to build a custom water-cooling loop
inside a computer case needs to be spacious enough to hold all components
Otherwise, you would struggle to put together an entire loop yourself, including reservoir, tubing components, pump, and more.
However, many PC enthusiasts have some “special needs”; they look for modular
cases with smart cable management options, removable dust filters, and more.
Moreover, when they would use radiators and liquid to dissipate heat from
components, it affects the usual airflow factor. Moreover, the other PC components
like – RAM, VRMs, chipsets, etc., require active airflow inside. So, your chosen
computer cases must have a unique design and size to provide full liquid cooling
What to consider in a PC case?
1. Internal Space
The space inside the cabinet is the first concern for custom cooling PC builders.
They need to fit the pump, reservoir, hefty radiators, and other parts of the water-
cooling loop inside the case.
You only need 50mm of space for fan mounts and radiators with air-cooled systems, and the cooling loop works fine with a 25-30mm thick radiator.
Whereas the most mainstream PC case offers only 25-30mm headroom above the
motherboard, you could mount the fan only within the space. The cases with 30mm
of headroom, space could cause issues during the fan and radiator placement.
Many thicker radiators for water-cooling are available, starting from 80mm. Moreover, you need additional space for the pump, reservoir, and tubing components.
Here, we’re giving just a basic idea about the internal layout; it’s not the overall
dimension of a PC case for a water-cooling system. Several high-end water cooling kits make it possible to fit the major cooling parts in a small PC case.
2. Case Size
There is no standard dimension for a PC case. It totally depends on the
measurement of your planned water-cooling loop. Though, you’ll get three
common-sized cases – full tower, mid-tower, and small form factor cases out of the
The full tower cases are large enough for multiple GPU builds. The mid-tower PC cases could be a good option for water-cooling builds, though it offers all shapes and sizes. Both provide enough internal spaces for the pump, tubing, reservoir, and large radiator.
The internal space of the small form factor (ITX) cases allow you to set custom loops but could be too compact for water-cooling loops. We suggest choosing full or mid format cases for the new PC builders, while the ITX is reserved for experienced PC builders.
3. Measurements and Mounting of the Radiator
Ensuring enough space for radiator fits is the most problematic factor in choosing a
water-cooling system case. If you use a small 120mm or 140mm sized radiator, you’ll still need a minimum of 50mm extra space between the case and motherboard to fit the fan.
However, some high-end computer cases provide up to 360 mm radiators and 3x 120mm fan mount supports.
Aside from the radiator fits and measurements, you’ll also need to analyze the
mounting points. Your chosen PC case must have sufficient mounting points.
Most full and mid format PC cases feature the longest mounting points for radiators and fans on the top and front portions of the cabinet.
If you plan to use a unique form factor or specialized case, you have to decide how
many mounting points are needed, depending on the radiator size.
As you know, a 360mm radiator requires three 120mm fan slots, though a 360mm radiator would be better; if you plan the cooling loop with a 240mm or 280mm radiator.
However, you could go for the 120mm or 140mm radiators with a low to the mid-
tier processor. The 240mm or 280mm radiators demand the support of the Intel
Core i9 or AMD Ryzen 9 CPUs.
The 480mm to 560mm sized radiator could be used with a GPU unit. Though, you could use multiple radiators linking with the tubing system.
Here, you need to calculate how many radiators are required to handle everything you plan.
You could face compatibility issues with the length of the graphics card, the height
of the air CPU cooler, and the size of the cooling radiator while shopping for a PC
So before purchasing the case, you have to follow these steps. Make a spec
sheet; next, finalize the parts you need according to the sheets; then, check their
compatibility with the chosen case, and finally, lock the deal.
Choosing the PC case before deciding what parts need to be cool could be more
challenging. The inexperienced users often have trouble planning as they are
unsure about their radiator measurements.
We would suggest going for a test-fit before purchasing anything.
Suppose you are still unsure about the compatibility of any other consideration
points; in that case, you could go for a custom loop configurator to ease your PC
build project. And enhance the choice options according to your plan.