When looking to build a new PC, most people would usually think about getting the best CPU and GPU for their systems. While one cannot argue with that, they are often overlooking one important thing: The case.
You see, even if you run a high-end system, you’d still want to buy a really good case with great airflow and aesthetics to go along with it.
And, since most people would want to spend the bulk of their budget on the main components, this article will give you the best budget pc cases in 2020.
What to Look for in a Case?
So, what do you really need to look for when you are buying a PC case? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider.
First is the size of your motherboard and graphics card. You want a case that can fit all of the components without any clearance issues. This is also for compatibility reasons as you wouldn’t buy an m-ATX case if you have an ATX motherboard, right?
Second is good airflow. For components to run at their peak performance, they should remain relatively cool and good airflow just makes sure that hot air gets exhausted outside the case.
Lastly is aesthetics. Case recommendations are pretty subjective because while most of the PC cases out there perform admirably well, some people might not like the aesthetics of some brands.
That is why even though I can recommend certain PC cases to you, it is still your decision what you want to choose when you are looking to buy one.
If you have additional money, you can always add more fans to the case for better airflow.
Although most PC Chassis come with fans, they are not RGB, so for people that want a light show, they might as well buy some additional RGB fans to go along with it as well.
Anyway, with all of those things being said, I am now going to talk about the best budget cases of 2020.
Best Budget PC Cases
1.Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
For people that are on a tight budget and want an mATX case that doesn’t break the bank, the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L is definitely a really good choice.
It has a mesh design all over the top and the front of the case which means ample airflow in a lot of different areas.
The IO ports are situated on the left side of the case as opposed to the top portion where they usually reside.
Even though it is an mATX case, it is still a bit taller than other mATX cases out there which means that you have a little bit more room to fit bigger graphics cards and whatnot.
My only gripe with this case is that it is mostly made of plastic but that is to be expected considering its budget-friendly price.
2.Thermaltake Core V21
Another mATX form factor case, the Thermaltake Core V21 is what many consider the best micro-ATX case under $100.
It has a rather compact form factor which is ideal for people that want to build a budget gaming system that they just want to tuck away safely in a small space.
The case has a modular design which means that if you do not need the added trays or whatnot, you can just simply remove them if they are not needed.
For the airflow, it is really good because it has large ventilated panels that come with magnetic dust filters. You can even fit a large 200mm intake fan at the front for great case airflow.
The only problem with this is that although the case comes with a 200mm fan, its performance leaves much to be desired. You’d want to upgrade to a much better fan if you want optimal airflow.
Still, its compact form factor and its design are really well thought out and I can recommend this case in a heartbeat.
3.Corsair Carbide Series 275R
For people that want a clean-looking case, the Corsair Carbide Series 275R is worth considering.
It is an ATX mid-tower chassis that has up to 360mm radiator support so that you can add a hefty radiator for an amazing CPU cooling performance.
The case is very easy to work with and you can add as many as 6 cooling fans in total for that sweet RGB goodness.
This ATX case is almost perfect. What else could have been improved? Well, its cable management space at the back is a bit too tight, though you can easily use cable ties to rectify the problem.
If you are looking for the ultimate minimalist budget PC case, the Corsair Carbide Series 275R will not disappoint.
4.Cooler Master Silencio S400
There is a group of people that value silence more than anything else and if you are in the said group, then you will find the Cooler Master Silencio S400 to be an appealing option.
This is one of the only cases that are under $100 to have sound dampening sheets which means that noise is not going to be a problem with this one.
It is an m-ATX, mid-tower chassis that has ample radiator support and you can mount as many as six fans inside.
The case has a very simple design and it has a solid build quality that will make it last for many years.
Now, since this case is built for maximum silence, you might experience higher temperatures than when you buy one that is built with maximum airflow in mind. I guess that that is a compromise that you will have to make if you want to build a completely silent PC.
Still, for a completely silent case under $100, the Cooler Master Silencio S400 is a good choice.
5.Lian-Li Lancool II
A budget case offering from a reputable brand, the Lian-Li Lancool II is a newly released case that is built with maximum airflow in mind.
It is a mid-tower, ATX chassis that not only has amazing airflow but also allows you to see your PC in all its glory (and then some).
The chassis is so spacious that you can use even the tallest graphics card on the market.
You can also use as many as six fans as well: three on the front, two at the top, and one on the back. It also comes with three dust filters: One at the front, bottom, and top.
Its IO ports include a headphone and microphone jack, 2x USB 3.0, and 1 USB 3.1 Type-C port. Just make sure that your motherboard supports the last one.
At the front, you get a meshified panel that has RGB connections that light up the said panel.
The performance of the case is so amazing that it receives ample airflow to keep your components cool.
This is a perfect ATX chassis without any compromises.
6.Fractal Design Meshify-C
Although this case was originally priced at $120, you can snag one up a little under $100 depending on where you get it.
Anyway, the Fractal Design Meshify-C is considered the best mid-tower ATX chassis on the market and for good reasons.
The case is called ‘Meshify’ simply because it provides your PC with a lot of airflow coming from the intake fans. You have the meshed front to thank for that.
Its IO ports include two USB 3.0 ports, a headphone and microphone jack, the power, and the reset button.
The said chassis has a lot of space for you to work with which means that you can buy any sized graphics card or PC components and they should fit inside nicely.
Despite it being a great performing case, it still has some disadvantages, albeit minor ones at that.
First is that the USB 3.0 headers at the front of the case are a bit too short for my liking which means that it may be hard for you to plug it onto your motherboard.
Furthermore, the dust filter that is situated at the bottom that is intended for the PSU is difficult to remove, probably as a safety measure.
Still, for its amazing performance, great airflow, and overall design, the Fractal Design Meshify-C is one that I can also recommend wholeheartedly.
No matter how expensive or inexpensive your PC components are, it is very important that you include a well-performing case along with it.
It is crucial that you choose the one that is right for you. Look at the form factor if it supports the size of both your motherboard and your graphics card. Make sure that you look at the measurements so that you will not run into trouble when building your system.
Aside from that, choosing a PC case is subjective from an aesthetics standpoint. You might like how spacious one case may be but others might not like how it looks.
Still, with the recommendations listed above, your money will be well spent.
Amazon Luna- Everything You Need to Know About Amazon’s Cloud Gaming Service
It seems that cloud gaming is the future as a lot of companies are pooling their resources just to make things happen.
Amazon Luna is Amazon’s foray into cloud gaming and it is going to be available soon. Read further to find out more information about this new experience.
Google has paved the way for cloud gaming to come to the fore with the release of the Stadia not too long ago. Although it was mired with a lot of different issues, it seems that the company has found a way to make things work.
Amazon also wants in on the action and although there are some similarities with Luna and Stadia, there are also some stark differences as well.
Before I begin, I just want to explain the concept of cloud gaming. Basically, instead of downloading games to your gaming PC or whatever platform you choose to install them, you will just stream those games using data centers that are scattered all over the world.
It should go without saying that you need to have a fast internet connection to make this happen and so that you will not experience high latency (which was a huge problem when Stadia launched).
That being said, the premise of Google Stadia is that you need to either purchase an individual game so that you can play it at any time (forever) or you could subscribe to the monthly plan and play the games that are on offer every month (and continue to play them so long as you’re subscribed).
With Amazon Luna, you will be presented with different channels that you can subscribe to. Each of these channels has different games on offer which makes this quite appealing for game developers to show their mettle.
Right now, the platform is still in beta and there are only two channels available at the moment- Amazon’s own Luna Plus and the Ubisoft Channel. The latter will have 50 games that you can play right away and more Ubisoft games will be added in the future.
Keep in mind that this channel-based system makes it so that developers can price their services accordingly. It remains to be seen how much Ubisoft will charge individual users, so stay tuned for that.
1080p and 4K Gaming
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna will support both 1080p and 4K resolutions. Of course, the latter would be more taxing and you will need a fast internet connection to be able to enjoy high-fidelity gaming. I suggest that you get a WiFi 6 router and a compatible device to make the most out of your experience.
Unlike Stadia, Amazon Luna is more flexible in that it supports a lot of different devices. Not only can you play on your PC, but you can also choose to play it using your iOS devices, Android phones, and you can even utilize the company’s own FireTV devices as well.
Now, there has been this entire debacle about Apple’s 30% cut on every app in its App store but the good news is that Amazon can circumvent that.
You see, when you are going to play on your iOS devices, the application will actually be a PWA or a Progressive Web App. Basically, the game that you want to play will run in a contained web browser instead of it being an actual application that you install in your device. This bypasses the whole 30% cut issue which is a good thing.
NVIDIA Hardware Use
According to a recent Steam survey, the vast majority of PC users are all using NVIDIA graphics cards. This is a good thing for Amazon Luna because it means that it can support a lot more people.
That is because the company’s cloud gaming service will use NVIDIA GPUs instead of AMD cards (which Stadia uses for graphics processing).
Supposing that Amazon Luna will be more popular than any other cloud gaming service out there, NVIDIA will enjoy huge profits as a result.
Can Be Streamed to Popular Sites
Twitch is arguably the most popular streaming platform today and Amazon is looking to forge a partnership with the said service to allow you to stream your games to the popular website.
The said platform is widely used as a means of generating revenue- something that is quite popular today due to the recent pandemic.
This move also makes it appealing as well as more and more content creators can use Amazon Luna to reach a broader audience.
New Controller with Alexa Support
Just like Google Stadia, Amazon Luna also requires you to get a special controller. The good thing is that the control will have a microphone so that you can use Alexa for specific voice commands.
What’s interesting about the Luna’s controller is that it is completely connected to the Cloud, which means that you do not have to pair it with the specific device you are going to use to play games online.
According to Amazon’s website, it should have a grippy texture and will feature low-friction thumbsticks that provide maximum performance across the board. By using the controller’s microphone, you can actually tell Alexa to fire up the specific game that you want to play, so long as it is inside the channel that you’ve subscribed to.
Amazon Luna is quite enticing, at least, on paper. It is shaping up to be a better cloud gaming service compared to its competitors but the service is still in beta, so there are more things that need ironing out before its official release.
Right now, there are only two channels that are available and Ubisoft hasn’t imposed its pricing yet. The Amazon Luna channel is priced at $6.99
If you are interested in getting in on the action, you can be an early beta tester by subscribing to the service.
Amazon Luna will be out sometime in October.
Acer Nitro XV340CK Review- A Greatly Competitive Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Under $500
Ultrawide monitors used to be a niche display in that the only people who work on productivity tasks and creative workloads usually buy them.
Fortunately, the display technology has evolved and gamers, too, can enjoy a much wider screen.
Today, I am going to review the Acer Nitro XV340CK which is a 34-inch ultrawide gaming monitor that is priced competitively.
Even though this is marketed as a gaming monitor, the Acer Nitro XV340CK actually doesn’t look like it. It looks simple and I love the aesthetics, especially if you want to place this in your office.
The only thing that might make you think that this is a gaming display is that red accent that you can find on the base of the monitor but that’s about it.
Anyway, let’s start with the stand. Aside from the aforementioned red accent, the stand provides good ergonomics.
It gives you the ability to swivel the monitor a complete 360 degrees, you can tilt it to 35 degrees back and you can adjust the height up to 5.9 inches. Because this is an ultrawide monitor, you cannot put this thing in portrait mode.
I love the fact that this monitor has slim bezels. At only 0.4 inches, you can place another monitor right beside it and it wouldn’t really take a lot of screen real estate at all.
The overall build quality is good. Despite the fact that it doesn’t feel premium, at least when compared to the best gaming monitors out there, it still feels sturdy nevertheless.
For the ports, you get two Displayport 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.0 ports. Due to the wealth of ports on offer, you can use this for your PC or your game console.
The only thing that might be cumbersome for some users is that the OSD controls are situated at the back of the monitor- particularly on the bottom right side. The buttons are also a bit smaller than usual, so you may have a hard time pressing the right ones.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK has a 34-inch IPS display with a resolution of 3440 x 1440 and an aspect ratio of 21:9. It is the same as other ultrawide gaming monitors that you can find on the market so there is no problem with that.
You do have the option to enable the picture-in-picture mode so that you can divide the display in two if you wish to fire up two different programs at the same time. This is why it is not only a handy gaming monitor, but it can also be used for office work as well.
Its contrast and brightness leave much to be desired. With a native contrast ratio of 1048:1 and peak SDR brightness of only 247 nits, it is not the best display when it comes to these things.
However, its redeeming quality is that its colors are accurate. After calibration, I got 95% sRGB, 82% AdobeRGB, and 81% DCI-P3. It is relatively color accurate and it would have been nice for creative workloads, but its peak brightness just falls short of making it an ideal display for such use-cases.
It is also worth noting that if you are in a well-lit room that the brightness could be a huge issue. The good thing is that the display’s matte finish can help reduce glare significantly, though you will still find that it is not bright enough in some situations.
I am surprised by the fact that there is literally no color bleed on the Acer Nitro XV340CK. This is unheard of, especially since ultrawide monitors are notorious for this.
Sure, its peak brightness and contrast could have improved, but gamers are not especially focused on those things. If anything, it is the performance of the display that usually takes the cake and I am happy to report that you won’t be disappointed with the Nitro XV340CK.
Normally, with IPS panels, they tend to not have a good response time, but that is actually not the case here. At just 5.3ms, it is definitely one of the best out there even when compared to other, more premium models.
How about input lag? This is a speed monitor and as expected, input lag is minimal. At just 4.2ms, I am really blown away by the performance of this thing. Every keypress on your gaming keyboard will register almost immediately and that is really great from a competitive standpoint.
It is also worth noting that its 144Hz refresh rate is ideal, especially since most gamers are clamoring for high refresh rate displays anyway.
This is a FreeSync gaming monitor and you can enable this variable refresh rate feature in both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
To get a hold of the said features, it is important for you to know that you should use the DisplayPort cable that is included in the box. There is also an included HDMI cable if you want to use this display for your Xbox or Playstation consoles.
With all of those things being said, if I were to ask you how much this thing costs, what will be your guess? If you’ve guessed around $700, you’re wrong.
The Acer Nitro XV340CK is priced at just $450! At that price, you are getting a relatively color-accurate monitor, a really fast display with minimal input lag, and a vast number of ports that you can use for your PC or game consoles.
Sure, its contrast and peak brightness could have been improved, but if you are talking about raw gaming performance, the Acer Nitro XV340CK blows other ultrawide gaming monitors out of the way.
Just make sure that you have a nice gaming PC for this thing to work nicely. Other than that, I highly recommend the Acer Nitro XV340CK for its price and performance.
HyperX Cloud Stinger S- A Comfortable 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset
As an audiophile, I’ve always loved HyperX’s gaming audio solution. They are inexpensive and for the price, you are actually getting sound quality that you normally would only hear from expensive products.
In today’s article, I am going to review the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. This is a budget offering that aims to improve upon the original Cloud Stinger with the inclusion of a 7.1 surround sound option.
Do I recommend this headset? Find out later on in the article.
The HyperX Cloud Stinger S is actually quite similar to the original version. It has the same pleather ear cups that envelope your ears quite nicely and the clamping force of the headset itself is actually quite okay.
I’ve been receiving reports that there are some people that have problems with the tightness or, shall I say, how loose this thing can be. But that will probably be a result of the size of your head and not the actual product itself. For me, the fit was okay, but your mileage may vary.
Although this thing is predominantly made in plastic, the overall build quality is good, though I would advise you not to throw this headset when you lose a round in a MOBA game or first-person shooter.
There is a microphone on this headset and just like the original, it is not removable. It would have been nice if you could remove it when you are not using it because even if you fold the microphone (which also acts as a way of muting it), you will still see it which can be annoying at times.
This thing is quite simple and all you have for the controls is the volume slider that is located on the right ear cup.
While other HyperX gaming headsets come with a carrying pouch, I am sad to say that the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t have one.
All you get in the box aside from the headset is a USB dongle that is attached to a relatively long cable and some documentation. And, since you use this thing completely wired, it can also be used in your Playstation or other game consoles as well.
The 3.5mm analog cable should be inserted in the USB dongle if you wish to use its 7.1 surround sound implementation, but if you are just going to watch movies or play non-competitive games, I suggest that you do not use it.
There are two modes that you can utilize if you are going to use the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. You can use its 3.5mm headphone jack and enjoy stereo sound or you could insert that into the included USB dongle and use the 7.1 surround sound feature.
Keep in mind that if you are going to use the 7.1 output that it is only supported on the PC since you will need the NGENUITY software to enable it.
That being said, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S’ sound signature leans more toward being bright and with a little emphasis on the bass. This seems to be the preference of the majority of gamers since lower frequencies can make those in-game sounds pop-out more.
I also love the mid frequencies as it is quite balanced as well. I’ve had no problems listening to in-game dialog and when I am using the microphone, it just works really well.
Although the high frequencies are okay, I would say that it is the weakest of the bunch, though not so much as to diminish the overall sound quality. You will still hear the sibilance of the cymbals and lead guitars, but it is not as pronounced as the lower and mid frequencies.
As for the 7.1 surround sound, you should enable it in the companion software and it is only available when you are on the PC.
Anyway, its surround sound is okay but I say this because it is a budget gaming headset. If you compare it to the more premium ones, this is subpar at best. Still, you could enable it in your favorite games but I will advise against it if you are just listening to music or watching movies.
Despite a relatively good clamping force, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S doesn’t do so well in terms of sound isolation. People around me can still hear what I was listening to, so this might not be ideal if you are playing at night and there are people sleeping.
There is usually this notion that budget headsets have horrible microphones but not the HyperX Cloud Stinger S. In fact, I would go on to say that it has one of the better ones on the market.
Instead of sounding tinny, the microphone quality of the Cloud Stinger S is full-bodied and my teammates can hear every word I said without any problems.
The volume of the microphone is also quite good as well. Normally, with budget offerings, you tend to sound a bit ‘too far’ but that is not the case here.
Overall, I am quite pleased with the microphone. The only thing that I do not like is that the flippable microphone may impede your vision sometimes, but I think that you can adjust to this.
For a budget headset, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is definitely one of the better sounding ones. I also love the fact that the microphone’s quality is top-notch and it can even go head-to-head against its more premium counterparts.
I am just a bit disappointed that you do not get a carrying pouch with this one because other HyperX gaming headsets have them. But, this is a minor inconvenience.
I did not feel the need to talk about the NGENUITY software mainly because it is pretty barebones and all you can do with it is to enable the 7.1 surround sound, adjust the volume and microphone, and that’s about it. There is no equalizer present which is quite odd.
Still, for what it is giving you, the HyperX Cloud Stinger S is highly recommended. This thing costs $60.
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