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The Best Horizontal PC Cases in 2021

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Apr 24, 2021

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There’s no denying that vertical cases rule the market. Check any “best of” list for PC cases, and it’ll be dominated by tower-style cases. There’s nothing wrong with towers, but the best horizontal cases can do some things better. For instance, they’re ideal for compact HTPC builds and living room PCs while also sidestepping common issues like GPU sag.

Horizontal PC cases look different, too, and they might just offer the spark of inspiration you need for your next build. Whatever your reasons, we’ve picked out a few of the best horizontal cases for your consideration.

Our Picks for Best Horizontal PC Case

1. Cryorig Taku

Measurements (H x W x D)5.6 x 22.4 x 12.2 inches
Motherboard SupportMini ITX
PSU SupportSFX, SFX-L
Maximum GPU Length11 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height1.89 inches
Expansion SlotsTwo
Fans1x 92mm fan
Storage• 2x 2.5” SSD
• 1x 3.5” HDD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/Out

Cryorig isn’t a name you’d usually associate with a PC case. The company’s better known for its CPU coolers and system fans, but sticking out amongst their cooling solutions is the Taku horizontal PC case. It’s undoubtedly one of the most eye-catching and unique horizontal ITX PC cases you’ll ever come across.

From the white aluminum finish to solid wooden feet, the Taku is aesthetically a cut above other manufacturers’ horizontal PC cases. It’s a classy, great-looking case that belongs in any modern, minimal home office or study. It also doubles as a monitor stand, making it perfect for a pared-down desktop setup.

The Taku makes excellent use of a horizontal orientation. While CPU cooler height is limited, there’s enough width and depth to fit gaming-grade hardware. There’s enough space for an Nvidia RTX 3070 and a small CPU AIO if you’re creative with positioning. You’ll be building a high-end gaming rig in the Taku with no problems, which isn’t something you can say for every horizontal PC case.

Image of our #1 pick for best horizontal PC case

Source: u/CrexisNX

The Taku has a sliding (and removable) internal system tray where you install components. The fact that it slides out makes installing and upgrading hardware a breeze. The Taku also has cut-outs in the top plate designed for cable management and routing. Cryorig really thought things through with the Taku, and it shows.

The only real downside is the price; at $300 or thereabouts, it’s the most expensive case on this list. But that’s the price you have to pay for a clever, unique case that exudes classy minimalism.

2. Thermaltake Core P3

Measurements (H x W x D)5.6 x 22.4 x 12.2 inches
Motherboard SupportATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
PSU SupportATX
Maximum GPU Length17.7 inches (without radiator), 11 inches (with radiator)
Maximum CPU Cooler Height7.1 inches
Expansion SlotsEight
Fans• 3x 120 mm or
• 3x 140 mm
StorageOutside chassis:
• 2x 3.5” HDD or
• 3x 2.5” SSD

Inside chassis:
• 2x 3.5" HDD or
• 2x 2.5" SSD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• 2x USB 2.0
• Audio In/out

Thermaltake’s Core series of cases combines tempered glass and open frames to create some of the most visually striking cases you can buy right now. All of Thermaltake’s Core series, from the mini ITX Core P1 up to the enormous Core P90, were designed for horizontal, vertical, and wall-mounted positions.

We’re recommending the Core P3 as it sits right in the middle of the range. It supports ATX motherboards and has enough room for water cooling and high-end components. You could go for the slightly larger Core P5, but we don’t think it’s a good recommendation for most users due to the $250 premium. You’re only really getting 480 mm radiator support and an extra fan mount on the P5.

The Thermaltake Core P3 follows what the company calls its “Dismantlable Modular Design” philosophy. The 0.2-inch tempered glass panel can be removed for easy access to your computer’s innards. It’s not just the tempered glass, though; the whole case consists of discreet, modular panels that can be disassembled and put together quickly and easily.

Thermaltake Core P3 case laid horizontally

Source: michito on PCPartPicker

Given the case’s open-air nature, we recommend going with a liquid-cooled set up in the Core P3. Air cooling will be fine too, but you might encounter more dust problems than usual since there aren’t any filters to keep the dust away. With a water cooling setup, you’ll at least only have to worry about dust on your radiator.

It’s worth noting that GPU length is limited to a pretty standard 11 inches if you have a radiator and reservoir installed. That’s still enough space for a beefy GPU, but a water-cooled P3 probably isn’t the case for you if you’re rocking something incredibly long like an RTX 3090.

3. Fractal Design Node 202

Measurements (H x W x D)3.2 x 14.8 x 13 inches
Motherboard SupportMini ITX
PSU SupportSFX
Maximum GPU Length12.2 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height2.2 inches
Expansion SlotsTwo
Fans• 2x 120 mm
Storage• 2x 2.5” SSD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/out

Fractal Design is one of our favorite case manufacturers, and when you look at products like the Node 202, it’s not hard to see why. Fractal has designed a small form factor (SFF) 10-liter case with enough space and cooling to support a full-size high-end GPU.

Like Fractal’s other cases, the Node 202’s design is discreet and minimal. Combined with its small size, it makes the Node 202 perfect for a PC that needs to blend in with your furniture and decor. It’d make a great HTPC under a TV, or perhaps a bedroom PC for nighttime media before bed.

That said, Fractal’s made sure the Node 202 can fit a beefy gaming rig, too. The Node 202 puts the motherboard and GPU in separate chambers, improving cooling and allowing you to install bigger GPUs than you might expect.

Fractal Design Node 2020 build example

Source: u/djott3r

The GPU chamber has space for two 120 mm fans to cool your card. The motherboard chamber doesn’t have any fans, but the panels are perforated to help with airflow for your CPU cooler and PSU fan. These airflow grilles and fan intakes have dust covers installed from the factory, a nice touch on Fractal’s part.

Fractal also sells a version of the Node 202 that includes a 450 watt Integra PSU. That’s more than enough power for a decent gaming rig. If you don’t have an SFX PSU, this is a pretty decent option. Just so long as you’re not planning to load your SFF PC up with an Nvidia RTX 3080 or something equally power-hungry.

4. SilverStone GD09

Measurements (H x W x D)6.7 x 17.3 x 14 inches
Motherboard SupportSSI CEB, ATX, Micro ATX
PSU SupportATX
Maximum GPU Length12.2 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height5.4 inches
Expansion SlotsEight
Fans• 2x 120 mm (right panel)
• 1x 120 mm or 80 mm (left panel)
• 2x 80 mm (rear)
Storage• 1x 2.5" SSD
• 2x 3.5" HDD (one with 2.5" support")
• 1x 5.25" optical drive
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/out

SilverStone’s GD09 is one of those rare beasts: a relatively compact horizontal PC case with support for an optical drive. 5.25” drive support is rare enough in standard vertical cases, so seeing one here was a welcome surprise.

Optical drive support makes the GD09 perfect for a living room HTPC that needs to play DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. SilverStone definitely had this sort of use in mind, pointing out how its 14-inch depth fits “comfortably inside [a] home theater cabinet.”

A 5.25” bay isn’t the only unique thing about the GD09. SilverStone also lists support for SSI CEB motherboards, which are slightly wider (10.5 inches) than ATX motherboards (9.6 inches). This might seem a bit odd, but it’s SilverStone’s way of saying that the GD09 supports so-called “EATX” motherboards like the Gigabyte X299X AORUS Master.

silverstone gd09 horizontal pc case build

Source: u/d3cyph3ruk

Whether you need to use an EATX motherboard in a case that’s so HTPC-minded is a whole other matter, but at least the option’s there. Speaking of options, the GD09 can also be rack-mounted by adding SilverStone’s RA02 rackmount ears. If you want to rack up your home PC Linus Sebastian style, the GD09’s a solid, affordable choice.

Silverstone also makes a version of the GD09 with a USB-C front I/O port, called the GD09B-C. Note that only one of the two front USB ports is USB-C here; we’re unsure if a single USB-C port is worth the extra cost. Still, if you absolutely must have a front panel USB-C port, the GD09B-C is one of the few mainstream horizontal cases with one.

5. Cooler Master HAF XB EVO

Measurements (H x W x D)16.7 x 13 x 17.4 inches
Motherboard SupportATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX
PSU SupportATX
Maximum GPU Length13.1 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height7.1 inches
Expansion SlotsSeven
Fans• 2x 120 mm or 140 mm (front)
• 1x 120 mm or 2x 80 mm (rear)
Storage• 4x 3.5" HDD or 2.5" SSD
• 2x 5.25" optical drive
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/out

Cooler Master’s HAF XB EVO is a departure from the other cases on this list. It wasn’t designed to be sleek, or compact, or fit in an HTPC shelf. Instead, Cooler Master created the HAF XB EVO as a hybrid middle ground between a conventional PC case and a test bench targeted at enthusiasts and overclockers.

As part of the company’s storied HAF (“High AirFlow”) range of cases, the XB EVO likely boasts the best cooling performance of the horizontal cases on this list. The pre-installed 120 mm XtraFlo fans push decent amounts of air, and the roomy interior ensures that your parts won’t ever be choked for air.

CPU cooler and GPU length shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll have plenty of space to install a substantial tower cooler and multiple high-end graphics cards. You’re really not making any component tradeoffs compared to a conventional tower case here.

cooler master haf xb build

Source: u/MrReeds

The HAF XB EVO features built-in handles on its sides. It might not seem like a big deal, but a horizontal PC can be more awkward to carry around than a traditional tower because of its width. So, having the handles should prove helpful if you ever need to move your rig.

You won’t win any style awards by building a rig in the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO. But we like it because of its excellent component compatibility and airflow-focused design, all wrapped up in a horizontal layout. If you want a standard no-frills tower case, just on its side, this is probably the closest you’ll get.

Conclusion

Horizontal PC cases aren’t for everyone. But if you’re going for a unique look or you’re facing space constraints, going horizontal might be the right call. For instance, if you need a PC for the living room, the Fractal Node 202 and SilverStone GD09 are both perfect for a TV cabinet or A/V rack.

The Cryorig Taku, our favorite case on the list, is ideal if you’re looking to consolidate your desk setup by having your PC double as a monitor stand. All of the cases on our list serve different purposes, so the best horizontal case for you will depend on what you need it for.

All the best with your case hunt, and don’t forget all the important things to consider when choosing a PC case!

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