"Budget-friendly" is a context-sensitive term. For this article, we defined it as "under £500". We searched the internet for the top three cases of computers that (currently) cost less.
Overview Corsair carbide 270R
The Corsair Carbide 270R is a cabinet designed with simplicity in mind. From convenient cable management channels to multiple liquid and air cooling configuration options, it offers several features that make setup as simple as possible.
If you've ever found yourself in death's prison with the legendary Gorgon Medusa, you'll have some idea what it's like trying to sort out all 30,000 power cables connected to most power supplies. Long story short, it sucks.
The Corsair Carbide 270R has the answer to this problem in the form of built-in channels and cabinets to plug cables into. The entire power supply can even be hidden under a metal plate, giving a visually clean finish with only a few inches of some cables visible.
All that empty space not taken up by cables is also good news for your CPU and GPU temples. There's plenty of airflow from front to back, and if you choose liquid cooling, most of these systems are compatible. (In fact, with ATX designs with a single GPU in the middle of the tower, this is one of the best cases we've ever seen when it comes to keeping temperatures down using only the case fans).
Intuitive interior design combined with clear labeling makes the Carbide 270R very user friendly. If you're not sure where to place an item, simply look for a print of the same size and shape. This case also allows for SSDs to be mounted vertically (which should be used for even better airflow).
Our complaints in this case are pretty minor. The connectors are arranged vertically on the front panel, as opposed to the much more common arrangement on the top of the case. Nevertheless, it's a minor inconvenience at worst - you might even like it better. We also recommend buying the solid side panel version. It's cheaper anyway ($60 versus $65), and the fenestrated version has panels made of cheap plastic that scratches easily.
Rosewill THOR V2 Review
Rosewill seems to be pretty good with medium sized computer cases. The THOR V2 case should be both simple and easy to customize. As long as you can decipher the fan installation instructions, this is an excellent budget case.
Why have about fifteen little case fans when you can have a huge one that looks like it came from a cartoon bunker of super villains? Let's face it, the colossal fan on the side of the THOR V2 looks pretty silly, but it does what fans are supposed to do: It sucks a lot of heat out of your case.
The big advantage of having a big fan on the side of your case is that you can put more/larger components in it, since front-to-back airflow isn't as important. It's also surprisingly quiet, you can definitely hear it, but it makes less noise than some 120mm fans.
If sound (or lack thereof) is your main concern, you might want to look at the quietest computer cases available.
In the past, we've had difficulty with PC cases that are mostly made of plastic, but the THOR V2 has a partial pass in that regard. It's made mostly of plastic, but it's sticky, and the internal frame is made mostly of aluminum. As long as you don't drop it, there's no reason to worry about it breaking.
Standard 5.25" expansion slots and 3.5" hard drives can be slid and snapped into place without tools or screws, which is very practical. However, you're out of luck with 2.5" SSDs (partially). You'll have to get some 3.5" to 2.5" bay adapters, but those are cheap enough.
The biggest drawback with this case is the virtually non-existent fan installation instructions, which wouldn't be such a big deal if the process wasn't too intuitive. The case fans come pre-installed; it's the correct connection to the top panel that sucks. You'll have to do some googling and maybe even call Rosewill. (We spent some time trying to find a video for you, but no dice, sorry)
THOR V2 currently costs $99.99 on Amazon, but occasionally drifts above $100, so we can't call it a budget case. Get your hands on it before it gets expensive again.
Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 Overview
Want a computer case that looks minimalist, but still looks like it's from the future? The Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 looks positively like something you'd see in Star Trek. It's also our most affordable PC gaming case, so really affordable.
Not only does the Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 case look like it came from outer space, but it also has plenty of room. It's one of the roomiest PC cases under $100 that we've ever seen, at least when it comes to raw 3D data.
When it comes to interior design, the Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 keeps things simple by leaving the case largely empty. Not having 5.25-inch bays is a shame for some, but on the positive side, the huge increase in usable space does wonders for cooling. There is room for up to five fans, one of which is pre-installed. Liquid cooling will almost certainly not be necessary, but if you decide to go that route, there is plenty of room for it.
As radical as the Corsair Carbide SPEC-06 is, it still has caveats. For example, the cable management isn't the best and you'll have clutter issues if you try to build an expensive facility. Also, some customers report issues with installing additional fans.