For most people, a desktop PC isn’t something they need to move continuously from one place to another.
It’s because most desktop PCs are heavier, bulkier, and not easy to move frequently. But there can be some situations where you want to take your PC with you outside.
One of those scenarios is the LAN parties.
LAN parties are basically the events where many people gather, to form a local network connection, and then play some multi-player online games. The number of participants in these types of events can range anywhere from 5/10 to a couple hundreds.
Since these events are mostly BYOC in nature (Bring Your Own Computer), having a compact PC Case is essential because it’ll be difficult for you to roam around with a full-tower build that weighs more than 20 Kg.
But before we get into the main roundup of these portable PC chassis, let’s take a look at some of the important factors to note into these cases.
Best LAN Party Case 2020 Buying Guide
- Cooler Master HAF XB EVO (Best ATX LAN party Case)
- SilverStone ML08B (Best Mini-ITX LAN party Case)
- BitFenix Prodigy M (Best mATX LAN party Case)
Things To Look For In A Portable PC Case
Features like cooling, hardware compatibility, and RGB are common among all types of PC Cases, but there are some additional features which set portable chassis apart.
In portable cases, a carrying handle is usually an overlooked featured when in reality, it is the opposite. I don’t know why companies have stopped making handles on their cases because they make it really convenient for you to carry the case, especially if that case is slightly bigger in terms of size.
Since you’ll move around with your case a lot of times, it has to be durable enough to withstand the amount of abuse it’ll get in the entire process. That’s why a portable PC case should be lightweight yet sturdy enough for the job.
As we’ve discussed about it in the above section, weight can be a decisive factor when it comes to portable PC chassis. These days, most people consider SFF PC cases for the gaming purposes, and I think you should also go for an SFF case, unless you want your PC for non-gaming tasks such as video-editing, graphics designing, and 3D rendering, etc. as well.
These are heavy-duty tasks and require powerful hardware, which would not be suitable to be installed in an SFF case.
Although compactness should be on top of your priority list when choosing a LAN party case, it should be spacious enough to have the main gaming PC components installed into it.
Basically, your case should be large enough to fit a powerful/large graphics card (although compact GPUs are available), a cooler to cool your CPU, your selected motherboard, and a solid power supply unit, inside it. If a case can have those components fit easily, it’s ready for the job.
Best Portable PC Case 2020 Round-up
So now that we’ve discussed the things to look for in a LAN party case, let’s head towards our main roundup.
Cooler Master HAF XB EVO: Check Price On Amazon
Best ATX Portable PC Case 2020
Despite being released in 2013, HAF XB Evo by Cooler Master is still one of the best LAN boxes available in the market, and there are more than enough reasons for that.
For starters, it’s a multi-purpose PC case, which means that you can use it to build a LAN box, a test bench (for enthusiasts and overclockers), or even a home theater PC.
Second is its design which is (despite not being excellent) quite good. You get two compartments: lower one is for PSU and storage devices while the top compartment is for motherboard, GPU, CPU, and other heat-generating components.
On the front side, there are two 120mm fans (upgradable to 140mm) behind a large mesh grill. Below this grill, there are two USB 3.0 ports along with a microphone jack, a headphone jack, a power button, and a reset button.
On both left and right sides, there are removable panels which also feature handles.
These handles don’t look flimsy and can help you carry your build wherever you want. On the back side, there are usual suspects in the form of some fan options, seven expansion slots, and some space for the I/O panel of your motherboard.
Another good thing I found here is the protruded power supply mounting bracket which’ll help the PSU to extend from the back of the case if required, and improve cable management in the process.
In order to make cable management more efficient, there are some hooks through which you can route your cables, and the removable motherboard tray.
The top side is also removable, comes with a mesh grill, and can have a large 200mm fan attached onto it.
Apart from the front panel, the whole case is made up of thick steel which adds to the overall toughness.
In terms of compatibility here are a few things you need to know. The longest graphics card you can put in this case is 334 mm, while the 180 mm is the limit for a liquid cooler.
Despite being smaller in size, XB Evo has a great amount of airflow (due to two internal compartments). Add a cubical design, and a great level of customization into the equation and you get a pretty fair deal in my opinion.
Yes, there are some lighter LAN party cases available than this one, but if you’re looking for something versatile that you can also use as your HTPC or test bench, then this one should be on your list.
SilverStone ML08: Check Price On Amazon
Best Mini-ITX Portable PC Case 2020
Like Cooler Master Evo, ML08 by Silverstone can also help you in building a multi-purpose portable PC.
Looks wise, it’s similar to its earlier-released sibling RVZ02 but with rather small profile. Such is its compactness that you may confuse it with a desktop-grade NAS at first glance.
But despite all this compactness, SilverStone claims that this PC case can be used to build a powerful gaming PC. The other thing that makes ML08 different from RVZ02 is a handle at the top side.
Due to its vertical design, it’s better to just have it stand alongside the rest of your rig, but you can also lay it flat in case you want to.
Thanks to all the steel and reinforced plastic used in the build, it’s solid despite weighing only 7.5 lbs – with only a few weak spots, like plastic dust filtering vents on the left and right sides.
Apart from this, the top and back sides are also vented. These vents are even more important because of the fact that there are no case fans inside of ML08-H.
On the front side, there are power and rest buttons along with the two USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks. On the backside, there’s a motherboard cutout that can easily fit any mini-ITX model, and two expansion slots.
The interior is divided into two parts: one is reserved for the GPU while the other end is for rest of the components. You can fit a GPU as long as 330 mm but the CPU cooler support is rather limited at 58 mm. For power, SFX and SFX-L PSUs are supported.
One good thing you’ll find here is the tool-less drive cage which’ll help you assembling it even faster.
Except the lack of case fans and limited support of CPU coolers, there aren’t any flaws you will find in this case.
As for positives, there are many in the form of tool-less SSD assembly, dust filters, good cable-routing options, and a reasonable price.
BitFenix Prodigy M: Check Price On Amazon
Best mATX Portable PC Case 2020
BitFenix Prodigy M is the successor as well as the mATX variant of the original prodigy Case.
One thing that makes this case stand out from the other ones in this roundup is its color options. It’s available in Black, Red, Orange, and White colors.
Like in original prodigy, steel has been used in abundance here, along with some plastic as front bezels, and Fyberflex composite handles and feet, on top and bottom sides receptively.
On its right side, there’s the I/O panel which consists of two USB 3.0 ports, standard audio jacks, a reset button, and a power button.
As far as cooling is concerned, there’s one 120mm fan on the bottom side but you can add one of your own too. In case you want something bigger, you can attach a 200/230 mm fan too, but would have to take out the default 120mm fan for that.
On the top side, you can have two 120mm fans. On the rear, there’s another 120mm fan installed, but you can replace it with a bigger 140mm fan. Above this fan are the five PCIe slots for the mATX motherboard you will install.
Inside the case, there’s a single 5.25′ drive-bay which is removable. Other than this, there are two 3.5′ and three 2.5′ drive-bays. Those 3.5-inch drive-bays can also slot-in a 2.5-inch drive, which means you can have as much as five 2.5-inch storage devices.
All in all, this is a good mATX case with some minor hiccups. For starters, there’s no tool-less installation. Moreover, the handles looks slightly fragile and the wiring on the side panels is a bit short.
Speaking of pros, we have dual-GPU support, 240mm radiator support, inclusion of two fans.