The LAN party is back and if you’re going to participate, it might be a good idea to get the best portable PC case.
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LAN parties were considered a thing of the past, but now they’re back. Sure, they’re not as popular as back in the day, like during QuakeCons of yesteryear, when hundreds of people would gather to play their favorite multiplayer titles. There would be huge rows of PC cases and monitors with games being played on each one. Instead, LAN parties of today are casual gatherings where friends get together either to relive their youth or to experience the latest Destiny 2 raid. If you’re one of those people and if you own a gaming desktop, your PC case gets carried around pretty often.
If that’s the case, there’s one thing that can make your life much easier when it comes to traveling with your gear: a computer case with handles. And today, you get to check out the best portable PC cases with handles. We have two ATX, two mATX, and two portable mini-ITX case models that are the best of the best. While it’s recommended for a portable PC case to be lightweight, you won’t lose much with a full-tower case. Yes, it’ll be heavy as hell, but at least you’ll be able to carry it around much easier than if it didn’t come with a handle.
Before we dive into our list of the best portable cases, we’d like to share a couple of cool articles. For starters, moving your PC around could damage the internal components. A GPU brace can provide extra security to your graphics card on top of preventing GPU sag; we have the best GPU braces guide for anyone interested in extra GPU security. Next, if you move your gaming rig around often, we recommend getting an air CPU cooler instead of an AIO. Our list of the best air coolers for Ryzen CPUs has excellent CPU coolers that will work fine even with Intel processors. Finally, check out our guide for the best 60% keyboards to find a perfect, compact mechanical keyboard to go with your portable gaming PC.
1. Cougar Panzer Max: Best full tower case with handles
The Cougar Panzer Max is an excellent portable case. It’s built like a tank. It can take a bunch of storage drives along with full-size graphics cards (up to 390mm). It supports E-ATX motherboards. It comes with three preinstalled fans and supports up to eight fans in total. You also get two slots for 5.25” devices.
Next, we have great support for water cooling radiators. You can install up to two 360mm radiators on the top and the front side. Cable management is top-notch. The front panel offers 2 USB 3.0 and 2 USB 2 ports. This is great for constant movers since they can attach all peripherals on the front panel.
The case also has a headphone hook and a cool case fan control at the front. Finally, you can carry your keyboard by placing it at the top of the case. Another plus is the full tool-less design.
Overall, the Panzer Max is definitely one of the best portable computer cases around. It’s huge. It has large handles. It comes with a bunch of features. And it looks excellent. Downsides are large size, weight, and design that could be too aggressive for some.
2. Cooler Master MasterCase MC500Mt: Best mid-tower case with handles
The Cooler Master MasterCase MC500Mt is another excellent portable case. This time, we are dealing with a mid-tower unit. It isn’t a full tower case, but it does support E-ATX motherboards. Just note that installing an E-ATX motherboard means covering most cable management holes.
Design is modern and isn’t as aggressive as is the case with Cougar Panzer Max Ultimate. We like this enclosure a lot. Black metal with red details hits the bullseye. But this isn’t just pretty housing for your PC. On top, you have a large handle for carrying the chassis around, along with a stacked front panel.
The front panel includes three USB 3.0 ports along with one USB-C port, fan and LED controllers and audio jacks. You can customize the case whichever you like, thanks to the Free Form modular system. Tool-less design allows for easy installation of storage devices and simple removal of panels.
Colling-wise, there are plenty of options. Support for a 360mm water cooling radiator on the front and up to 280mm on the topside. The case comes with three preinstalled fans and supports up to 6 fans in total. The downsides are poor quality of preinstalled fans, not great cable management, and relatively high price.
3. Cooler Master MasterBox Q300P: Best micro ATX case with handles
The Cooler Master MasterBox Q300P is a portable micro ATX case with its biggest strength being the price. Aside from its affordable price, the Q300P looks quite attractive. The minimalist design with symmetric handles that serve as stands at the bottom leaves a strong first impression.
Add to that two preinstalled RGB fans at the front, and you’ve got yourself one pretty micro ATX case with a handle. You also get one preinstalled fan on the back. Specs-wise, there’s a lot to like for the money.
Solid cable management. Support for up to six fans. Three storage drive bays. The front I/O port is average, with 2 USB 3.0 ports and good old audio in/out jacks. Liquid cooling support is also average at best. You can install one 240mm AIO on the rear side. Top and frontside support only 120mm radiators.
Other downsides include not-so-great airflow and poor quality of preinstalled fans. On the other hand, this is a great micro ATX LAN case. It weighs a bit over 5 kg, has two sturdy handles, and is super portable due to its small size.
4. Lian Li TU-150WX: Best mini-ITX portable case with handles
The Lian Li TU-150WX is a sleek mini-ITX carrying case. You can retract the handle into the case turning it into a perfect minimalist design when placed under the desk. The side panel is completely transparent and easy to remove since the case features a tool-less design. The small size supports even the biggest CPU coolers, so feel free to install high-end gaming processors.
There’s room for up to four fansin total. However, the case doesn’t have preinstalled fans. Water cooling support is next to none. There’s room for one 120mm radiator on the rear, and that’s it. The case supports 2 2.5” or one 2.5” and one 3.5″ storage device. Max GPU length is 320mm. The front panel comes with 2 x USB 3.0, audio jacks, and a USB-C port, which is always nice to see.
The Lian Li TU-150WX is an extremely portable ITX case, so it’s expected to come with limited liquid cooling support. Airflow also could’ve been better. Other downsides are the inadequate size of cable management cutouts and the narrow space behind the motherboard for cables. At least you get additional space at the top for cable management. But if you’re into portable mini ITX cases with handles, this is one of the best choices.
5. SilverStone ML08: Best slim mini-ITX case with handles
We reserved one uniquely looking case for the end of this coverage, the SilverStone ML08. If you want a portable mini ITX case that looks like Agent 47’s briefcase, check out this one.
This is a portable PC case with a handle that takes little to no space. Its slim profile means building the PC inside it will be a pain, but that’s the trade-off if you want a mini ITX case that can be carried anywhere.
The good news is that airflow is pretty solid for a case like this. The GPU has a separate compartment with great airflow. CPU also has apt room to breathe. On the other side, you don’t have room for extra fans. Cable management is also pretty poor.
There’s room for 2 2.5” storage devices, which is solid for an M-ITX case. The max GPU length is 330mm, which is great. Another nice touch is the tool-less design. The handle at the top is extra sturdy, and it looks indestructible. The hidden front panel houses 2 x USB 3.0 porta alongside the usual audio jacks.
The SilverStone ML08 is an intelligently designed m-ITX case with a focus on portability and a small footprint. It looks excellent, features solid airflow, and is made for those who carry their PC around frequently.
Downsides exist in the form of zero fans, no liquid cooling support, and plain bad cable management. However, these negatives are fair tradeoffs for the benefits this portable enclosure offers. In other words, this is one of the best portable PC cases around.
Who needs a PC case with handles?
Portable PC cases are great for modern LAN parties, but that’s not the only thing they’re made for. They’re great for people who move often. Or those who live in multiple places. College students going home for summer also know how handy it is to have a PC case with a handle.
If both you and your partner are gamers, having a portable case is great for spending weekends together. If you’re not living together, of course. Or maybe you want to have a portable PC case, just in case.
Whatever is your reason for getting a PC case with handles, you need to look for certain features. Let’s explain which features to look for in a portable, LAN party PC case.
What to look for in PC cases with handles
Unlike the quiet PC cases, portable cases aren’t a separate category. You only get models with handles, and that’s pretty much it. But there are some features that you should look for if you need a LAN case.
Stuff like the tool-less design to install storage drives without hassle or secure them in place after you arrive at your destination. Or low weight and small size so you can carry the case around easier. Let’s talk in detail about different features.
Handle it with care
Yes, the handle. This is the only must-have feature in any portable PC case. There’s a fairly large number of computer cases with handles, so you should find one in any size. Most of them are mini ITX cases with handles, but you can also find regular (midi tower) and full-tower models.
Anyway, if you want a portable desktop case, get one with a handle attached. It makes moving much easier, even if you only move it around the room. You can install a PC case handle yourself, but that’s a pretty complex mod, and it requires lots of time and skill. It’s better just to get a regular PC case with handles that are, you know, prebuilt.
Air cooling is the way to go
If you’re a liquid cooling fan (pun intended), tough luck. You simply don’t want a liquid-cooled PC if you’re planning on moving it around frequently. Liquid cooling systems cost more and are much harder to maintain. Also, liquid cooling can be messy, and it carries lots of risks with it.
Carrying your PC case around means lots of risks for a liquid cooling system. Even if it’s strapped to a car seat, one larger bump or a couple of potholes could lead to a leak. And believe us, you don’t want to get a leak that will spill water all over your PC during transport.
Besides, liquid cooling setups can be louder than air coolers. And they aren’t always better at cooling the PC compared to air coolers. In the end, we cannot recommend installing a liquid cooling system in your portable computer case. It’s fragile and too big of a risk during transport.
This is a must-have if you want to get a PC case with handles. Constantly moving the case around means storage drives could get loose. It’s better to be able to secure them without any tool than to always carry a screwdriver with you.
Rugged computer cases aren’t a niche on their own. Instead of looking for a rugged PC case, it’s better to read reviews of regular portable cases. See if reviews mention any construction deficiencies. Or the glass getting shattered without strong force being applied to it. Anything that could hint the case isn’t well built.