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vertical airflow PC case

10 Best Vertical PC Cases for Airflow – 2021

If you’re in search of the best vertical PC case then you’ve come to the right place.

For their ultra-small footprint and extremely space-efficient designs, vertical PC cases have become increasingly popular among enthusiasts.

Generally, these chassis house smaller motherboards and work by vacuuming air up through the center to create a “chimney” effect.

In this post, we will take a look at some of the most innovative vertical cases on the market right now.

What is the best vertical PC case?

10. Silverstone Fortress FT03B

The FT03B is a vertical PC case with a low-key minimalistic design. By reducing the chassis depth and increasing the height, it aims to provide as much interior space as possible. The result is a super small footprint chassis that’s still capable of housing full-length, 349mm graphics cards.

One area where the FT03B excels is in its build quality. Four 2.5mm thick, sand-blasted and anodized aluminum panels form the exterior case. These mount over a solid steel body. Depending on which model you go for, the panels are available in a selection of colors. Black, Silver, or Titanium.

To start the build, the panels slide right off to reveal the chassis. You then have room for motherboards up to micro-ATX, 167mm CPU coolers, and a standard ATX power supply. Additionally, there’s room to install three 3.5″ HDDs and one 2.5” SSD on one side of the interior.

For airflow, the FT03B works like a vacuum by sucking in air from the bottom of the case. To propel air upwards, it comes with two 120mm fans, an intake fan at the bottom, and an exhaust fan at the top. There’s also room for a second 120mm fan and three optional 80mm fans from top to bottom.

Front I/O ports include two USB 3.0s, and a 3.5mm audio/ mic jack. This case is also available in mini-ITX form, to make it a similar alternative to the NZXT H1.

9. Spartex Osmi Case 3.1

The Osmi Case 3.1 is a mini-ITX chassis that lets you build as big as a console. It has a vertically aligned cuboid design with soft rounded edges, little noticeable branding, and a large vent on top to provide the main source of ventilation.

To access the 8.6L volume enclosure, this involves the removal of a few screws at the rear of the case. Once removed, it’s then possible to lift off the exterior shell, which covers all four sides of the frame like a big sleeve.

With the shell removed, you can then begin to install your hardware. The Osmi has room for your mobo along the side with a 70mm cooler, a 170mm GPU, and an SFX PSU. Your GPU slots in at the bottom of the case. Hence, why the Osmi has a small stand that allows for airflow from underneath.

To circulate air to the rest of your components, there’s room for a bottom-mounted 140mm fan at the top of the frame. Unfortunately, this isn’t included so you will have to purchase one separately. Once it is installed, it’s best to go for a positive airflow setup that pushes more air into the case.

For storage, there’s room for two 2.5” SSDs behind the mobo, and all I/Os face out of the rear.

Osmi Case 3.1
(Image credit: SpartexPC)

8. XTIA Xproto

The XTIA Xproto is a unique, open-air chassis that functions as both a showpiece and a sturdy foundation. To achieve this, it has an innovative “butterfly” spine that not only nurtures a clean and minimalistic build but also imposes an awe-inspiring aesthetic.

Due to the simplistic nature of the design, the Xproto comes in a “flat-pack” form upon arrival. You can then experience the satisfaction of building the structure yourself, which simply involves screwing the two halves of the skeleton together.

Once assembly is complete, it’s on to mounting your hardware. From here you can install your ITX motherboard and PSU on the left side, and your graphics card on the right. With the Xproto in a vertical position, both your mobo and GPU face upwards for easy access to the I/O’s from above.

Even though this is a mini-ITX case, it’s still capable of housing the latest, full-length graphics cards. However, due to the feet of the case, the GPU has special length constraints. It can fit a maximum graphics card length of 330mm providing the PCB (of the card) is 315mm or shorter.

All in all, it’s an awesome choice for a vertical open style case. The $125.00 package includes a free PCIe Gen3 riser cable along with a power cord extension cable.

XTIA Xproto vertical PC case
(Image credit: Xtia)

7. SV590 v2

The SV590 v2 is a vertical, skyscraper of a PC case that towers high above the rest. At 18.58″ tall, it makes a name for itself as one of the only small form factor, mini-ITX chassis on the market right now capable of housing three-slot GPUs (up to 390mm), plus 360mm AIO radiators.

Aesthetically, the V2 is available in a choice of different panel colors and vent patterns. For powder-coated finishes, there’s Obsidian Black, Matte White, and Slate Grey. Additionally, for vent patterns, you can choose from vertical sots or the standard hole punch minimalist aesthetic.

When it comes to the design, the SV590 has an “easy-flip” layout that allows you to position it either end up. As the majority of the rear panel is reserved for your AIO radiator, essentially this means you can rotate the chassis 180° to allow for I/O cables to exit at the top or the bottom rear of the case.

Apart from clearance for a full-width AIO cooler at the rear, the rest of the layout is split down the middle vertically. On one side there’s room for an ITX motherboard with a 55mm AIO CPU cooler, and an SFX PSU just below. Whereas the other side is houses for your GPU.

For storage, there’s a massive amount of support for up to fourteen 2.5″ SSD/ HDDs behind the front panel. It’s worth noting that due to the relatively small amount of clearance for your CPU cooler, Sliger recommends not air cooling your CPU if you do decide to go for this case.

SV590 v2
(Image credit: Sliger)

6. Silverstone Lucid Mini Tower

The Lucid-AF is a mini-ITX chassis that gleams like an elegant art piece. By combining advanced engineering with precision manufacturing, the majority of the build uses tool-less clips. This lets you appreciate the triple-tempered glass panels on the side of the case with no exposed screws.

Once inside the 36L structure, the motherboard rotates 90 degrees for a vertical orientation. One benefit to this is that air can flow smoothly up from the bottom with no obstructions. The second is that it provides full-size support for GPUs along the side of the chassis.

To help with efficient heat dissipation, two 120mm stock fans come with the deal. These are located at opposite ends of the tower. Both fans work together to provide a vacuum of airflow up through the chassis, with the bottom being the main source for air intake.

At 10.43 x 16.3 x 9.06 inches, the Lucid-AF has a generous size interior for a mini-ITX case. As a result, it can accommodate 190mm CPU coolers, SFX power supply’s up to 130mm in length, and both 2.5” and 3.5” drives. For drives, you can fit either two 2.5″ SSDs, or one SSD and one HDD.

Due to the inversion of the motherboard, all your I/O’s are at the top of the case. Accessing them involves removing the top cover that is held on with the same tool-less clips. 

5. Velka 7

The Velka 7 is a mini-ITX chassis with a sleek, minimalistic design. It has a small form factor size that revises and improves on the original Velka 5 – by introducing support for a larger CPU cooler, larger graphics cards, as well as an SFX power supply.

Constructed with a strong steel frame and a 5mm aluminum front panel, the build quality is especially superb. To achieve its rigidity while maintaining a clean aesthetic, the chassis moves all visible screws to the rear of the case; the place where you will begin the assembly process.  

Once inside, there’s room for your motherboard, a 47mm cooler height, and 289mm graphics cards. Besides this, there’s storage for one 3.5” HDD (or SSD) If you have gone for a GPU length that exceeds 212mm. If you haven’t, it’s possible to house three extra SSD drives in that additional space.

Thanks to the vertical orientation and honeycomb-style side panels, this slim PC case offers top-notch ventilation. It allows you to press your graphics card right up to the sides, without having to worry about any unnecessary choking.

All I/O’s are at the rear and it comes with a free riser cable.

Velka 7 vertical PC case
(Image credit: Velkase)


The ASUS ROG Z11 is a premium, mini-ITX chassis with a sleek and stylish aesthetic. It has a dual-orientation design that allows users to build in either a vertical or horizontal position. Additionally, it comes with an assortment of standout features to maximize utility, flexibility, and connectivity.

Constructed of aluminum, steel, plastic, and glass – the build quality of this case is especially high. The exterior consists of 4mm tempered glass panels on the sides, and plastic vents for ventilation on either end. Layering the front glass is an angular, brushed aluminum panel that has all your I/O’s.

Accessing the large interior is a little complexed, which involves removing the top plastic vent before being able to unscrew the side panels. The side panels then slide down from the top and detach via pegs on the side. Lastly, feet removal can be achieved with a single thumbscrew.

Unique to most other cases out there, the ROG Z11 delivers a patented interior layout that tilts the motherboard tray at an 11° angle (from a top view). This aims to enhance heat dissipation around the CPU while providing additional room for organizing cables behind the motherboard.

Besides the motherboard, there’s room for full-length 320mm GPUs, 130mm cooler heights, and plenty of space for drive bays. For fans, the case includes two pre-installed 140mm top fans and one 140mm at the bottom. There’s also room for two optional 120mm fans in the rear.

The included extension hub is another excellent addition to this case. This provides support for six fans, three ARGB LED strips, and two USBs. Furthermore, the additional front I/O ports (four x USB type-A) offer far more convenience than other cases on the market.

All in all, if you’re an ASUS fanboy who’s looking for a showpiece, you will love this vertical PC case. 

3. SSUPD Meshlicious

Meshlicious is a high airflow, small form factor PC case that sits in a vertical position. As the name suggests this enclosure is all about its breathability, where it uses mesh panels to keep your high-end components cool and performing at their best.

The design of the Mesh is very clever and does a great job of utilizing space. Behind the front panel, there’s room for a 62mm thick, 280mm AIO radiator. Then further behind that is the motherboard tray which also functions as a divider to split up the CPU/ GPU sides of the case.

On the CPU side, there’s room for your ITX motherboard (with a 73mm cooler), three 2.5” SSD’s, and a power supply unit. The case is large enough to house an ATX PSU, however, it’s probably best to go for an SFX unit so you can effectively manage your cables.

Conversely, on the GPU side, it’s possible to mount full-length 334mm graphics cards vertically or  211mm GPUs horizontally without the front radiator. If you decide to go for a smaller GPU in a horizontal position, it allows you to store four more 2.5” SSDs in that vacant space.

Due to the vertical motherboard orientation on the center spine, this makes it very easy to access your I/O’s from the rear of the PC case. We also like that all of the panels detach effortlessly via tool-less clips.

SSUPD Meshlicious vertical PC case
(Image credit: SSUPD)

2. NZXT H1

The H1 is a stylish vertical chassis that aims to streamline your building experience. To achieve this, it includes a 140mm AIO liquid cooler, an integrated 650W (Gold) PSU, and even a PCIe riser card. Moreover, the stock components can save you bags of time from having to route your own cables.

Another big pro is that the compact tower design provides support for full-sized graphics cards (up to 305mm), which is still fairly uncommon for a mini-ITX system.. The result is being able to put together a console size powerhouse with a small form factor size that is similar to the Xbox Series X.

Constructed from SGCC steel and tempered glass, the NZXT H1 has an attractive dual-tone exterior. On the front is a tempered glass panel that blocks out visibility to the inside components. Additionally, the perforated steel side and rear panels allow for an intake of airflow.

Thanks to the innovative tool-less design, accessing the interior is incredibly easy. The front and back panels detach via clips and simply pop off with a bit of a pull. You can then slide off the steel “U-shape“ cover (the sides and top) from the inner frame to finally start your build.

Admittedly, as the H1 is quite compact so there are a few things you need to be aware of. The mobo has a 45mm memory height limit so purchasing low-profile RAM might be necessary. Besides this, the SSD cage (below the PSU) is fairly limited with a capacity for only two x 2.5 SSD’s and no HDDs.

Due to having an upside-down motherboard orientation, another interesting feature is that the bulk of your I/O’s face down below the bottom of the case. Even so, this is not really a problem as the top I/O ports give you 1 x USB 3.1 (Type-C), 1 x Type-A, and an audio jack next to the power button.

Overall, it’s a fantastic PC case with an iconic vertical design.

(Image credit: NZXT)

Click here for the best NZXT cases.

1. Evolv Shift 2 / Shift 2 Air

The Evolv Shift 2 is a premium ITX chassis that packs plenty of power. It has an innovative tower design that aims to reduce desk space while staying intuitive and accessible. Due to its ultra-small footprint and versatile placement, the Shift 2 looks superb from anywhere in your home.

Aesthetically, the design comes in two different models or versions; the Shift 2 and the Shift 2 Air. Both of these models have the same interior, with the only difference being the exterior side panels. Unlike the original that uses tempered glass, the Air goes for fabric mesh sides.

Accessing the interior of the Shift is quite clever and sure to take you by surprise. This is possible by pushing down on the vent at the top of the case, which in turn releases a latch so you can lift up the top. With the top lifted, all four side panels remove by loosening the underneath thumbscrews.

For installation, the Shift 2 has a sandwich layout, similar to the SV590 v2 and Meshlicious on this list. On one half of the spine there’s room for your mobo with an 85mm CPU cooler, then below that is space for an SFX PSU along the side. Your motherboard I/O’s are accessible under the top vent.

On the other half of the spine, there’s clearance for a full-length 335mm GPU, also with its I/Os pointing out the top. If you do decide to go for the Shift 2 Air, your GPU will have an abundance of ventilation through the side fabric. Additionally, the rear panel has laser cut-out vents.

For airflow, the Shift 2 can house a total of four 120mm/ 140mm fans. It includes an integrated 140mm fan in the top half of the rear with further room for an optional AIO in the bottom half. Two more case fans can mount at the bottom and top to vacuum air up through the chassis.

In terms of storage, there are multiple combinations for four 2.5” and 3.5” drives behind the front panel. Also located at the bottom of the front panel are two x USB 3.0 ports.

In short, it’s a beautiful PC case with one of the best vertical designs out there right now.

We hope you enjoyed this post on the best Vertical PC case.

Click here for the best Horizontal PC case!

Click here for the 15 most Unique cases you can buy!

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