Optical drives like DVD and Blu-ray players may seem outdated in the streaming and cloud storage age, but they still have their uses. Whether you need to play physical media, rip CDs, or read and write discs, having a 5.25″ external bay for an optical drive can be handy. However, finding a modern PC case with shallow drive bays can be challenging.
This article will highlight the top 5 PC cases in 2023 that feature external 5.25″ bays for installing optical drives. We evaluated patients based on drive bay availability, overall design and features, cooling performance, ease of building, and value for money. Our picks cover various form factors and price points to suit different builds and budgets.
If you’re building a new system and want the flexibility to add an optical drive, read our recommendations on the best PC cases that still accommodate this legacy component. Whether you need a DVD drive for watching movies, a Blu-ray burner for data backup, or a disc reader for accessing old media, these cases have you covered.
The Advantages of Upgrading to a PC Case with Optical Drive Bays
Enhancing System Performance
There are ways in which adding a drive to your PC can enhance its performance. For example, many avid gamers opt for installing games from a disc or downloading them, as this helps conserve and prevent system slowdowns. Moreover, utilizing a drive for data backup can free up storage space on your hard drive, resulting in improved system operation speed.
Expanding Media Accessibility
Having an optical drive bay in your PC case allows you to access a range of media. You can enjoy high-quality music and movies by playing CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Additionally, many materials and software installation discs are still available in CD or DVD formats.
Providing Room for Future Upgrades
In today’s world, personal computers may not necessarily need a drive. However, it’s always worth considering the hardware advancements that the future might bring. Opting for a PC case with drive bays guarantees that your system will have space for future upgrades. This foresight could save you money and the inconvenience of purchasing a case.
Best PC Cases with Optical Drive Bays
Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis is a well-crafted, budget-friendly computer case that offers a range of features for optimal performance. It is designed to maximize cooling potential with its expansive flexibility and multiple radiator support. The case comes with two premium Phanteks fans, a 200mm fan in the front and a 140mm fan in the back, and has room for additional fans of either 120 or 140mm size in the top and bottom.
The case is compatible with ATX motherboards and has ample space for a three-fan graphics card. It also supports extensive water cooling with up to four different radiator installation areas. The case includes a removable SSD bracket and a closed HDD panel for enhanced rigidity. It also features velcro cable management for tidy wiring.
The Enthoo Pro is made from brushed plastic and steel chassis, giving it a sturdy and durable build. It has an aluminum appearance and a stealth interior with a hidden PSU and HDD. The case also includes a window for viewing internal components and a PWM hub for better cable management.
In terms of storage, the case can accommodate six 3.5″ drives, up to three 5.25″ purposes and has a bracket for a 2.5″ SSD. It also has three 5.25″ bays, which are helpful for DVD/BD readers/writers.
The case is praised for its easy assembly, with most panels being screwed on rather than riveted, making it easy to take apart when building. It also comes with various accessories, such as screws and cable ties.
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis is a high-quality, versatile, and affordable option for those looking to build their PC.
Fractal Design Define R5 – Mid Tower Computer Case
The Fractal Design Define R5 – Mid Tower Computer Case is a highly versatile and intelligently designed computer case that offers a perfect blend of functionality and aesthetics. It is the latest evolution in the popular Define Series, known for its silent operation and powerful cooling capabilities.
The case has two Fractal Design Dynamic GP-14 140mm fans, specifically developed to provide superior airflow while maintaining low noise levels. The issue also includes a three-speed fan controller integrated into the front panel, supporting up to three fans.
One of the critical features of the Define R5 is its extensive water-cooling support. Despite its compact size, it can house radiators up to 420mm at the top and 360mm at the front. Additionally, it comes with tool-less ModuVent fan slot covers, allowing users to install more fans if desired or keep the slots covered for maximum sound absorption.
The Define R5 is designed with high-density sound-dampening material throughout the case, ensuring silent computing without compromising on airflow and cooling capabilities. The main chassis panels, including the sides, front, and removable top sections, are lined with this sound-absorbing material.
In terms of storage, the Define R5 can accommodate up to eight hard drives and all modern graphics cards. It features two dedicated SSD mounts behind the motherboard tray, and the HDD cage system can hold up to eight 3.5” or 2.5” drives. The case layout can be easily configured to meet user demands, offering flexibility in the location of the internal drive cages.
The case also provides excellent cable management options, with generous cut-outs and cable passages to keep cables neatly arranged. This simplifies PC assembly and contributes to better air circulation within the case.
Externally, the Define R5 has a minimalist, Scandinavian-inspired design. It is available in black color and made from aluminum material. The case dimensions are 20.51 x 9.13 x 17.76 inches, including two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports for easy connectivity.
Overall, the Fractal Design Define R5 – Mid Tower Computer Case is a high-quality, thoughtfully designed PC case with impressive features and flexibility, making it an excellent choice for PC enthusiasts.
Fractal Design Focus G – Mid Tower Computer Case
The Fractal Design Focus G – Mid Tower Computer Case is a high-quality computer case designed for optimal performance and aesthetics. It is compatible with ATX motherboards and is made from durable alloy steel. The point is black and uses air as its cooling method. It weighs 4.5 kilograms and has dimensions of 19 x 11 x 21 inches.
The case is designed to accommodate high-performance components efficiently, making it compact despite its high capacity. It features a large windowed side panel that allows users to showcase their hardware. It also comes with two preinstalled Fractal Design Silent Series LL 120 mm white LED fans, with a total of six fan positions available. To ensure a dust-free interior, the case has filtered front, top, and base air intakes.
The case offers excellent cooling support and is compatible with high-profile CPU coolers, multiple radiator configurations, and graphics cards up to 380 mm long without compromising hard drive space. It also provides flexible storage options with two vibration-dampened universal drive bays that support 6TB+ HDDs and 15 mm SSDs. There’s also an additional 2.5″ mount behind the motherboard tray.
The Fractal Design Focus G case is designed with contemporary styling and elegant accents, making your hardware the center of attention. It is available in various colors, including Black, White, Petrol Blue, Mystic Red, and Gunmetal Gray. The case also includes a front I/O panel with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and audio jacks.
Regarding cable management, the case offers 18-25 mm of space for cable routing behind the motherboard plate. It also supports high-profile CPU coolers and multiple radiator configurations.
Overall, the Fractal Design Focus G – Mid Tower Computer Case is a versatile and stylish option for PC enthusiasts seeking a quality case at a competitive price.
Fractal Design Node 804 No Power Supply MicroATX Cube Case
The Fractal Design Node 804 No Power Supply MicroATX Cube Case is a unique and versatile computer case that offers a range of features designed for optimal cooling and maximum configurability. The case, which comes in black, is made from aluminum and alloy steel and uses water as its cooling method. It weighs 13.2 pounds and measures 13.5 x 12.1 x 15.3 inches.
One of the standout features of this case is its dual-chamber layout, which enhances cooling efficiency. It also supports up to four radiators simultaneously, making it highly compatible with water cooling systems. The case has a minimalistic design, an elegant brushed aluminum front panel, and a unique hard drive mounting system.
The case can accommodate up to 8x 3.5″, 4x 2.5″ or 10x 3.5″, 2x 2.5″ HDD/SSD. It also includes three Fractal Design Silent Series R2 fans and has space for seven additional fans. The case also features a window side panel for showcasing your setup and extra room in the front to mount a slim slot-in ODD, optical bay drive and 2x 2.5″ drives.
The Node 804 case is compatible with Micro ATX motherboards and has five expansion slots, allowing multiple GPU setups. It also has two USB 3.0 ports. The case has received positive reviews for its sleek design, quiet operation, and easy configurability. However, some users have noted that the fans included with the case are not PWM, meaning they don’t automatically adjust their speed based on temperature. Despite this, the point is generally well-regarded for its excellent cooling capabilities and flexible configuration options.
Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact Black ATX Flexible High-Airflow Dark Tinted Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case
The Fractal Design Meshify 2 Compact Black ATX Flexible High-Airflow Dark Tinted Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case is a highly-rated product that has been praised for its design and functionality. This computer case, made from alloy steel, is designed to be compatible with CPUs and has dimensions of 16.69 x 8.27 x 18.7 inches.
One of the critical features of this case is its focus on airflow. It has an iconic angular mesh front that provides filtered airflow, contributing to a stealth-inspired aesthetic. The open interior creates a smooth airflow path from the front intake to the rear exhaust. The case also has three fans, which are appreciated for their quiet operation.
The case is compact yet spacious enough to accommodate an entire ATX motherboard and large coolers like the Noctua NH-D15. It also has intense IO with USB-C 3.2 and two type A 3.0s. The case can fit GPUs up to 360 mm with a 240 mm radiator in the top or up to 360/280 mm front radiators with GPUs under 305 mm. It also has room for up to 7x 120 mm or 4x 140 mm fans.
The case is easy to build in, with plenty of cable management routes for a clean build. The top panel can be removed, making installing the motherboard and cables easier. The front and side panels can be removed without tools but latch securely. The bottom feet are taller than many cases to allow better airflow.
However, there are a few minor drawbacks. The case does not come with a storage activity indicator or a case speaker for beep codes from the motherboard. There is also limited space behind the motherboard tray, especially if the rigid drive cage is not removed. Despite these minor issues, users have found the case to be a solid choice for their builds, praising its quality, ventilation, and ease of installation.
Thermaltake View 91 RGB PLUS Tempered Glass Vertical GPU Modular SPCC XL-ATX Gaming Super Tower Computer Case
The Thermaltake View 91 RGB PLUS Tempered Glass Vertical GPU Modular SPCC XL-ATX Gaming Super Tower Computer Case is a fully customizable computer case designed for severe PC enthusiasts. It features a 16.8 million-color RGB-imbued XL-ATX tower with three 5mm thick tempered glass panels on the front and both sides, providing a sleek look and durability while ensuring ultimate internal component visibility.
The case has four pre-installed Riing Plus 14 RGB fans (three at the front and one at the rear) for optimal cooling. It also supports dual liquid cooling capabilities, offering extraordinary flexibility for liquid cooling systems (LCS). The case has a USB type-C receptacle on the top panel for easy connectivity.
The Thermaltake View 91 supports various motherboard sizes, including Mini ITX, Micro ATX, ATX, E-ATX, and XL-ATX. It offers twelve 3.5” or 2.5” drive bays with an HDD cage for ample storage options. The maximum CPU cooler height supported is 200mm, and the full VGA length is 470mm with the HDD rack and 600mm without it.
This super tower chassis also supports vertical GPU mounting with dual PCI-E slots design. An integrated riser GPU support bracket helps to prevent the graphic card from sagging and reduces the weight on the motherboard PCI-E slots. However, the riser cable is not included in the case.
The fully modular case allows users to build their system from the ground up with modular panels, racks, brackets, and pre-design mounting arrays. This design provides multiple configurations and flexibility, making it an ideal choice for custom PC enthusiasts.
The Thermaltake View 91 is a hefty case weighing 59.08 pounds. Its dimensions are 25.39 x 13.5 x 27.2 inches, making it a substantial presence in any setup. Despite its size, the case offers excellent airflow and ventilation, ensuring your components stay cool even under heavy loads.
In terms of aesthetics, the case is black and made of SPCC material. The tempered glass panels are hinged and swing-open for easy and full access to your build. The case also features a vertical radiator view, supporting proper placement for 120mm and 140mm radiator applications up to 480mm in length.
Overall, the Thermaltake View 91 RGB PLUS Tempered Glass Vertical GPU Modular SPCC XL-ATX Gaming Super Tower Computer Case is a high-quality, feature-rich, and versatile option for anyone looking to build a custom PC.
Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified (Silver) ATX Full Tower Gaming Computer Case
The Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified (Silver) ATX Full Tower Gaming Computer Case is highly recommended for those seeking to upgrade their computer cases. The case was purchased as a replacement for a previous one with poor airflow and has proven to be a significant improvement.
The case is full-sized, large, and heavy, which may pose some challenges during unboxing due to its size. However, it is well-packaged and secure. Inside the box and the case are a manual and a storage container filled with various screws for mounting hardware.
The case comes with four bays, one of which can be removed. Mounting drives is straightforward, with no alignment issues when sliding the movements into the SATA ports. Each port has a SATA cable and power that need to be connected.
The case’s front panel features an RGB strip controlled by a button, which allows you to switch between preset designs or colors. It also has two USB ports on the top and two on the bottom, catering to different user preferences. There are two USB 3.0 connectors, but users should check their motherboard to ensure they have more than one USB 3.0 header. The case also includes a USB-C port on the front, a feature not present in many other issues.
The case’s interior quality is excellent, with robust construction and materials. It features magnetic dust filters on the top and side panels and a slide-out dust filter at the bottom, which is particularly useful in households with pets.
One minor issue with the case is that the side panel cannot be removed without first removing the top of the case. Another challenge is that due to the size of specific CPU coolers, the PCIE x16 slot on the motherboard may not be accessible.
In terms of temperature management, the case performs exceptionally well. During a 15-minute CPU stress test, temperatures did not exceed 74C degrees, and at idle, temperatures were around 30C. Similarly, GPU temperatures did not go over 65C during gaming at 1440p/105fps; at idle, they were around 45C degrees.
Overall, the Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified (Silver) ATX Full Tower Gaming Computer Case is a high-quality, reliable, and user-friendly product that offers excellent value for money.
Phanteks (PH-ES614PTG_BK) Enthoo Pro ATX Chassis
The Phanteks (PH-ES614PTG_BK) Enthoo Pro ATX Chassis is a high-quality, full-tower computer case that offers a range of features designed for optimal functionality and aesthetics. The chassis is made from tempered glass and aluminum, providing a sturdy and durable structure. It comes in a sleek black color with integrated RGB lighting, adding a modern touch to its design.
The case is equipped with multiple front ports, including two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C GEN 2 port, and ports for a microphone, headphones, reset, and an RGB switch. It is compatible with Phanteks RGB LED strips and motherboards, allowing for easy lighting effects customization. The case also supports easy radiator installation and has reservoir mounts.
The Enthoo Pro ATX Chassis is spacious, offering ample room for components and excellent wire management. It includes six central drive bays and up to five 2.5″ drive mounts. The case comes with two fans pre-installed, one at the front and one at the back, but it can accommodate more if needed.
Additional features include a PSU shroud, removable drive bays, magnetic dust filter on the top, slide filters on the bottom, and included fans. The power button is conveniently located on the top of the case, making it easily accessible. The issue also includes a well-organized box of screws and extra tie-down straps, making assembly easier.
The product has received positive customer reviews, rating 4.8 out of 5 based on 979 global ratings. Users have praised the case for its versatility, attractive design, quality construction, and reasonable price. However, it’s important to note that products with electrical plugs are designed for use in the US and may require an adapter or converter for use in other countries.
XPG Battlecruiser Mid-Tower ATX PC Gaming Case
The XPG Battlecruiser Mid-Tower ATX PC Gaming Case is a high-quality, spacious, and aesthetically pleasing case designed with custom builders in mind. It features 4mm tempered glass sides and is made from cold-rolled carbon steel, providing a sturdy and durable structure. The case measures 19.09 x 8.85 x 19.92 inches and has a 2-year warranty.
The case’s design incorporates the best elements of previous computer cases. It has tempered glass on the front and bottom that rely on side air for intake and exhaust, resulting in a smaller profile. The case includes a mesh filter for the top, act, and bottom to prevent dust accumulation, which is easily removable and cleanable.
The top panel features easy-to-identify buttons for power, BIOS function, and RGB control. It also includes two fast USB ports and a new Type-C USB port. However, it’s important to note that many motherboards do not yet have the Type-C interface.
The case’s interior is massive, thanks to thin punched metal, which requires less support and provides more space for components. Despite the thinness of the metal, the case remains solid and light. The tempered glass panels are easily removable for access to the interior and require no tools for assembly.
The case comes with four pre-mounted super quiet fans, making it the most silent ATX case some users have ever had. The large interior space helps keep all components cool. The case also allows for any size motherboard to be mounted and provides a handy window on the backside where the CPU sits for easy CPU cooler mounting.
The XPG Battlecruiser Mid-Tower ATX PC Gaming Case offers excellent cable management options with multiple cable port grommets. It can accommodate up to five SSDs on the backside of the case and two HDDs at the bottom front, with an additional removable plate for a third HDD above the PSU area.
Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis without Window Cases
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis without Window Cases is a large, high-performance computer case designed for gaming and high-end PC builds. Measuring 21.65 x 9.25 x 21.06 inches, this case offers ample space for components and excellent airflow, ensuring optimal performance.
The case includes one 200mm fan in the front and one 140mm fan in the rear from Phanteks’ redesigned SP series. The fans are upgradeable, and the case also supports extensive water cooling with up to four different installation areas for radiators. The PWM hub allows control of all connected fans through one PWM connector, improving cable management.
The case features brushed plastic with an aluminum appearance and a stealth interior that hides the power supply unit (PSU) and hard disk drive (HDD). It has six 3.5″ drive bays with easy-to-use trays that don’t require screws, three 5.25″ external drive bays, and a removable SSD bracket. The front port includes two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C Gen 2 port, and mic and headphone jacks.
Despite its size, the case has been praised for its well-organized internal layout, which includes plenty of straps and pass-throughs for cable management. Users have also noted the case’s durability and quality materials, including rolled metal on every internal surface. However, some users have reported that the SSD mounts lack sufficient cooling, causing drives to run hotter than expected.
The Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis is a versatile, budget-friendly option for anyone looking to build a high-performance PC. Its spacious design, cooling capabilities, and thoughtful features make it a strong choice for experienced builders and newcomers.