Building a PC is fun, but just like the hundreds of games you have downloaded on Steam, there’s just too much choice. Besides the parts, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is deciding what will hold it all together. The case is something most have to ruminate about for a while. Do you want something stylish, or practical? Obviously, you can do both as well. Size is important too. Some people love to have a tower of power, while others want to save some space.
This article will focus on the smallest ATX cases in the market today. Let’s get started.
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Smallest ATX Cases
- #1: Thermaltake Core V21 (Best Value – All-Purpose)
- #2: DarkFlash V22 (Best Machine Case)
- #3:CORSAIR CRYSTAL 280X (Best Mini RGB Case)
- #4: Thermaltake Versa H15 (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Cougar Conquer ATX (Best Gamer’s ATX Case)
- On a Budget? Try These:
- What is an ATX Case, Anyway?
- What to Look for in a Micro ATX Case
- How do You Clean a Computer Case?
- Verdict: Your Best Smallest ATX Cases
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Smallest ATX Cases
Just like most gamers, or people who need a powerful PC, we looked carefully at the ATX cases available on the market. We looked for smaller ones that have had good reviews on Amazon. We also looked for the smallest ATX cases that had different features. Which ones had a power supply? Decent cable management? Did it have tempered glass?
Also, we took a look at the sentiment of the reviewers. Everyone has something to say, and we tried to pick the reviews that had mostly positive ratings. With that said, we also looked at the negative reviews. No matter how high quality an ATX case may be, there’s always a chance that someone won’t like it. We looked at what those reviewers had to say and addressed some of their criticisms.
Finally, and this should be obvious, we tried sticking to smaller ATX cases. These are known as micro ATX. They are meant for a smaller motherboard and parts. With that said, the cases in the article will vary in size, so be sure to look at the size of the cases and decide if it’s the right ATX for you.
#1: Thermaltake Core V21 (Best Value – All-Purpose)
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The number-one smallest ATX case would be one that is that perfect balance between high quality and budget. This is good if you’re building a PC that isn’t a supercomputer, but not something that’s a cheapie, either. It’s also quite small, coming in a cube shape. The Thermaltake Core is a great little cube.
Most mid tower cases are quite tall, but the shape of the Thermaltake Core, which will fit Mini ITX and Micro ATX motherboards, should be suitable for most needs. Whether your motherboard is in a horizontal or vertical orientation, this should support both quite well. You can easily store it under your desk when you live in a cramped apartment.
The Thermaltake Core has optimized space for cable management as well. No one likes cables that are tangled to and fro, so this box has everything in a neat little cable management space. Speaking of cables and plugins, the Thermaltake Core does have two USB 3.0 slots, a headphone and mic jack, and a 200mm fan that is pre installed. You can purchase optional cooling, so if you like water cooling or anything else to keep your system cool, you’re in good hands.
Not to mention, this has a 3 year warranty. When you’re purchasing parts, even PC cases, you want something that will last. This micro ATX case is one that will last you a long time, and most reviewers seem to agree. It’s a sturdy little micro ATX case that has a lot going for it. Whether you’re building a PC with a nice graphics card or you want a high quality sound system, this one should suit most people.
Of course, not everyone was satisfied. Even though only 1% of this reviewers gave this one star, the reviewer who didn’t get a lemon and had some complaints was one of the top rated reviews. Their complaints were that the provided standoffs weren’t too good (though some comments contested that), the power button and cable management could be better, and that it’s not good if you are still using HDD (hard disk drives.)
With any product, you do have to remember that with a highly rated product, the lone person who is going to have a negative opinion about it is going to be recognized more. While you should consider their feedback, don’t ignore the hundreds of people who loved this ATX case.
Overall, the Thermaltake Core is the most balanced one on this list. It doesn’t meet all needs, but it meets the most. Most builders should look to this one. It shouldn’t be an immediate purchase, but the first one to look towards before looking at other ATX cases. Check out the Thermaltake Core today and see if it’s the best one for the job.
#2: DarkFlash V22 (Best Machine Case)
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If you’re looking for a high-quality ATX tower, we believe that this one is worth the extra money. While it costs a little more than most towers, the build quality and the aesthetic is amazing.
Let’s talk about the aesthetic for a second. Looks aren’t everything, but it’s always nice to have a case that looks futuristic and sleek, which this one does. You can also pick between several colors, making it a good case if you are particular about the color you pick.
This case has some unique features as well. It’s innovative because it has a vertical layout. Most use VGA horizontal, but this one uses vertical. This means that it’s easier to reduce the pressure that the motherboard usually faces, preventing it from becoming deformed.
Also, the way you open this case’s door is unique. It uses tempered glass on the side, and it’s magnetic. This means it’s quite easy to take apart without any tools. Some are much harder to take apart, but this one slides off. The case also has cable management through some room at the top.
It’s good for airflow as well, being able to support 3x 120mm fans on the front side and 2x 120mm fans on the back. It has water cooling support as well.
Overall, this is a flexible ATX motherboard case that’s good for most needs. You’ll love not only the design, but all the features as well. But what do the reviews say?
Most reviewers give this ATX case a positive review. People love how it looks and how easy it is to use, for Micro ATX and beyond, this case is useful for most needs. You can see some beautiful pics that look almost like art, once the graphics cards light up and paint the glass.
Negative reviews are in the minority, mostly dealing with people who got duds and defective cases that shattered. While this does sound scary, just remember these reviews are the minority. Chances are that you’ll get a wonderful PC case that is of a high build quality.
Interestingly enough, this isn’t the most expensive one on this list. However, with computer parts, you’re always going to find something more expensive. This is the one for higher, but not astronomically high budgets. If you’re looking for an ATX case, this may be for you.
#3:CORSAIR CRYSTAL 280X (Best Mini RGB Case)
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One thing most PC builders like, or would like to have, is RGB lighting. This one is honestly a contender for “best machine case”, as it has plenty of features that you may want if you’re a PC owner who wants to spend a little more. This micro ATX case is great regarding cooling, with up to six 120mm fans, or a water cooling radiator should you want it.
Speaking of fans, that’s what the main draw of this product is. It has two RGB fans with 32 LED shows. You use the included software to control it and show off your colors to everyone. While it’s merely aesthetic, what kind of gamer doesn’t like to have some style?
It also has three tempered glass panels, making it an overall beautiful case that allows for even more LED light shows through parts that are compatible. Not to mention, it does have cable management and a rear chamber to keep your power supply working.
It comes with other quality of life features that make it stand out, including drive storage and dust filters to keep that pesky dust out of your case. These dust filters are located in the front, rear, and top, keeping everything as tidy as possible.
Reviews are positive overall, with most people saying that it’s a powerful case with plenty of power to go around. If you’re looking for a case with style and need one that has everything you expect from an RGB case, this is the one for you.
There were some criticisms. The lowest review was two out of five stars, and despite the low score, even the reviewer had to admit it was fantastic. They did not like the soft screws or the GPU mount, having difficulties with the latter.
Overall, if you’re looking for a powerful computer case, we believe that you can’t go wrong with this one. It’s one of the smallest ATX cases, and it just looks great. With that said, smaller cases should be bought with caution. You do want to make sure that the parts you buy will fit in your ATX case. Measure everything, as an ATX case is not a clown car. You want room.
#4: Thermaltake Versa H15 (Best Low Cost)
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There’s a PC for every budget, and when you’re building your PC, you may have a lower budget. Alternatively, maybe you want to spend more on parts and less on an ATX case. Either way, this is one of the best smallest ATX cases for the price. It combines high quality with budget-friendly costs. What does it have to offer?
First, it has a top panel that’s perforated, giving it more airflow. Its stand is heightened, and its cable management gap gives it more ventilation than most ATX motherboard cases of its price. It has a pre installed 120mm fan, too. It has several ports for USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and an HD audio stand. Not only that, this baby has a three year warranty, so you can game in peace.
Reviews have been positive overall, with most saying that this is one of those ATX cases that’s good for the price. While it’s not going to blow away those who are looking for the highest build quality possible, it’s one of those PC cases that’s good enough for those on a budget.
Of course, a few people had problems. Some say that this is more suitable for a mini ITX motherboard, and that micro ATX motherboards are a bit of a hassle to install. One reviewer had a manifesto of complaints about it, including no marked standoff holes and snap-off PCI covers. If you’re a true computer geek, we recommend reading every review carefully to make sure this ATX case is good for your needs.
Also, remember that you can always swap out ATX cases. If you have a lower budget or want to spend more on parts, you can cheap out on the case and then upgrade in the future. Switching the guts from one case to another can be a hassle, but it may be worth it down the line, especially if you find an ATX case with more pre installed goodies.
#5: Cougar Conquer ATX (Best Gamer’s ATX Case)
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We’ve saved the most unique case for last. Most ATX cases come in a tower or cube shape, but this one looks like a gaming chair come to life. If you’re looking to splurge the most money on gaming PC cases, this one is worth looking at.
First, the framing. It’s aluminum alloy framed, making it a durable and effective case. The tempered glass itself has two 5mm panels on the side, giving it a tough exterior that’s stylish to boot.
This is an expandable case as well. It’s designed to take up not too much space, but hold some of the biggest graphics cards.
Another feature is its cooling. It can support a liquid cooling radiator that’s 360 mm. If you’re looking for cooling, a liquid cooling radiator is always good, and this one has an extra 240mm one on the top as well.
This case is great for modders as well, being one of those PC cases you can add on to should you want to upgrade in the future.
While this PC looks flashy and is a good price, what do the reviews say? Most say that this case is powerful and offers everything a gamer needs. Some people did have a criticism about its size, with a couple of viewers saying it wouldn’t fit bigger motherboards. For those who are looking for the smallest ATX cases, however, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Just remember that this is expensive. For the amount of money, you may find a better motherboard, more RAM, or a more powerful card. Be cautious when you spend money on parts, unless you’re upgrading, have unlimited cash, or are putting everything on credit. (Don’t do this.)
On a Budget? Try These:
If you’re wanting to build a PC but don’t have much money, have no fear. There are some cases you can buy on a shoestring budget that work just well enough. As we said before, you can always upgrade in the future, too. Let’s look at them.
#1 Budget: Cooler Master
The Cooler Master is a cheap, but overall good case. You can move around the I/O panel and put it in a vertical or horizontal position. It also has the transparent side panel that many people, including ourselves, love. The Cooler Master is big enough to fit a normal ATX power supply but it’s nice and compact. Also, the Cooler Master has a magnetic dust filter and extra space. While it’s not the best reviewed, the Cooler Master is still great if you’re looking for a budget ATX case. There’s nothing cooler than a Cooler Master, we say.
#2 Budget: SKTC M01
This is a case that’s good for gaming and beyond. It’s not the sleekest, but it should be able to fit most micro ATX needs. It’s one you can order from Walmart with free shipping, so we say to try it out if you’re needing a case on a budget. It doesn’t have any reviews on the site as of this post, but it seems competent enough. Walmart also has a decent return policy if you don’t find the ATX case to your liking.
#3 Budget: HEC HX210
This is a cheap, yet stylish looking ATX case. While not the smallest ATX case or the highest quality, it’s still well worth checking out if you’re on a budget. This is one HEC of an ATX case, and one you may find is good for the price. With that said, it’s still a budget case, and it may be worth upgrading down the road.
What is an ATX Case, Anyway?
There are many people who want to build a PC, but they not be familiar with all the jargon. They know what a computer case is, but what is an ATX case? If you’ve been reading this article and you’ve been wondering what the ATX case even stands for, we have you covered.
It stands for Advanced Technology Extended. Specifically, in regards to ATX, motherboard size is what it’s centered around. ATX highlights the motherboard’s ports, dimensions, and more. If you have an ATX motherboard, this means that the ATX case should be able to hold it.
There are two main sizes of ATX, which are regular and micro. The standard size for an ATX motherboard case is 12 x 9.6 inches. A micro, meanwhile, is 9.6 x 9.6.
Always do research to see what type of ATX case you need. There’s nothing more frustrating than realizing not everything fits. Sometimes, you may just want to talk to a professional, as you don’t want an ATX case that’s wrong for your situation.
What to Look for in a Micro ATX Case
As we mentioned before, finding the right case for the job is hard. There are many different options to pick from, and it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which are the best for whatever you’re looking for. Luckily, there are some ways to narrow down the selection. Here are a few ways you can do that.
Cable management can be a pain. When you have to route them, knowing which direction to put them so they don’t get rid of airflow and they look as clean as possible is important. If you’re looking for good cable management tips, one of the first tips is to get a case that can manage them all. If the case mentions it has cable management, it’s worth getting.
Support for Cooling Systems
It’s always important to prevent your PC from overheating. If it gets too hot, it can shut off or possibly face damage. No one wants that, and yet many of us have machines that don’t have proper cooling. Whether it’s air or liquid cooling, having space for some is a good idea.
Some cases come with pre installed fans. For instance, you may see that it has fans already there. You may want to add more cooling to it. However, having fans already there is a good start.
Proper Dust Filters
It’s always important to give your PC a tuneup once in a while, and one of the best ways to do that is to give it a dusting. Also, get dust filters that can prevent dust from getting in there in the first place. If a PC collects too much dust, it can kill it. For example, if too much gets on your power supply or graphics card, say goodbye.
I/O Panels With USB 3.0
Another thing you need to look for is USB slots. Most devices will be powered by USB, and the more, the merrier. You can never have enough. With that said, look carefully at what type of USB. You ideally want USB 3.0, not 2.0. USB 3.0 is ten times as fast, and some devices may not work without it.
The Right Space
If you have a big motherboard, you may not want a micro ATX and instead look for a standard ATX case or a mid tower. On the other hand, there is such a thing as having too much space. Select a case that feels just right. In order to find the right Goldilocks zone, this is something you want to ask a professional about.
By the way, the size of the case is known as the “form factor”. If you hear someone saying that their smallest ATX case has a good form factor, you now know what they are talking about. Form factor is obviously not the end-all, but it’s important. Find the form factor that’s right for you.
This is an aesthetic choice, but every gaming PC looks better with some LED lights. Some of the smallest ATX cases come with lighting already, such as pre installed fans that light up. However, if you just want your parts to light up, look for a PC case that has a clear front panel or side panel. That way, the light will come shining out. Many people love this dynamic, and you should join all the gamers to see just why that is.
If you have a side panel or front panel that’s made of tempered glass, you want to make sure that glass can handle the toughest jobs. The tempered glass needs to withstand a few accidental drops and be able to handle the heat. Cheaper tempered glass cases can end up shattering, and that’s no good. Look at the side panel or front panel, and see if it looks right to you.
It Looks Good
Finally, many people who build PCs just want a case that looks good. Whether you’re choosing the smallest ATX case or the biggest, you want one that you can be proud of. For example, some people love a sleek but minimalistic case that has a see-through side panel or front panel. Others want no see-through side panel or front panel and just want a cool box to contain their parts.
There are some who look for cases, be it standard ATX cases or the smallest ATX cases, that look retro. These cases look like something from the 20th century, in the age of Windows 95 and the Wild West internet, yet they can contain modern parts. There is definitely something charming about seeing a retro case that has a power supply that could power up Tokyo and a graphics card that can play the newest games with ease.
A Fair Price for You
Finally, you want to look for a PC case that fits within your budget. You see, buying parts for a PC is all about balance. On the one hand, you don’t want to spend too much on a case and not have enough for high quality parts. On the other hand, you may want a better case to contain everything and not a $20 case that doesn’t have good USB ports and cooling capabilities.
These are just a few things to look for in an ATX case. From pre installed goodies to it being the right size, choosing the ideal ATX case is important and not something you should rush. Find the right ATX case for the job.
How do You Clean a Computer Case?
There are many different maintenance tips you should look up when you build a computer. One of them is how to clean your case. Whether you purchase a micro ATX with pre installed plugins or one with a dust filter on the front panel, you need to clean it regularly.
We spend so much time cleaning the software that we forget about the hardware. It needs cleaning because when it runs, the PC creates static electricity, and this can attract hair and dust. A little here and there is one thing, but if you go for a long time without cleaning your ATX case, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to end up with a PC that doesn’t work.
Cleaning up your PC case isn’t too hard. Make sure that it’s shut down and unplugged, and all the cables are unplugged. Get yourself some compressed air and a damp rag. Wipe down everything and use the compressed air to clean out all the nooks and crannies. Do this every few months, or whenever you feel like it needs a good cleaning. Too much dust may ruin something beyond repair.
In addition, it’s wise to clean the exterior too. Clean off any smudges, not just for aesthetic reasons, but to keep it as tidy as possible.
Maintenance can be a hassle, but it’s the difference between a working PC and one that doesn’t work at all.
Verdict: Your Best Smallest ATX Cases
We’ve solved the case(s). If you’ve been multitasking reading our article while looking for the hottest power supply unit or graphics card, you may have forgotten the top five. Let’s summarize the top five smallest ATX cases again.
First, we have the Thermaltake Core V21. This is a case that’s good for most budgets, providing the perfect solution if you’re trying to build a mid-range PC. It has pre installed USB 3.0 units. It’s cube-shaped and should fit most Micro ATX motherboards.
Second, we have the darkFlash V22. This is a stylish case that should fit your needs if you’re looking for a minimalistic design with plenty of pre installed USB 3.0 drives and other features that will help your PC perform its best.
Third, we have the Corsair Crystal 280X. This is one of the best RGB PC cases available. If you like some stylish RGB action, you really can’t go wrong with this one. This micro ATX case is a little bit more expensive, but if you’re looking for something gorgeous, grab this.
Fourth, there’s the Thermaltake Versa H15. This is good if you’re looking for PC cases for budget builds, or if you just don’t want to spend too much on a case. Having good PC cases are important, but they aren’t the end-all. This one is cheap, yet still gives you enough support.
Finally, there’s the Cougar Conquer ATX. This is an expensive gaming case. However, its unique shape and design makes it one of the best micro ATX PC cases out there. If you’re looking for the ultimate in water cooling or liquid cooling capabilities, want a front panel and side panel that’s high grade, or you just want to splurge with style, this one is for you.
And there you have it. Choosing PC cases, be it a micro ATX case or even a standard ATX, is a challenge, but with some proper research, you can find the best one for your needs. Just don’t buy one on a whim; ask some fellow PC builders if you must. Once you find the best graphics card, cooling unit (be it 120mm fans or liquid cooling), RAM, motherboard, hard drive, and other parts, you’ll have the ultimate gaming PC that will make everyone jealous.