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When looking for a small case for your PC, the terminology is so confusing. ATX, mini-ATX, ITX – so many X’s. Let’s simplify it here and now. When you’re looking for a case, the ITX is the smallest one you can buy. Having a small case can be good if you’re looking for smaller parts. Nowadays, tiny graphics cards and small form power supply units are much easier to find.
Let’s look at some of the smallest, yet most powerful, ITX cases money can buy.
What to Look for in a Mini ITX Case
Before we begin, let’s quickly go through a checklist of some features to look for in a mini ITX case.
- Space. Most cases are quite small, but there are some that vary in size. Make sure it will fit your needs.
- Cable management. Some ITX cases will have better cable management than others. When you have a small case, you want to make sure there’s room for ventilation, and managing those cables can help.
- Pre-installed goodies. Does it come with a fan or USB slots available? Does it have room to add on more, for example, a water cooling fan?
These are just some things to look for. Searching for a computer case is important. While you can upgrade in the future, you are usually stuck with that case for a while. Having a case that can last a long time is a smart move.
Here's How We've Determined the Best Smallest ITX Cases
As this title says, we’re looking for cases that are ITX. Besides looking for an ITX mini case that is, well, small, another aspect of what we’re looking for is what it includes. Does it have USB 3.0 slots built in? Does it have good cable management? Is it able to contain a lot of power for its size?
Also, we looked at reviews. All products here have 4 or more stars (out of 5). We looked at what people liked, and didn’t like, about these cases.
#1: NZXT H210 (Best Value - All-Purpose)
When buying cases for the PC you’re building, you’re usually left deciding, “Should I splurge on parts that will last me a long time, or can I get by with cheaper parts?” Usually, it’s somewhere in the middle. That graphics card that is thousands of dollars will be half that in a year, anyway.
This is one of those mini ITX cases that’s good if you’re looking for that balance. It’s not too expensive, but not too cheap, either.
This case does have some pre-installed goodies. For example, it does come with two 120mm fans, giving it the basics in cooling. It includes some USB 3.0 ports as well. The side panel is glass, letting you see the parts inside. From glowing graphics cards to spinning fans – that’s always fun to watch. The panel is installable using a single screw, making it quite easy.
It does have a cable management kit with different channels that are already installed. You don’t want poor cable management, as it can lead to poor ventilation.
Reviews have been positive overall. Most say this is a high end mini ITX case that works well. It’s convenient to use, affordable, and is overall a quality product. Some people had criticisms, such as it not being one of the most “mini” mini ITX cases around and the single screw panel being difficult to use. Also, the fans are apparently a little loud.
But overall, this should be the first of the mini ITX case you should check out. If it fits your needs, great. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to look elsewhere. However, this one is always the first place you should start.
#2: Antec Striker Aluminum (Best Machine)
Some people are looking to splurge a little bit on their computer. Whether it’s because you got a stimulus check or because you just want what’s best at any cost, it is a little tempting, to say the least, to want the most expensive case. This case is the perfect example of the world of high end mini ITX cases.
This is the case you’d consider if you want to look into water cooling. It uses open-frame architecture, which means that you can customize your own water cooling system. It does have a GPU mount in the front, making the graphics card take charge of your PC. It does work with standard ATX as well. In addition, it not only has USB 3.0 readiness, but USB 3.1.
Plus, this case looks gorgeous. It’s tempered aluminum with glass panels on each side.
Currently on Amazon, it has positive ratings, but not full-on reviews. However, on its Newegg page, there are a lot of reviews. Most people give this a high rating, saying it’s one of the most luxurious mini ITX cases available. They love how it looks and it’s potential for water cooling.
A few criticisms center around the cable management not being the best, or the edges being sharp, but the complaints were in the minority. Overall, this is one of the best cases to buy if you have a little money to burn. Just remember that if you’re building a PC on a budget, you should spend it on graphics cards, memory, and other parts.
#3: InWin A1 (Best RGB Lighting)
Many people love a little RGB lighting on their computer case, giving it a beautiful aesthetic. This is one of the best mini ITX cases that can help you with that. But what else does it have to offer?
The A1 comes with two fans already installed. No matter how you place the fans, you do get proper lighting as well. It does have connectors and a wireless charging station, too. Its square shape makes everything easy to install, be it the power supply or graphics cards. This mini ITX case is a little more expensive than some on the list, but it is worth it.
Reviews of this mini ITX case have been positive. Most say that this is a high end mini ITX case, and one that delivers in style. One of the major criticisms of it, however, concerns the included power supply. While some people didn’t have an issue with the power supply, others did. Luckily, you can always upgrade. Overall, this mini ITX case may be worth checking out. But as we said, keep it within your budget.
#4: Cooler Master Elite (Best Low Cost)
If you want to spend money on parts and don’t want to spend too much on a mini ITX casing, this one may be worth checking out. It’s one of the best mini ITX cases that’s under $50. It has a front panel made from mesh, which does work well with airflow. It can support an 8.3″ graphics card and fits with most compact setups.
Some people are a little skeptical with not buying a high end mini ITX case, but the Cooler Master has positive reviews. Most say that it’s one one of the best mini ITX cases for the price, providing quality for a fraction of the price. One of the major criticisms is that this mini ITX case doesn’t do too much for dust protection. If you do get this case, make sure to give it a dusting every once in a while. Alternatively, there may be other ways to install dust filters as well.
#5: IN WIN B1 Mini-ITX Tower Case (Most Compact)
If you’re looking for a mini ITX case that’s truly mini, this is the one for you. Right out of the gate, you will notice how small this mini ITX case looks. It almost looks like a small video game console. It does offer some ventilation and is ready for Intel or AMD coolers. It does come with its own dust filter and fan as well. This does support vertical and horizontal stands and comes with preinstalled fans and the ability to pop off the top with ease.
Reviews are positive, but it is rated a little lower than some of the other mini ITX cases. Many people love how small this mini ITX case is and how it’s able to support all the parts in such a small form. Some reviewers did say that it does get a little too hot and noisy, so be cautious with that. You may need to configure it just right in order to get the most out of this unit.
On a Budget? Try These:
Want a computer case, but you don’t have much money? You’re in luck. These are some of the cheapest cases we can find. Despite their cheapness, many of them do have some semblance of quality.
#1 Budget: Luckyfine
This is a cheap case you can find at Walmart. Nothing too fancy about this mini ITX case; it has USB 2.0 and not USB 3.0, so you know it’s a little bit lower quality. However, if you have to have one for cheap, here you are.
#2 Budget: F05
This mini ITX case is the same deal. It’s a cheaper case with no USB 3.0, but it’s still worth checking out if you’re on a shoestring budget. Just remember that USB 2.0 is quite slow, so be mindful of that and make sure that you’re making the right decision.
#3 Budget: Etsy Case
If you have a laser cutter, you can simply make your own if you order it from Etsy. Pretty cool, huh? While some people who don’t have a laser cutter may not be keen on this, others may like the idea. Having a laser cutter or 3D printer may save you some money, even if the investment is tough at first.
Is a Mini ITX good for gaming?
If you’re wanting a mini ITX for gaming, you may wonder if that’s the right choice. The small form factor of the mini ITX case and motherboard may seem like a good idea, but the ITX motherboard may be lacking in several departments, such as size. Therefore, it might not be the best idea. Not only that, but most ITX cases don’t allow for full size cooling. If you’re playing hardcore and have a powerful graphics card, thinking about your CPU cooler is important. Something with a small form factor may not be able to have a CPU cooler that’s powerful enough.
However, if you’re only planning to play on it casually, it may be a fine choice. With any build, it all depends. Do your research and see if you can find that right balance between good form factor and power.
How big is a mini ITX case?
The mini ITX motherboard tends to be around 6.7 square inches in size. Of course, with any ITX case, you should always check the dimensions to see what size it is. Look at both the exterior of the case and the interior in order to make a more informed decision.
While most mini ITX cases will be smaller, they do come in different sizes. Some may work for a micro-ATX motherboard, while others may be more suitable for a mini-ITX only. It all depends on your needs at the end of the day.
What is the Difference Between ITX and ATX?
When you look at a computer case, you may wonder what ITX and ATX mean, and how they are different. Let’s explain. ITX stands for information technology extended, and ATX stands for advanced technology extended. You have three main types of motherboard.
First, the standard ATX, which measures 12 x 9.6 inches.
Then, you have the Micro ATX, which is 9.6 x 9.6.
Finally, you have the mini-ITX, which is 6.7 x 6.7 inches.
The motherboard sizes can determine which cases you can use. A setup with a small form factor should use a micro ATX or mini ITX.
Obviously, the regular ATX is better for more capacity and overclocking. It’s usually the most aesthetically pleasing as well. Meanwhile, the micro ATX is the least expensive and is good for builds that are single build. It can also fit into most cases. It’s not good for higher overclocking though.
Finally, there’s the mini ITX. This is a small motherboard that’s more expensive and better looking than the micro-ATX, but it’s not ideal for bigger cases and multi-GPU setups. Not to mention, it only has a couple of RAM slots.
You may believe that the mini ITX would be the best for a budget-friendly PC for gaming, but the least expensive is typically the micro-ATX. This is because the memory, processor, and graphics card have the biggest impact. You should spend most of your budget on these three.
Mini-ITX, meanwhile, is meant for people who want smaller and more compact setups that still have a decent amount of power to them.
Figuring out if you want a small or full size setup can be a challenge. You may have to do a little bit of research because all needs are different. Some people just want a full size because they have plenty of space. However, if they want a small case, they will need a small motherboard in the process. Deciding between size and power is a challenge, and sometimes you may want something that is a balance of both power and size.
It’s not something you can decide on a whim. Figure out what form factor you want and what CPU cooler you’re looking for, then see what money you can spend on parts.
Verdict: Your Best Smallest ITX Cases
There we go. We looked at every case, and we have to say the case is closed. Now, let’s look at every case once more, in case you have forgotten or you just want the TL;DR. Either way, here is each unit.
First, there’s the NZXT H210. This is the best well-rounded case for most people. It offers what most people will need in a mini ITX case, all without being too expensive or too cheap. Check it out first and then go from there.
Second, we have the Antec Striker Aluminum. This is a good case for those who are looking for the best-looking case of all, and for those who are banking on water cooling. It’s an expensive little unit, but it’s well worth it if you’re looking to splurge.
Third, there’s the InWin A1. This is the best case if you want something with RGB lighting. Being able to light up your setup and show it off to the world is something that’s always amazing to do. If you’re looking for a mini ITX that lights up, this one does cost a little more, but some may find it’s worth every penny.
Fourth, we have the Cooler Master Elite. This is a good mini ITX if you’re on a budget. This case is cheap, yet quite effective at what it does. While it does sacrifice a bit for the price, we believe that it’s still a quality case that you will love.
Finally, there’s the InWin B1. This is a small case that’s the most compact of them all. If you’re looking for something truly tiny, this is the case for you.