Now that processors and graphics cards have gotten more powerfulwhile running cooler tooand most people can get by with just a single SSD, a lot of gamers are ditching the big and unnecessarily bulky mid-tower for something smaller; a Mini ITX build.These mini-PCs have exploded in popularity recently, and its easy to see why: if you pick your parts carefully, you can fit everything you need into something barely larger than an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro…but with a lot more horsepower. I’ve already listed the best Mini ITX motherboards, so now I’m going to break down the best Mini ITX cases to consider for your next gaming build.TL;DR These are the Best Mini ITX Cases:
1. Fractal Design Node 202
Best Mini ITX PC Case
When you’re on a mission to build a gaming pc that’s more powerful but smaller than a console, there’s no substitute for the Fractal Design Node 202. It’s a 10-liter chassis that can fit full-sized graphics cards inside and keep you on budget with its $70 price tag. Better yet, it’s has a very clean, modern aesthetic that wouldn’t look out of place in your home entertainment center.There are only two mounting points for two 120mm case fans, but they’ll have to be low-profile and the same goes for your CPU cooleryou can forget about liquid-cooling your CPU. However, even without any additional fans, the Node 202 offers plenty of ventilation for the CPU and GPU areas, which are also all protected by dust filters.
2. Thermaltake Core V1
Best Budget Mini ITX Case
For a smaller cube-style case that can still pack a lot of hardware, the Thermaltake Core V1 has a lot to offer. At a dirt-cheap price of just $45, the Core V1 provides a smaller footprint than Mini ITX towers, while still offering enough room for a full-size graphics card, an ATX power supply, and even water cooling.A closed-loop liquid-cooler would fit easily, but a small custom loop would require you to get creative. At around 22 liters, its still on the larger side of medium ITX cases, but its still much more compact than a standard mid-tower case (and has steel construction, to boot).
If you want something a bit smaller on a similar budget, the 19.8 liter Cooler Master Elite 130 and 15.4-liter Elite 110 are both great alternatives. Their smaller size means youre a bit more limited in terms of airflow and cable management, but the trade-off may be worth it if youre looking for a more modest footprint.
3. NZXT H210i
Best Large Mini ITX Case
Mini ITX isnt always about building the smallest PC imaginable. Sometimes, its just about having a PC that’s smaller a tower while packing as much gear as you can. The NZXT H210i isnt tiny, and some might argue it approaches the size of a microATX case, but all that extra room makes it a versatile chassis thats easy to build with.Itll fit a full-size ATX power supply, a custom water cooling loop with dual radiators and two 3.5 hard drives if you are stockpiling data. Its also brings some unique styling with its punched-out side ventilation areas and an integrated RGB strip. The H210i also comes fitted with a smart hub, which works primarily with NZXT’s array of Aer2 RGB fans and Hue2 lighting peripherals. Of course, if you don’t need any of the lighting or connected smarts, you can go for the stripped-down NZXT H210i.
If you want something a bit snazzier (albeit larger and more expensive), you have lots of other options like the 34 liter Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX. You could also go with the case that started it all: the BitFenix Prodigy, orif youre a Portal fanits newer turret-shaped cousin. All of these cases provide different looks and configuration options for a larger, stuffed-to-the-brim Mini ITX build.
4. NCase M1
Best Midsize Mini ITX Case
At 12.6 liters, its hard to call the M1 a medium-sized case, but its about as small as you can get without making too many sacrifices that is, provided you plan your build very, very carefully. With the right parts, you can fit an SFX power supply, a full-length graphics card, an SSD, a 3.5-inch hard drive, a slim optical drive, and an all-in-one water cooling loop with a 240mm radiator…at the same time. Thats insanely impressive when you consider the M1s size.The M1s versatility comes with top-notch build quality too, with aluminum construction, tool-less panels, and sleek aesthetics. As a result, the M1 is pretty darn expensive at $195, but if you want the smallest case possible without making big compromises, this is as good as it gets.
5. Dan Case A4-SFX
Best Small Mini ITX Case
So you want a kick-butt gaming PC in as small a form factor as humanly possible. Well, you’ve come to the right place because the Dan Case A4-SFX is the cream of the Mini ITX crop, coming in at only 7.5 liters…and with a whopping price tag.You wouldnt believe the power you can cram into this case, though. Its the smallest chassis on the market that can fit a full-size GPU, though youll almost certainly want to use a reference-style blower card to move hot air out of the chassis. In fact, there are no fan mounts to speak of, meaning youll need a good low-profile air cooler or a compact liquid-cooler. A gaming build in the A4 wont be cheap, but for a powerful PC the size of a shoebox, you cant expect it to be.
All that said, the biggest downside of the Dan Case A4 isnt even its priceits how hard it is to actually buy. Supplies are quite limited, and the case is often sold out, or in pre-order status for the next revision. So if you want to buy this case, you may have to wait a while…but itll be worth it.
6. Silverstone SG13
Best High-Airflow Mini ITX Case
Once you get smaller than 12 liters, youll need to start making choices about what hardware is crucial, and what you can live without. Thats especially true when youre on a budget, since the 11.5 liter, Silverstone SG13 (and its slightly smaller sibling, the 10.8 liter SG05 450) dont have quite the flexibility of more expensive options like the M1. For the money, though, theyre great cases, and you can still fit a solid PC inside if youre willing to deal with a few limitations.For example, while the M1 (previous entry) fits graphics cards up to 12.4 inches, the SG13 is limited to 10.5 inch long cards (10.0 inches for the SG05), which means it can hold any Nvidia Founder’s Edition card (including the GTX 1080 Ti), but only midrange AMD GPUs.
CPU air coolers will need to be more compact, water cooling radiators will need to be smaller, and youll have to choose between two 2.5 hard drives or one 3.5 hard drive (and if you have an ATX power supply, that choice is made for you, since it butts up against the hard drive mounts). Again, that still leaves a lot of room for a decent build, as long as you dont expect the world. At $45, its hard to complain–especially when the M1 is four times as expensive.
7. Silverstone ML08
Best Console-Style Mini ITX Case
If youre looking for something of similar volume to the SG13 but with a more slim, entertainment center-friendly shape, you have a few options. Its tough to pick a favorite in this category, but the Silverstone ML08 is a good balance between looks, size, and cooling.You can fit a full-size GPU in it pretty easily, and while its bigger than a typical gaming console, itll fit in your living room very similarly, either horizontally or standing vertically on its optional feet. It also has a handle for easy carrying to LAN parties and the like. Its pretty reasonably priced too.
For similar alternatives, check out the Silverstone RVZ01B, RVZ02B, and RVZ03B cases are similar to the ML08 but with more of that gamer look. All of the cases in this category are built with a mix of steel and plastic, but thats to be expected given the design.
8. NFC Skyreach 4 Mini
Best Portable Mini ITX Case
Still not satisfied? Well, you asked for it: The NFC Skyreach 4 Mini is smaller than a PlayStation 4 and can fit components more powerful than Sonys top-of-the-line PS4 Pro. You wont be able to fit a full-size GPU in the Skyreach, but some mini cards (like MSI RTX 2070 Aero ITX) will fit beautifully.Technically, any graphics card under 250mm in length will fit inside this tiny case, but it may require a little modding if only to dissipate all that heat. And even then, it’s going to be extremely noisy (not to mention costly), so I can’t say I’d recommend it–but you do you. Check out the Small Forum Factor Forums for tips on building in the Skyreach 4 Mini.
Note that youll also need to use an external power-brick style PSU, which some may consider cheating (since youre just moving that component outside the chassis), but when it comes to desk space, it doesnt get much more compact than the Skyreach 4 Mini. Like most Mini ITX cases of this caliber, its pricey at $200, but if youre dead set on a tiny beast of a PC, youre probably willing to pony up the dough.
What to Know Before Building a Mini ITX Case
The main selling factor of Mini ITX cases is they’re much smaller and don’t waste any space, but that’s also what makes them so challenging to build in. There isn’t a single square-inch of wasted space inside a Mini ITX case, which also means each square-inch will be essential to you for squeezing in a larger GPU, a second solid-state drive, or even what would seem like a simple power cable in a larger chassis.With that in mind you’ll want to pre-plan your PC build before you even start buying parts. Measure the GPU and main compartment twice to ensure you can actually fit your desired CPU cooler or graphics card inside the case. Considering how small these PC cases can be, you might even want to buy some custom cables with shorter lengths, so that they don’t take up any more space than needed.
Lastly, you should rehearse your PC build beforehand. It can be all to easy to start installing your motherboard, CPU cooler, and other components only to realize that you’ve blocked off access to your storage mounting points several steps ago.
Building a Mini ITX system is tricky work, but they’re some of the most rewarding puzzles you can solve as a PC builder.
With Black Friday nearly upon us, it’s a great time to find great deals on PC components and prebuilts. Make sure to check out our coverage of the best Black Friday PC deals.Whitson Gordon is a writer, gamer, and tech nerd who has been building PCs for 10 years. He eats potato chips with chopsticks so he doesn’t get grease on his mechanical keyboard.Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam