Unless we’re talking about screens, it goes without saying that current trends in the gaming industry favor compact devices, including the best smallest Mini ITX cases.
And the revolution is seemingly not slowing down any time soon, thanks to persistent breakthroughs in the tech innovation space. Engineers and designers are now even working with microscopes- since they found ways to reduce the size of circuit boards substantially without compromising on performance.
So far, so good. We like how things are turning out overall. Laptops themselves are getting smaller, and we don’t have to worry about hauling cumbersome loads anymore. Walking around with a past generation gaming laptop now almost feels like you’re carrying a desktop workstation.
Speaking of which, you’ve got to admit that it didn’t take long for gaming workstations to catch up. Previous generation rigs are now increasingly being phased out by much smaller models, which even pack cooler features.
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The fact is- all PC components are exceedingly going small. You can now build a solid gaming rig without ordering for a truckload of overwhelmingly massive parts. And the subsequent result should be a sleek compact build that essentially occupies minimal space.
If you’ve tried this before, then you know the fundamental rule of the craft- it’s not a build until you’re able to match components by their compatibility, before installing them accordingly.
And each stage, of course, depends on the case’s architecture. That’s why it’s critically important to always go for the best Mini-ITX cases on the market.
Selecting one, unfortunately, is not easy especially when it comes to the smallest Mini-ITX cases. There are multitudes of options, and most of them might look and feel similar even when they’re not.
So, guess what? We’ve done you a solid. After comprehensively testing and analyzing the leading brands, we’ve managed to compile a list of the best Mini-ITX cases for 2019:
Best Mini ITX Cases
|Case Name||Weight||Dimension (LxWxH)|
|Thermaltake Core V21||17 pounds||16.7 x 12.6 x 13.2 inches||Check Price|
|Silverstone Tek Micro-ATX/Mini-DTX/Mini-ITX SG11B||13.4 pounds||19 x 15 x 13 inches||Check Price|
|Rosewill Stryker M||15.65 pounds||20.5 x 7.8 x 18.5 inches||Check Price|
|Cooler Master N200||9.5 pounds||17.5 x 7.9 x 14.9 inches||Check Price|
|Antec P6||13.01 pounds||3.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 inches||Check Price|
|Corsair Carbide Air 240||12.35 pounds||15.6 x 10.2 x 12.6 inches||Check Price|
|Fractal Design Node 804||13.2 pounds||13.5 x 12.1 x 15.3 inches||Check Price|
|NZXT H400i||16.76 pounds||16.6 x 8.3 x 16.4 inches||Check Price|
|Phanteks Enthoo Evolv MATX TG||19.8 pounds||15.7 x 9.1 x 17.8 inches||Check Price|
|InWin 301||14.4 pounds||14.6 x 7.4 x 14.3 inches||Check Price|
|Corsair Crystal Series 280X||15.96 pounds||15.7 x 10.9 x 13.8 inches||Check Price|
While going small is the in-thing, it has one significant drawback- small means less space. And that, unfortunately, translates to limited flexibility.
Well, until someone came up with this clever method of dealing with the problem. They simply altered the case’s shape for extra flexibility. Towers aside, some of the Mini-ITX cases in 2019 now come in a cube shape.
And one particularly notable one is the Corsair Carbide Air 240.
Its designers seemingly prioritized on cooling, and managed to come up with one heck of an attractive box with maximum airflow. And their approach was quite simple- they just capitalized on the cube shape with dual chambers laid side by side, plus vents all around.
The airflow itself is generated by three solid 120mm fans on the case. Two are strategically placed at the front to draw air, while one at the top serves as the exhauster. Consequently, a smooth stream of cold air is created at the front, then it’s directed through the chambers, before ultimately being dumped as hot air.
But- if you’re more of a turbo-gamer who’s fond of overclocking and pushing systems to their limits, you might want to capitalize on the case’s cooling radiator support. The Corsair Carbide Air 240 comes with spaced holders for positioning 240mm radiators at the front and bottom.
How you set them up, however, depends on the specific motherboard you choose to install.
Now, hang on a minute. What am I driving at?
You see, despite taking up pretty much the same volume as most Mini-ITX cases, the Air 240 can comfortably hold both Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX motherboards. Its dimensions of 397mm by 260mm by 320mm grant you adequate room to upgrade from the smallest motherboard to a MicroATX with dual GPUs.
While the former setup would work well with both front and bottom radiators, the latter would force you to get rid of the bottom piece. A Micro-ATX motherboard with dual GPUs is only compatible with a front 240mm radiator.
Then, as you continue introducing additional components, you’ll notice that the case’s chambers have been organized systematically. One holds three storage drives as well as the power supply, while the other comes with two 80mm stands and four PCI slots.
Seems legit. But, is it durable?
Well, unless you engage in real-life Wreck-It-Ralph, the Air 240 should serve you for quite some time. The external surface is built in high-grade ABS plastic, while the interior is well-reinforced with steel.
- Excellent air flow
- Supports both Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX boards
- Holds a full-length graphics card
- Only a single dust filter on the front fans
Now, let’s go back to the primary reason why we all like Mini-ITX cases- they occupy minimal space.
Well, if you can’t afford to compromise that at all, the NFC Skyreach 4 Mini should be a worthwhile mini ITX case option.
Going by its dimensions of 348mm by 225mm by 64mm, this case is ridiculously compact. Smaller than even Sony’s PlayStation 4. As a matter of fact, it’s so compact that it might just as well tag along when you head to the bathroom.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. What can you possibly install in such a tiny case?
Well, admittedly, a full-size GPU will not fit into this one. But, there’s sufficient room for next-gen 215mm dual slot GPUs. Most mini cards like the GeForce GTX 1060 should fit right in.
So, of course, this case can handle sweet 4K gaming. Way superior to Sony’s PlayStation.
And to dissipate the subsequent heat, you can install a 45mm high CPU cooler. A solid one like the Noctua NH L9i should be more than enough for a Mini-ITX motherboard.
The Skyreach 4 Mini also provides mounting for two 2.5 inch storage drives. But, things get a bit complicated when we switch over to the power supply.
It turns out that AC-DC power units, which can fit into the bulk of gaming PCs, are not compatible with this case. You can only proceed with Nano AC-DC and DC-DC options.
What does this mean? For starters, this small gaming rig shares the same power setup with standard laptops. Consequently, you’ll be forced to use a DC-DC converter and a power brick. It might feel like cheating at first, but think about it this way- achieving a relatively powerful gaming build with an incredibly small case requires some form of compromise.
Well, at least you won’t be forced compromise durability. All the interior components are adequately protected by the case’s hardened and anodized body. The jet-black internal chassis is well-anodized, and the same applies to its stylish external covers. Then, its overall chassis is made from ultra-premium aluminum, which is sufficiently reinforced without the extra weight.
- Needs external PSU
Here are two things that don’t usually go together when we’re discussing ITX case sizes- small and versatile.
That said, there are special Mini ITX cases built for 2019 that are proving to be exceptional. Like the well-known Thermaltake Core V1.
And yes, you’re right. That it’s another cube version. And this alone facilitates multiple component configurations both horizontally and vertically.
The interior itself is divided into two principal chambers. The lower one of them has dedicated bays for drives and PSU, while the other has been developed to house cooling systems and boost overall performance.
If its large pre-installed 200mm fan doesn’t work fine for heavy gaming, you can two more 80mm turbo fans at the rear. However, if you prefer advanced cooling, you can combine a multiple fan setup with basically all types of cooling systems- including a 140mm radiator.
These would work well with the case’s drive bay design, which comes with demountable 2.5” and 3.5” device racks. The configuration has been worked out to provide adequate space for quick and efficient cooling.
Well, that might seem like a stretch for one of the mini ITX cases in 2019. But, consider all the cooling you’d need if you built a rig that fully capitalizes on Thermaltake’s endless stackable design.
In a nutshell, you can install a high powered PSU extending up to 200mm, a 140mm high CPU cooler, a 285mm long VGA, plus two data storage devices.
As a matter of fact, its panels can be interchanged to accommodate your build accordingly. The I/O panel, for instance, can be shifted to a different position. The front panel, on the other hand, can be rotated easily to create room.
- Interchangeable top, bottom, and side panels
- Supports tool-free installation
- Efficient airflow
- Needs external PSU
Come to think of it, $45 for a great PC game would be a bargain since decent ones now cost about $60. But, has it ever occurred to you that it’s possible to upgrade your rig with a spanking new shell at the same price? And no, we’re not talking about $60- but rather, a $45 Mini ITX case.
The Cooler Master Elite 110, as matter of fact, costs less than that- you can get it for about $44. It might sound like a cheap knock-off, I admit. But really though, what features do you get?
For starters, it’s well-engineered for smooth and consistent heat dissipation. The top panel, for example, is essentially a perforated mesh bezel for maximizing ventilation and keeping components free of dust. Then the entire casing sits on four legs for efficient air flow under its belly.
At the side, you’ll find a pre-installed 80mm fan supplementing the front 120mm fan. Quite sufficient for typical gaming. But since we’re pretty much addicts of overclocking in 4k, you might want to add a water cooling kit. Cooler Master Elite 130 can comfortably hold a 120mm one.
Other than that, installing additional components is as simple and straightforward as slide-in-then-lock. The drive bay, which measures 5.25 inches, saves you the hassle of working with multiple complex tools. Generating sufficient power is also not much of a problem, thanks to the case’s compatibility with full-size PSUs.
That aside, the one common thing that gives many Mini-ITX lovers a headache is boosting PC performance. Thankfully, this has been worked out on the Cooler Master Elite 110.
Right next to the Mini ITX motherboard, you’ll find an allowance that can accommodate a graphics card that stretches up to 13.5 inches in length.
Overall, the Cooler Master Elite 110 measures 8.2 inches in height, 9.4 inches in width, and 15.7 inches in depth. In other words, it can house a regular ATX PS2- sized PSU, plus a 2.5 inch high CPU cooler.
- Long GPU
- Tool-free installation
- Adequate ventilation
- No hard drive bay
Of course, what matters most, needless to say, is a rig’s internal build. For what it’s worth, think of its interior components like the engine, while its GPU acts as the soul.
But, let me say this straight- there’s more to a build than just the engine. If you’re going to commit resources and time to put together a sick gaming PC, at least get its façade right.
Well, one of the best mini-ITX cases in 2019 that have the looks to match a super interior is the Thermaltake Core P1.
It’s a sleek case that’s elegantly designed in line with modern minimalistic trends. At the front, to begin with, is an open space between two flashy support frames. They are supplemented by two more at the back to form a sturdy chassis all-round.
Moving to the side is a 5mm thick tempered glass panel that stretches from edge to edge. So, your buddies will be able to admire the rig’s internal components without tampering with your expensive stuff. And if you want to make them super jealous, just install cooling fans with matching LED lights.
Speaking of which, this stunning beauty can hold two 120mm fans on the left panel. As you install them, you’ll certainly enjoy working with the case’s dismantlable modular design. It essentially facilitates an easy and versatile system building process from the ground up- owing to modular brackets, racks, panels and pre-installed trays, which collectively eliminate otherwise unreachable screw gaps.
The fans might not be enough for such a cool rig. But, on the bright side, you’ll be the talk of the town if you choose to go with specially-lit modular color LED fans. Plus, you can introduce an extra cooling system, since the casing can easily accommodate a 240mm radiator.
Although it looks like a tower Mini-ITX case, it turns out that the Thermaltake Core P1 is surprisingly flexible on graphics cards. It can effortlessly support some of the biggest ones on the market, going by its GPU provision of 380mm.
When it comes to placement, this case has been designed for both horizontal and vertical positioning, without compromising the cooling framework. You can even mount the whole thing on your wall if you like. But, you’ll have to purchase mounting accessories for that.
The entire case is only 16.6 inches high, 13.1 inches wide, and 16.6 inches deep. As a result, maintaining a clean outlook as you squeeze in all these gaming components would have been a tall order. But, designers mitigated this using a simple and clever approach. Instead of placing drive bays at the front, they hid them in the rear panel and still managed to leave 45mm of space for cable management.
- Stylishly and elegantly designed
- Spacious interior
- Mini-ITX case with tempered glass
- Great value for money
- Fairly versatile
- No wall-mounting hardware
And now for the top dog.
After reviewing all the factors collectively, we found the NZXT H200i to be the best Mini-ITX case for 2019. And there are several reasons why.
First off, this is the type of Mini-ITX case that would win a global beauty pageant for several years in a row.
Well, we might argue endlessly about the design since it’s a subjective matter. But one thing we’re all bound to acknowledge is that its RGB lighting is certainly a fine touch.
Admittedly, leaving it at a static level would have been impressive enough. But, the case’s designers decided to take the ambiance a notch higher by making it dynamically customizable. You can now adjust the whole lighting from a special CAM-powered smart device, which also doubles up as the fan controller.
If you find the nine advanced lighting presets to be amusingly convenient, wait until you try managing the fans. The system basically allows you to select a fan profile for each port based on your preferences and cooling needs. If you’re running a game with heavy graphics, for instance, a performance profile should do.
Normally, you’d expect increased noise levels with such a setting- and they can be pretty disturbing. Fortunately, the NZXT H200i mitigates this problem through its adaptive noise reduction feature. It can silence your rig by up to 40% by simply establishing an ideal compromise between noise levels and cooling.
This case also gains points when it comes to size. With a height of 349mm, a depth of 372mm and a width of 210mm, the NZXT H200i is fairly compact and light at only six kilograms.
That provides just enough room for a Mini-ITX motherboard, one 120mm radiator at the front, another 120mm radiator at the top, two expansion slots, plus a front filter and PSU intake.
The cooling capability here is also remarkable. In addition to its smart fan control feature and provisions for radiators, the NZXT H200i facilitates up to four fans. You can reinforce its preinstalled Aer 120mm rear and top fans with two 120mm units at the front.
To top it off, you get a striking tempered edge-to-edge glass panel mounted on the side.
- Side tempered glass panel
- Flexible cable management
- Dynamic fan control
- Advanced lighting
- Adaptive noise reduction
- CAM-powered smart device
- Glitches in the CAM software
Things You Should Know Before Choosing The Best Mini-ITX Case
An ATX motherboard is the biggest of the three, measuring 305mm by 244mm. The Micro-ATX comes second, measuring 244mm by 244mm. The smallest is usually the Mini-ITX, which measures 170mm by 170mm.
They have varying configurations, and the most suitable one, overall, is the Micro ATX motherboard. In addition to several PCI card slots, it provides for dual GPUs and sufficient RAM setups.
PC case Ports
For smooth installation, your case’s PC case ports have to be compatible with the motherboard headers. If they are not, you’ll be forced to use expansion cards or adapters.
This refers to the amount of space provided in the case to install a graphics processing unit. A clearance of 12 inches should be versatile enough to house all types of GPUs.
Removable Air Filters
These are demountable ventilation elements in selected cases which purify the air by minimizing dust. A case with this feature should experience much less accumulation of particles after prolonged use, compared to one without.
Fan mounts are special provisions within a case for fitting additional cooling fans. Their sizes range from 80mm up to 200mm.
Motherboard Tray and Standoffs
A motherboard tray is a unique provision at the bottom panel of a case, reserved for motherboards. Each tray essentially comes with a set of holes for locking motherboard standoffs in position and avoiding possible electrical shorts.
Drive bays are specialized areas of a case reserved for hardware like platter-style hard drives, fan controllers, and temperature readouts. Their sizes range from 2.5 inches to 5.25 inches.
Technically, mini-ITX cases are the smallest today. But, unfortunately, they don’t come with suitable features for housing gaming PC components. You’d have to put up with a limited RAM capacity, an extremely cramped interior, a poor heat management system, and a small graphics card.
That leaves you with only one option- going Micro. In essence, MicroATX-based units are the most ideal cases for building decent gaming rigs. Mini-ITX versions only outdo the rest in device portability.
But, here’s the thing. The status quo might change pretty soon- at least going by the current pace of tech development. Plus, of course, increased competition among innovative players in this space.
We just have to sit tight and wait. Meanwhile, get yourself a great Mini-ITX case, and fire up your build!