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The Best Mini-ITX PC Cases

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Now that GPUs have gotten more powerful and most people can get by with just an SSD and/or an HDD, 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 it’s easy to see why: if you pick your parts carefully, you can fit everything you need into something barely larger than an Xbox One...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.

The Best Large Mini-ITX Case – Fractal Design Nano S

  • See it on Amazon
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Mini-ITX isn’t always about building the smallest PC imaginable. Sometimes, it’s just about having a PC that's smaller than a regular mid-tower while packing as much gear as you can. The Fractal Design Nano S isn’t tiny, and actually approaches the size of many microATX cases, but all that extra room makes it a versatile chassis that’s easy to build with. It’ll fit a full size ATX power supply, a custom water cooling loop with dual radiators, or multiple 3.5” hard drives if you are stockpiling data. It’s a bit plain in the looks department, but a lot of PC builders would argue its aesthetic is simply tasteful. Lastly, the Nano S (like it's larger brethren) is built for quiet computing and includes sound dampening material built into the chassis. Shockingly, all this only costs only about $60 for the non-windowed version.

If you want something a bit snazzier (albeit larger and more expensive), you have lots of other options, from the 47 liter NZXT Manta to the 34 liter Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX. You could also go with the case that started it all: the BitFenix Prodigy, or--if you’re a Portal fan--its newer turret-shaped cousin. All of these cases provide different looks and configuration options for a larger, stuffed-to-the-brim Mini-ITX build.

The Best Cheap Medium-Sized Mini-ITX Case – Thermaltake Core V1

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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 Cooler would fit easily, but a small custom loop would require you to get creative. At around 22 liters, it’s still on the larger side of “medium” ITX cases, but it’s 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 you’re a bit more limited in terms of airflow and cable management, but the tradeoff may be worth it if you’re looking for a more modest footprint.

The Best Midsize Mini-ITX Case – NCase M1

  • See it at SFF LAB
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At 12.6 liters, it’s hard to call the M1 a “medium sized” case, but it’s 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. That’s insanely impressive when you consider the M1’s size.

The M1’s 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.

The Best Cheap and Small Mini-ITX Case – Silverstone SG13

  • See it on Amazon
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Once you get smaller than 12 liters, you’ll need to start making choices about what hardware is crucial, and what you can live without. That’s especially true when you’re on a budget, since the 11.5 liter, Silverstone SG13 (and its slightly smaller sibling, the 10.8 liter SG05 LITE) don’t have quite the flexibility of more expensive options like the M1. For the money, though, they’re great cases, and you can still fit a solid PC inside if you’re 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 you’ll 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 don’t expect the world. At $45, it’s hard to complain--especially when the M1 is four times as expensive.

The Best Slim Living Room-Style Mini-ITX Case – Silverstone ML08

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If you’re looking for something of similar volume to the SG13 but with a more slim, entertainment center-friendly shape, you have a few options. It’s 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 it’s bigger than a typical gaming console, it’ll 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. It’s pretty reasonably priced too.

For similar alternatives, check out the Fractal Design Node 202, which is a bit smaller, has slightly worse airflow, and sports a more unassuming aesthetic. On the other side of the spectrum, 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 that’s to be expected given the designs.

The Best Small Mini-ITX Case – Dan Case A4-SFX

  • See it at SFF LAB
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So you’re willing to make a few compromises, but you still want a kick-butt gaming PC in as small a form factor as humanly possible. The Dan Case A4-SFX is the cream of the ITX crop, coming in at only 7.5 liters...and with a whopping price tag.

You wouldn’t believe the power you can cram into this case, though. It’s the smallest chassis on the market that can fit a full-size gaming GPU, though you’ll 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 you’ll need a good low-profile air cooler--water cooling just ain’t happening in this case. A gaming build in the A4 won’t be cheap, but for a powerful PC the size of a shoebox, you can’t expect it to be.

All that said, the biggest downside of the Dan Case A4 isn’t even it’s price--it’s 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 it’ll be worth it.

The Best Impossibly Tiny Mini-ITX Case – NFC Skyreach 4 Mini

  • See it at SFF LAB
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Still not satisfied? Well, you asked for it: The NFC Skyreach 4 Mini is smaller than a PlayStation 4, and can fit components even more powerful than Sony’s console. You won’t be able to fit a full-size GPU in the Skyreach, but some mini cards (like Gigabyte's GTX 1070 Mini) will fit beautifully. Some folks have even been able to fit Zotac's 1080 Ti Mini 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 you’ll also need to use an external power-brick style PSU, which some may consider “cheating” (since you’re just moving that component outside the chassis), but when it comes to desk space, it doesn’t get much more compact than the Skyreach 4 Mini. Like most Mini-ITX cases of this caliber, it’s pricey at $200, but if you’re dead set on a tiny beast of a PC, you’re probably willing to pony up the dough.

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.