PCs keep getting bigger and bulkier with every new generation of components that come out. Most gamers don’t mind having these towering machines parked on their desks.
However, there is a small but growing community of enthusiasts that are choosing to go the opposite way and focus on smaller and more value-packed builds.
If you want to build a compact small form factor PC without sacrificing any features or cooling capacity, this list of the best Mini ITX cases will be helpful.
From white water-cooling cases to square glass side-panel beauties, each and every case in this article strikes a perfect balance between value, usability, and design.
Best Small Form Factor Mini-ITX Cases Overview
Before You Buy: Top 5 Features to Prioritize
Although the Mini ITX case you go with won’t directly affect your PC’s performance, it’s still essential to do the research and make sure you choose the right one.
Why? Because, serving as the outer body of the case, it not only affects the aesthetics of the build significantly, but it also limits the upgrade headroom.
So, let’s go through five features you should prioritize to find the right one for your needs and budget:
In your excitement to get the coolest mITX case, it can be easy to forget compatibility. So, when looking for one always double-check if it’ll be able to house your current components.
If you haven’t yet bought them, then keep the dimensions in mind before you do so. A 360mm AIO will go to waste if the case only supports AIOs up to 280mm.
Sufficient Cooling and Airflow
In standard ATX cases, airflow and cooling generally isn’t something you need to worry about since they’re big enough to house any AIO you prefer and have mesh panels for easy airflow too.
Not so with Mini ITX cases. Thanks to their limited size, the list of potential coolers becomes slim and because of their smaller footprint, airflow is limited too. So, it’s important to ensure sufficient cooling.
Ideally, you want fans on the front, back, and/or top of the case. This enables the intake of cool air from the front of the case, and hot air exhausted out the back and/or top, creating an overall positive airflow cycle. You’d also want a grilled panel, side cutouts, and several ventilation strips to ensure plenty of breathing room.
PCI-Express Riser Cable
As you search for a good Mini ITX case for yourself, you’ll notice that some of the best ones come with PCI-Express riser cables in the box. This frees you from the limitation of slotting the GPU directly into the motherboard, which makes working with an SFF case a whole lot easier.
Although, keep in mind that not every Mini ITX case out there comes with one. If they don’t and you still need one, you’d have to pay extra. This becomes especially important if the motherboard you end up using has PCIe 4.0 support and you plan on upgrading your GPU down the road too.
Having adequate front I/O ports in a case just makes life so much easier. You won’t need to poke around the rear motherboard I/O shield every time you want to connect a USB or a pair of headphones. Other than that, the USB-C port along with Power On/Off and RGB color and mode change buttons can be convenient to have too.
Plenty of Drive Bays
Games these days, especially most AAA titles, are becoming notorious for having absolutely gigantic file sizes. Some FPS games go as far as 100GB, not including updates and DLCs. So, needless to say, that 250GB SATA SSD you plan on using will fill up real quick.
So, it’s important to have plenty of drive bays in whichever case you go with. Most give you the option to either go for a cooling-focused or storage-heavy configuration. Don’t worry, 90% of cases will work just fine for general users. If you’re a professional content creator or have a huge library of titles, definitely keep this point in mind.
Of course, these aren’t the only five points to keep in mind. Beyond this, it also depends a lot on personal preference: RGB and aesthetics, build quality, brand value, and more. But this is a great base that you can get started from. Now, with all this important information out of the way, let’s get into the list without any further ado…
The Cooler Master NR200P is arguably the most popular and well-known Mini ITX case out there, and for good reason. It packs all the features both a beginner and an advanced user need to build a beast PC.
One of the best features of this case is the interchangeable glass and vented steel side-panel option. Based on your current preferences, you can either use the former to show off your RGB components or the latter to get the best cooling and airflow possible. Furthermore, all external panels are secured with pins rather than screws for easy and tool-less removal.
For cooling, it can hold up to seven total fans, and has over five sides of open ventilation. Plus, when it comes to CPU coolers, it can house a tower heatsink up to 155mm tall or an AIO radiator up to 280mm long. There’s also enough space to install a 330mm triple-slot GPU with a PCI Riser cable provided in the box for vertical mounting.
To top it all off, it also looks cool and is available in seven unique and distinct colors besides black and gray: Caribbean Blue, Flamingo Pink, Nightshade Purple, Sunset Orange, and Full-White. Don’t worry about scratching off these colors easily too, since the case is made with thick powder-coated SGCC steel.
Front I/O: 1x USB Type-A, 1x USB Type-C, 1x Headset Audio Jack
Expansion Slots: 2
Integrated RGB Lighting: Yes
Fans Included: 1x Rear 120mm
NZXT is one of the best case manufacturers right now, and when it comes to Mini ITX they have a great offering too: the H210i. It is a younger brother to the more popular H710i and only supports Mini ITX motherboards, but it’s highly impressive in many regards.
With the white exterior, it gives off a chill and relaxed aura too, and will fit into most white-themed setups. For storage, you can install four 2.5” SSDs or one 3.5” HDD. If you’re an RGB lover, you’ll love this case even more since it comes equipped with NZXT’s Smart Hub for easy RGB and fan control.
Out of the box, you get two RGB fans and one LED strip, although the sky’s the limit to expand the built-in lighting with additional components later on. This, combined with the great cable management features and a full-sized glass panel, make this a masterpiece of a case to look at.
Plus, there’s support for water cooling, a three-slot graphics card, and radiator support of 120mm on the rear or 240 mm on the front. All of these features make the NZXT H210i a great option for anybody who wants to build a beast of a gaming PC inside a Mini ITX case.
If you’re building a small form factor Mini ITX PC on a tight budget, the Thermaltake Core V1 is a good option. It provides all the features you need without any fancy extras on top.
When it comes to cooling, there’s a 200mm fan at the front to pull in fresh air from your room, and if you want you can install a pair of 80mm turbofans to exhaust the hot air out of the case. Other than that, there’s also plenty of ventilation. It doesn’t disappoint with storage either, as you have the option to install two 3.5 inch and two 2.5 inch SSDs in this case.
For compatibility with components, it’s highly impressive too. You can fit in a 140mm CPU cooler, a 285mm GPU, and even a standard ATX power supply unit!
In terms of design, you get a good opportunity to show off your components through the see-through side panel, which you attach on either side of the case or even on the top. This also makes the build experience better since you can just take off each panel and reach right inside.
Overall, the Thermaltake Core V1 is a great entry-level option for the SFF PC niche. If you’ve only worked with regular full-size PCs in the past and want to get a taste of SFF builds, try out this one. At around $60, it’s not a huge gamble and will give you a smooth building experience.
Compatible with standard ATX PSU
Suitable for stealth builds or professional environments
If you plan to use your SFF PC outside of your home, the Lian Li TU-150WX is the perfect Mini ITX case to go for. The smaller size combined with great build quality and portability makes this the perfect machine to use at gaming conventions, Hackathons, or LAN parties.
First of all, let’s talk about compatibility. This case supports a CPU cooler up to 165mm tall and up to four 120mm fans. You can place two of those beneath the GPU itself to give it an extra thermal boost. When it comes to airflow, it has two side-cut ventilation sections at the front panel as well as another square-shaped one on the right panel to provide air to the PSU.
In the Mini ITX spectrum, the Lian Li TU-150WX is fairly large. So, you have decent options when it comes to storage and GPU compatibility too. Any high-end GPU available right now will fit right in along with a powerful cooler like an Arctic Liquid Freezer 120. Granted, you still need to use an SFX or SFX-L PSU, but that’s understandable in this case.
In terms of design, the dark metallic aluminum exterior looks sleek and elegant. You also get a tempered glass left side panel which is great for showing off the inner components of your PC. If you’re going for a white build, there’s also a silver option available.
All in all, this case is perfect if you plan to use your PC at gaming conventions, Hackathons, or LAN parties. Thanks to the magnetic retractable carrying handle, it’s easy to carry around and the durable build quality will ensure the safety of your components in case of mishandling too.
Comes with a magnetic retractable carrying handle for portability
Suitable for users who like to use their PC outdoors
Front I/O: 1x USB-C, 2x USB 3.0, Microphone/Headphone, LED Mode button, LED Color button, Power
Expansion Slots: 3
Integrated RGB Lighting: Yes
Fans Included: 2x 120mm Front
Unlike most of the cases on this list that look as if they were designed to be Mini ITX from the ground up, the Phanteks Eclipse P200A is much different. It looks like a regular full-tower case that was made smaller using a shrink ray. It’s perfect for those who want a Mini ITX case without sacrificing the features and looks of a full-tower case.
For storage, you can install two 2.5” SSDs and up to four 3.5” HDDs. This should be more than sufficient for most users, and if you get a motherboard with M.2 NVMe slot you can also increase storage capacity that way too.
Now, let’s talk about compatibility. This case accepts an ATX power supply, which can be very convenient if you’re upgrading from an older build. It also has 165mm of clearance for a chunky CPU cooler and can fit any high-end triple-slot graphics card out there. For water cooling, it can fit up to a 280mm AIO radiator in the front and 240mm on the side.
What about airflow? The case features an ultra-fine mesh front and side panels for easy and quick breathability along with several dust filters. So, it’s safe to say that your components won’t be choking for air anytime soon.
The two pre-installed 120mm RGB fans are impressive too. They’re connected with the case using the integrated Digital-RGB controller that can sync with the motherboard, although you can also change their lighting color and mode with the front buttons directly. Overall, this is a great case for anybody wanting to build a beast Mini ITX PC.
Most of the cases on this list are supposed to be used in gaming setups and placed beside monitors on desks. But, what about living room TV setups? If you want to build an SFF PC for your home theater, the Silverstone ML08 might be the right pick.
Thanks to its unique design, you have the option to either place it on a vertical or horizontal configuration too, which makes it a great console-style PC to place under your TV. The dark metallic finish also makes it rather indistinct and it probably won’t stand out among other devices.
Another special feature that makes it a perfect HTPC is the extra space for a dedicated optical drive, which Blu-Ray fans and cinephiles will be grateful for. Plus, it can easily support a 13-inch graphics card and has enough space for a low-profile CPU cooler like the Noctua NH-L9A to fit in without any issues.
However, with that being said, there’s no denying that you’ll have to go with a low-power CPU when building in this case, like a Ryzen 5 3300X, to avoid blistering temperatures. This is because the ML08 has no extra space for any case fans. All you have to go for is the ventilation grates on the sides and the fan attached to your CPU cooler.
Everything considered, the ML08 is only suitable for a specific use case: being a home theater PC for decent gaming and online content consumption. If you like the form factor and portability of consoles but the freedom and customizability of PCs, it is the right option to go for.
Perfect for console-style placement under TV
Comes with a carrying handle for extra portability
Elegant design and build quality
No space to install any case fans
Are Mini ITX Cases Suitable for Professional Workloads Like Video Editing?
As I said before, the case doesn’t really affect the performance of the PC. However, it changes the look of the PC and also dictates which kind of components you can install.
Being a professional, I would assume you need some serious computing power, effective cooling, and a lot of drive bays. While it could be a bit cramped, you can surely manage with a Mini ITX case. Some of the best ones I’d recommend for this purpose are the Phanteks Eclipse P200A and the NZXT H210i.
While both of these are technically Mini ITX cases, they’re still a bit bigger compared to the others, have ample front I/O, and thus provide more space for you to work with. This would allow you to install more powerful components, more SSDs and HDDs, and high-end AIOs with big radiators for solid cooling.
With that being said, it’s worth mentioning that whether you’re a gamer, a content creator, or a professional, choosing the right case just boils down to the basic features you need: compatibility, sufficient cooling, front I/O, several drive bays, expansion slots, etc. Anything beyond that is either an extra or a user-specific feature.
Is It Important to Pre-plan an SFF PC Build?
As you probably know, the USP (Unique Selling Point) of Mini ITX cases is their smaller footprint: they require less space to fit into and thus free up more real estate for other components in the setup and on the desk.
Unfortunately, this USP also works against them; they’re all the more challenging to build in and you can’t afford to waste a single square inch.
Components that you took for granted with standard ATX cases—a large CPU cooling tower, extra SSD bays, or even a multicolored braided cable—could be challenging to fit into a Mini ITX case. So, knowing that, it’s wise to always plan your build before you go ahead and order all the components on your list.
The first step is to cross-reference your GPU length with the main compartment of the Mini ITX case to ensure that, when the time comes, you can fit it into the enclosure along with the CPU cooler. Another precaution you can take is using smaller cables that have precisely the length you need for the build and no extra slack.
After you’ve done all that and have the components on hand, you might want to rehearse assembling the PC first before you actually get to it. This can help you deal with problems down the line too.
At the end of the day, assembling all those PC components inside a Mini ITX case is a challenge, there’s no denying that. However, there’s a certain reward you get once you achieve it, almost like defeating a tough boss in a video game!
Mini Case, Huge Power
Looking for the right Mini ITX case, especially if you’ve gotten used to standard full-size before, can be pretty challenging because of all the weird and quirky options out there.
However, if you keep the five features I talked about before in mind—parts compatibility, sufficient airflow and cooling, PCIe 4.0, ample I/O and drive bays—it can help you narrow down your options significantly. Hopefully, my article helped you find the perfect case based on your workload and budget!