Saturday, May 18, 2024

Best Mini ITX Cases 2020: MITX PC Cases for Tiny Gaming Computers

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Big, flashy gaming PCs may get more attention for their looks and all the power that can be packed inside, but there’s a lot to love about a compact, Mini ITX build. With a great Mini ITX case, you can pack in all you need for your computer into a build that’s no bigger than a video game console. It’s not just the size, though, but also the fact that you can now put surprisingly powerful components into these builds. Processers and graphics cards just keep getting better, and now you can find plenty of powerful components that run cool enough to live inside the tighter quarters of a Mini ITX case.These compact computers make for great media center devices, as you can enjoy all the flexibility for a full desktop operating system and the power of a gaming PC without needing to have a big, chunky PC next to your gaming TV. Of course, there’s also no harm building one just to have as your main computer if you want a stylish, minimalistic gaming desk setup. These builds can be a little trickier, as you really have to choose a lot of components based on whether they’ll fit into the system you want to build. So, if you’re ready to start kitting out your tiny, wonder PC, you’ll want to choose a case first. Luckily, we have some truly great options picked out for you.

TL;DR – These are the Best Mini ITX Cases:

1. Cooler Master NR200

Best Mini-ITX Case

Our Pick

Cooler Master NR200

On Amazon

Cooler Master’s NR200 case is here to help you build a capable, compact gaming PC. This case has a constrained size with just 18.25 liters of inernal volume, but it can actually fit a considerable CPU cooler and decently large graphics card. You can even install a 240mm radiator for a liquid-cooled processor.

The Cooler Master NR200 comes pre-installed with a 120mm top fan and a 92mm rear fan, but there’s support for an additional five fans for serious ventilation. You won’t be hurting for storage space in this case either, as it can hold two 2.5-inch drives and one 3.5-inch drive in dedicated bays as well as an additional drive of either size in a combo bay. There’s very little in the way of compromise with this case – just make sure you’ve got a compact power supply and don’t have a monstrously large CPU cooler or graphics card.

2. Thermaltake Core V1

Best Budget Mini ITX Case

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Thermaltake Core V1

On Amazon

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, 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 trade-off may be worth it if you’re looking for a more modest footprint.

3. Fractal Design Node 202

Best Console-Style Mini ITX Case

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Fractal Design Node 202

On Amazon

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 $145 price tag with an included 450W power supply, though a $70 price model without a power supply is also available. Better yet, it 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 cooler—you 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.

4. SilverStone LD03B

Best Compact Mini ITX Case

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SilverStone LD03B

On Amazon

If you’re going with a Mini ITX case, you obviously want to keep things tight. The SilverStone LD03B will let you do just that, but it won’t force you to make a lot of sacrifices to get there.

The SilverStone LD03B supports surprisingly tall 190mm CPU coolers, letting you get plenty of cooling potential. It can even fit in a graphics card up to 309mm in length. It manages this with a tall, boxy design that keeps its overall footprint small without going too tight in any dimension. SilverStone also includes two 120mm fans at the top and bottom of the case to keep hot air moving out.

5. Lian Li PC-O11D Mini

Best Big Mini ITX Case

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Lian Li PC-O11D Mini

On Newegg

Some Mini ITX cases are all about seeing how little you can go, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can get a compact case that’s not so tight that getting parts in is a struggle. You shouldn’t have to make a ton of sacrifices just to go small. With the Lian Li PC-011D Mini, you don’t have to. This case squeezes the power supply in its own small section, requiring a SFX or SFX-L unit. But, on the flip side, it leaves a ton of room for components.

While this case will work for your ITX build, it actually has the space for mATX and even ATX motherboards. That means you can configure for ITX now, and switch your build up a few years down the line without needing to get a new case. There’s room for four drives, including two 3.5-inch drives with easy-to-install caddies. You can also fit large CPU coolers and graphics cards, so you won’t have to skimp on performance hardware. There’s even a ton of room for fans and up to 360mm radiators – that’s right, radiators plural. There’s a lot of flexibility to how you build inside the Lian Li PC-011D Mini, and that explains why the D stands for Dynamic.

6. Lian Li TU150

Best Portable Mini ITX Case

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Going with a smaller Mini ITX PC case to help you save room is nice but what if it also helped make your PC more portable. That’s exactly what the Lian Li TU150 sets out to do as a relatively compact chassis with a retractable carrying handle. This case is a bit larger on the Mini ITX spectrum, but it has enough internal space to let you install an SFX power supply and a triple-slot graphics card.

Despite its small size, there’s plenty of places to move air in this chassis as there are mounting points for two 120mm fans on the bottom, then another spot on the front and back of the case. The Lian Li TU150 also features clever cable routing areas behind the motherboard tray and in the roof of the case.

7. NCase M1 V6.1

Best High-End Mini ITX Case

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There isn’t a more diehard group of PC enthusiasts than those in the SFF community and if you want a Mini ITX case made for the people by the people, you need the NCase M1 V6.1. Unlike most PC cases made by manufacturers, the NCase M1 V6.1 was crowdsourced using ideas of ardent small ultimate Mini ITX PC fans to create the ultimate case of their dreams. The result is a small chassis that surprisingly large enough to hold almost any sized graphics card, 240mm liquid-coolers, and more.

The NCase M1 v6.1 is insanely impressive when you consider its size. The M1’s versatility also comes with top-notch build quality too, with aluminum construction, tool-less panels, and sleek aesthetics. It’s also highly tuned for maximum cooling with its over 6,000 ventilation holes while a couple of well-placed dust filters will keep your PC components clean. That all said, the NCase M1 is pretty darn expensive at $210 and it’s only available in limited edition runs, but if you want the smallest case possible without making big compromises, this is as good as it gets.

8. NZXT H1

Best Semi-Built Mini-ITX Case

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Note: The H1 case is temporarily unavailable as NZXT is addressing a potential fire hazard, TechSpot reports. Current owners are advised to shut down their systems and await a repair kit. You can find out more here.

One of the tricky things about building a Mini-ITX rig is that there isn’t a lot of room for error. It’s easy to end up with components that don’t quite fit together. The NZXT H1 takes a lot of the guess-work out of the equation, with many of the components you need for your rig already included. Better yet, it does this while looking elegant and minimalistic.

The case comes with the modular power supply you’ll need, as well as a simple AIO cooler that ensures your CPU doesn’t suffer from a cooling solution that doesn’t work in this case. The small case still supports full-size graphics cards, and an integrated PCIe Riser card will let you mount your graphics card vertically. This design gives the CPU, GPU, and PSU each their own channel for fresh air flow to help keep them cool. It may come at a high price, but it’s bringing a lot to the table.

NZXT doesn’t have stock right now, but you can sign up to see when it’s available. You should still be able to get it in time to make gamers waiting for the Xbox Series X jealous.

9. Razer Tomahawk

Best RGB Mini-ITX PC Case

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When it comes to RGB lighting, few companies do it better on their PC accessories than Razer. So, it’s time to get excited, because Razer now has the Tomahawk ITX case to let you go mini in size but major in color. You’ll get support for Razer’s Chroma RGB lighting effects on the bottom of the case, giving it a stylish underglow that’ll fit right in with a wide variety of Razer’s mice, keyboards, headsets or even Razer’s monitor.

The case may be small, but it still has room for a decently tall CPU cooler or even a 240mm radiator for liquid cooling. You’ll want to watch out for your graphics card length though, as you can only go up to 320mm, but you will have room for a thicker card that needs three expansion slots. Impressively, there’s still room in this case for three 2.5-inch drives, and Razer manages some strong port variety on the front panel.

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.

More Expert Tech Roundups

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


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