There is truly no alternative to a high-end tower case with a big motherboard and a lot of components but still, the need for a Mini-ITX case cannot be ignored. First of all, such a case greatly saves space on your desk and you can use multiple monitors easily, while a configuration like that is very troublesome for an ATX case. Secondly, since the Mini-ITX cases are very small, they weigh a lot less than the ATX cases and this also makes them quite much portable. Last of all, since these cases are small, it also means that the material used in their design is also less than ATX cases which is why Mini-ITX cases are fairly cheaper.
All these advantages result in a much better experience and due to advancements in the designs, it is now possible to put high-end components in these cases too, which eliminates the common misconception that one cannot make a high-end PC using a Mini-ITX case. We will be looking at the smallest among the Mini-ITX cases which would still allow you to build your dream PC.
1. Thermaltake Core V1 Snow Edition
- 200mm Fan Included
- Dual Modular Rack Design
- Great Airflow
- Low number of expansion bays
- 2.5inch Storage Brackets Not Included
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 260 mm x 276 mm x 316 mm | Weight: 9.15 lbs | Radiator Support: 140mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 2, 3.5”: 2
Thermaltake is a well-known brand for PC casings, peripherals, and other computer hardware. Thermaltake Core V1 Snow Edition is one of the most widely used Mini-ITX casing due to its cheap price and good features. The overall design of the case is quite beautiful with the curvy ends and holed-vents. The casing provides a modular design with the upper chamber providing efficient cooling while the lower chamber provides space for the PSU and cable management.
The snow edition stirs the things with its white color as most of the cases are only available in black. The I/O panel is placed on the side of the case to provide ease of use. It comes with interchangeable side panels which provide easy customization and there are removable dust-filters for the PSU to prevent the dust from getting inside the case.
The included 200mm fan provided great airflow for intake during the testing and we felt no need for any other intake fan. Meanwhile, with two 80mm rear fans, the system was giving a high-pitch noise which is why we think that unless you are using a high-end graphics card, you should use only one fan. We think this case could have used top mounting to improve the airflow but still, it provides a sweet experience and should be your top priority when looking out for a cheap Mini-ITX case.
2. Cooler Master Elite 130
- As cheap as TT Core V1
- Full-size ATX PSUs are supported
- Interchangeable Side Panels
- Most of tower coolers are not compatible
- Side panels are very prone to dust induction
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 240 mm x 207.4 mm x 398.5 mm | Weight: 6.8 lbs | Radiator Support: 120mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 2.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 5, 3.5”: 3
Cooler Master Elite 130 is an old case but it provides such great features that we could not just resist putting it on this list, however, the design of the case is rather boring. It provides ample space for the graphics card and the power supply but you must use a low-profile CPU cooler because the power supply is quite close to the motherboard. The side panels of the case include big rectangle-shaped holes, which is good for airflow but there is no dust-filter there, resulting in the dust getting inside the case easily. The front of the case, however, uses the dust-filter which is used along with a 120mm fan for intake.
This case can use very long graphics cards as nothing is obstructing the path. A blower-style graphics card would also be very efficient, which takes the air inside from the side of the graphics cards and the hot air is ejected directly out of the case.
There is also space for an optional 80mm side fan which would directly blow the air onto the motherboard and the processor. The I/O panel is divided into two parts, where the right side provides a power button and a USB 2.0 port while the left side provides two USB 3.0 ports and audio jacks. There is almost no cable management in this case which would upset many users and unless you are not disturbed by the visible fat cables, this case should interest you a lot.
3. BitFenix Prodigy Arctic White
Ease Of Access
- Feels sturdy
- Fan grills can be easily cleaned
- A lot of space inside
- Not very efficient for open-air graphics cards
- Wobbly handles
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 250 mm x 404 mm x 359 mm | Weight: 15.4 lbs | Radiator Support: 240mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 9, 3.5”: 5
BitFenix Prodigy is a case that balances things very well and its rich design provides so many features that a normal user is stunned. First of all, the case provides two big handles for easy transportation while a similar design also exists at the bottom for leaving some space between the desk surface and the case. This also allows the user to invert the case and completely change the orientation of the components which is a unique feature among PC cases.
The fan mounting capability of this case is also very good with a total of five fans supported in the case, however, the side panel of the case has small holes which is why there is very little room for the graphics card to breathe, leading to a bit higher temperatures. The amount of expansion bays is also unbelievable and it is very impressive to have fifteen internal bays for such a compact case. The I/O panel of the case is located at the side, providing ease of use, and consists of two USB 3.0 ports, a power button, a reset button, and audio jacks.
Surprisingly, the price of this case is not as high as its features and can be considered by even the mid-range budget customers. There are not many cases that rival the qualities and features of this case and if you can afford this case, you will not regret your purchase.
4. InWin A1 Black
- Built-In RGB Lighting
- Wireless Charging Module Mounted At The Top of Case
- The included PSU is not very good
- Only allows two drives
- Difficult Assembly
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 224 mm x 273 mm x 357 mm | Weight: 13.2 lbs | Radiator Support: 120mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 2, 3.5”: 2
InWin casings are getting popular very much recently due to their unique designs. Their casings provide unimaginable designs and are priced very high due to this reason. InWin A1 is no exception and the casing provides RGB lighting along with a stylish stand that is transparent in color. The changing RGB lighting and the transparent stand create an illusion that the case is floating in the air, which looks spectacular.
The casing has no top and front fan mounting but you should not get the wrong idea here. There is space for two 120mm fans at the bottom and also a 120mm fan at the side. The bottom fans help the graphics card breathe easily as it is very close to the bottom while the side fan blows cool air inside. There is also space for a 120mm fan at the rear which can be used for the exhaustion of the hot air out of the case. With all these fans, we experienced cool temperatures and there was no thermal throttling among any of the PC components.
The I/O panel is located at the top of the case and provides two USB 3.0 ports, a power button, and audio jacks. An exceptional feature of this case is that it provides Qi wireless charging so that you can charge your smartphone by just placing them on the top of the case. The case also includes a 600-watt gold-rated power supply which is not of very high quality but should suffice the needs of most of the users. All these features make this case quite expensive for an average user and that is why it is only targeted at high-end users, to whom it provides a profoundly sweet experience.
5. Cougar QBX
- Side hinge makes it easy to install storage devices
- 7 Fan Mounts
- Long PSUs obstruct the path of graphics cards
- Troublesome PSU Mounting
- Proprietary Screws
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 178 mm x 291 mm x 384 mm | Weight: 9.96 lbs | Radiator Support: 240 mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 4, 3.5”: 1
Cougar is a German brand that manufactures gaming products and Cougar QBX is one of its two Mini-ITX casings. Despite that, the quality of this case is quite impressive. The casing provides a brushed-aluminum look like the famous Corsair Obsidian series, although the actual material of this case is plastic, which is sturdy enough to withstand bumps and presses. As this casing is targeted towards gamers, the cooling capability of this casing is eminently overwhelming as it supports a total of seven fans, which is why it can be coupled with high-end PC components without affecting the performance.
The top fans are the major factors in exhausting the hot air while there is space for two 120mm fans at the bottom for the efficient cooling of the graphics card. The fan along the side panel can be used to throw air directly on the motherboard which greatly extends the life of the motherboard, although there is no dust filter on the side panel.
We observed no issues during the testing as all the components were cooled very efficiently, however, make sure that your power supply is not long enough that it blocks the path of the graphics card, and if it does then choose a graphics card with a short length. This is the only issue with this casing and if you plan to use a small power supply, this casing will take care of all of your needs at a minimal price.