Although today’s computers come in enough shapes and sizes to stun a horde of people, there are two main types of aftermarket PC cases: full ATX, mini-ITX & MicroATX. These case types account for the majority of the chassis market. You can think of them as small (Mini ITX), medium-sized (MicroATX), or big (ATX). Each form factor has its strengths and weaknesses. In this guide, we will focus on the Mini PC ITX.
Mini-ITX cases are the best for small gaming computers that don’t sacrifice power. Although these cases require some cleverness in terms of airflow and temperature control when they do work they can be both powerful and adorable. They can also free up space on your desk, which is yet another reason to love mini PC ITX computers.
It’s a satisfying feeling to be able to fit a whole gaming system into a tiny chassis and make it work. It’s common to believe that mini-components can only be fit into mini-ITX cases. Mini-ITX cases like these can hold most full-size graphics cards as well as high-end CPUs.
Double-check the dimensions before buying an Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti or AMD RX 6000-series card. Depending on the case, some cards might require additional mounting brackets. We spent some time assembling components in a variety of mini-ITX boxes to test airflow, cable routing, and support for motherboards. Here is a list of the best Mini-ITX SFF cases.
Top 5 Mini–ITX Cases for SFF: 2022 Review
|Ranking||Top Mini–ITX Cases for SFF Builds||Reviews|
|1.||Cougar QBX||5 out of 5|
|2.||Fractal Node 202||5 out of 5|
|3.||NZXT H210i||4 out of 5|
|4.||Thermaltake Core V1||4 out of 5|
|5.||Corsair Crystal 280X||4 out of 5|
Best 5 Mini–ITX Cases for SFF | Detailed Review
1. Cougar QBX
- 2x USB 3.0 Ports & HD Audio
- High Cooling Performance
- Complicated Power Requirements
- Bad Build Quality
The Cougar QBX (19.9L), is considered one of the best ITX cases on the market. This case comes at a great price. This is the ideal option for anyone looking for a small-sized build case, but not wanting to spend too much. It is affordable and therefore the best choice for those on a budget. It has excellent thermal and airflow performance. It is extremely affordable, but it still works as it should. It has excellent thermal performance.
It supports graphics cards up to 350mm in length, and a CPU cooler up to 105mm. These features are impressive for a case this expensive. It is compatible with ATX-format PSUs. The Cryorig M9 is recommended for cooling the Cougar QBX’s CPU. It is very affordable and works just as well as Cougar QBX. It can also be used with the Core i5 and Ryzen 5 systems. It is similar to the Ncase M1, but it has excellent airflow.
This case has a great cooling performance for the price. Its build quality is not great. Although it’s not terrible, you can’t compare it to the Ghost S1 and A4-SFX for build quality. This mini PC RTX case can be purchased as long as you’re willing to sacrifice quality. It’s still an excellent choice for gamers who want to set up a budget gaming system. It is a mini ITX case that costs less & has excellent thermal and airflow performance. This is a great option for anyone looking to buy their first mini PC motherboard without breaking the bank.
2. Fractal Node 202
- Integra SFX 450W PSU Support
- Good & Affordable Pricing
- Low Profile RAM Requirements
- No Filter in Vertical Placement
The recommended case for console/HTPC setups is the Fractal Node202 (10.2L). Fractal Node 200 (10.2L) has a compact and elegant design that makes it one of the most useful mini PC ITX cases. Its flat shape means it can be placed in almost any space. It can be placed under a TV. It can be placed horizontally or vertically, depending on your preference. The Node202 (10.2L), a mini-ITX computer with 10.2L volumes, is compact.
It can hold 3 graphics cards up to 310mm in size. It can also support CPU coolers up to 56mm in height. It will provide the best thermal cooling. This case’s main draw is its low price. This case is much cheaper than the ones we’ve discussed. It is very reasonable considering its features. For those on a budget, this is a better option than Sliger SM55.
This compact, beautifully designed case can be used as a gaming setup. It will also work as well as other ATX mid-towers. Node 202 (10.2L) is a great option for those who are just starting to play games or have a limited budget. You should remember that Node 202 (10.2L) requires a low-profile RAM to allow the CPU cooler to fit. You can go with Node 202 (10.2L), if you’re okay with it. It is a great mini PC motherboard for a low budget.
3. NZXT H210i
- Enhanced Cable Management
- CAM-Powered Smart Device
- Only a Single USB 3.0 Port
- Malfunctioning Issues
The NZXT H210i mini ITX case is one of the most affordable and made from steel. You can choose from four different color options. You can also get RGB LED strips and other smart features. It is 6.0 Kg in weight and measures W: 210mm H. 349mm D. 372mm. NZXT H210i features HUE + and GRID + digital controllers. It also features an attractive and pleasingly designed all-steel construction.
The case’s graceful construction is enhanced by the mini PC its tempered glass panel and PSU shroud showcase. It comes with two fans and RGB strips pre-installed. It contains a smart device, which performs multiple functions. It controls the RGB lighting as well as the fan’s performance using a CAM-powered smart gadget. It also has several I/O ports.
Two USB 3.1 Gen 11 ports are available. NZXT H210i also features adaptive noise reduction, which optimizes cooling and balances noises to provide the best gaming experience. You don’t have to worry about how cables are arranged so that they don’t get entangled.
NZXT H210i comes with pre-installed straps and channels that make it easy to install cables and other components. It has excellent cooling capabilities. It is easy to install for custom loop configurations and AIO. It’s available on the market at a reasonable price The case features CAM-powered smart devices & enhanced cable management.
4. Thermaltake Core V1
- USB 3.0 x 2, HD Audio x 1
- Dust Reduction Filters
- Limited AIO Locations
- Size Incompatibility
The Thermaltake Core V1 is a cubed-shaped box that delivers optimal airflow and cooling performance. It is designed with a simple drive bay layout that does not require any tools and provides maximum cooling. If you are looking for a motherboard with exceptional cooling, this is a great option for gamers as well as regular users. The motherboard has two chambers.
The upper chamber is responsible for cooling performance, while the lower chamber handles PSU and cable management. It is unique in design and makes it the premium Mini PC ITX Case. You can also install additional cooling systems by having the best interior space. There are also two hidden 2.5″/3.5” drive bays. The Thermaltake Core V1 air-cooled case is top-of-the-line.
It supports all types of cooling systems, including DIY/AIO liquid cooling and air cooling units. The case also includes a 200mm fan on the front and two turbofans at the back. You can run any game on your computer, but the motherboard won’t heat up. The panel has an interchangeable side Panel, which allows you to arrange the panels to achieve the desired effect.
The bottom panel of the Thermaltake Core V1 includes dust reduction filters as well as adjustable shockproof rubbers that help prolong the PSU’s life. There are many other great features. Thermaltake Core V1 supports useful I/O ports such as a 3.0 dual USB port and an HD audio connector with the reset button & power button located on the side.
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5. Corsair Crystal 280X
- 3 Tempered Glass Side Panels
- 2x USB 3.0, Audio/Mic Jacks
- Lacks USB 3.1 Type-C
- Expensive Pricing
Corsair Crystal 280X RGB is a premium MicroATX case featuring 3 stunning tempered glass panels. This Mini ITX case is the most attractive in gaming because it has iCUE controlled RGB lighting. The internal layout is neatened by the dual chamber. This highlights the most important components of your computer and hides cables and drives in the rear chamber. This case measures 398mm x 276mmx 351mm.
There are six 120mm fans, a radiator in the roof, a radiator in the front, and a radiator on the floor. It was also very efficient in terms of heat transfer and airflow. The Corsair Crystal 280X RGB case also features an iCUE controller, which will give you complete control of your system using the CORSAIR iCUE software. PSU dust filters are included in the Corsair Crystal 228X RGB’s front, floor, and roof to protect your system from dust. The direct airflow provides path cooling and also offers airflow. It’s the best Mini ITX Case.
To keep the components’ temperatures down, cool air is directed at the hotter parts. Corsair crystal RGB 280X RGB is a great choice if you are a heavy gamer. This mini motherboard allows you to play all the games you like, while your system doesn’t heat up. This mini motherboard is compatible with a 300mm GPU and 180mm PSU, which is quite good. This case can hold a maximum of 150mm CPU coolers. These features are good enough to power a computer.
Factors to Keep in Mind
Compatibility is a bigger issue when building in the Mini-ITX cases than it is in larger cases. You’ll need to plan your build around this case. It is best to first choose the case you want and then search for parts that match.
It makes your life so much simpler to have adequate front I/O ports. It will be much easier to just plug in a USB cable or pair of headphones than to have to look at the shield on the rear motherboard. The USB-C port, Power On/Off, RGB color, and mode switch buttons are also useful.
Due to the limited radiator and fan support, cooling can be a problem in small cases. This is not an issue if you are building a mid-range computer. Most cases can handle that type of thermal load. If you are building a high-end system with a high TDP CPU or GPU, it might be worth considering a case that can support 240mm and 280m AIOs as well as an additional intake fan.
Plenty of Drive Bays
Many AAA titles are now known for their huge file sizes. FPS games can reach 100GB without including DLCs and updates. It is obvious that the 250GB SATA SSD you have in mind will quickly fill up.
PCIe 4.0 Support
Mini-ITX cases that are top-of-the-line use PCI-Express riser cable to allow the GPU to be inserted directly into the motherboard. Although PCIe4.0 cables are becoming more popular, not all Mini-ITX cases come with them. They may also be more expensive. It may be worthwhile to invest in a modern graphics card with PCIe4.0 support on a motherboard, especially if your goal is to upgrade your GPU in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Why should I select a Mini-ITX case?
The Mini-ITX is the most popular form factor for building PCs. Although Mini-ITX builds require more patience and experience, the rewards are greater. It’s a pleasure to have a clean, compact build in an attractively small package. Mini-ITX rigs allow you to easily take your platform to a LAN party, or to play PC games in your living room.
If you are a veteran gaming PC builder looking for a challenge, it might be worth trying to squeeze as much into a Mini ITX case as possible and still keep your system running smoothly. You can get big PC power in small packages.
Q2. Can Mini ITX be used for gaming?
No! They are not suitable for gaming because they lack powerful motherboards and have only one PCIe slot with limited RAM. They are also expensive, making them not a good choice for gaming.
Q3. What makes mini ITX cases so heavily priced?
The Mini ITX is relatively new and in high demand. They will therefore be very expensive. It takes innovation and a lot of effort to fit all of the components of a motherboard in a Mini ITX case. This is why they are so expensive.
Q4. Are Mini ITX systems the smallest?
Yes! Mini ITX is the smallest motherboard. It is ideal for people who don’t want to cramp their desks. Mini ITX does not require as much space as a regular computer.
Q5. Are Mini-ITX systems hotter?
The Mini-ITX gaming systems run slightly hotter than larger ones because the same components are running in smaller spaces to concentrate the heat.
Q6. Is Mini-ITX similar to ITX?
They are one and the same thing. Sometimes, mini-ITX is referred to as just ITX. Both terms refer to the same form factor. Mini-ITX is the official name of the standard. It refers to the 17 x 17 cm (6.7 x 6.7 in) motherboard size.