Today, we’re going to walk you through our top picks for best Mini ITX cases. We’ve scanned over all the best Mini ITX cases on the market in order to find all of the best meaningfully-different options, and we’ve gathered them in a list of our top six for you to explore below.
Here’s a quick rundown.
If you aren’t sure what all of the specs and jargon being presented mean, we’ve included a detailed buying guide at the bottom of the article to ensure that you get all of the information that you need. Our hope is that by reading this article, you won’t just know what the best Mini ITX cases are- you’ll know why they’re the best, and carry that knowledge into the future.
Let’s hop into it.
Best Mini ITX Case to Buy
Dimensions and Size: Mini ITX Cube (276 mm x 259 mm x 314 mm) | Front Panel Type: Perforated | Side Panel Window Type: Perforated/Window (swappable) | Color Options: Black, White | Max Motherboard Size: Mini ITX | CPU Cooler Clearance: 140 mm | GPU Clearance: 255 mm with drive cages, 285 mm without | Drive Bays: 2 2.5, 2 3.5 | Fan Capacity: 1x 200/140/120mm (front, 200 mm included), 2x 80mm (rear) | Lighting: N/A | Front Panel Ports: 2 USB 3.0, Standard Audio
Our pick for best budget Mini ITX is the time-honored classic, the Thermaltake Core V21. In addition to being one of the cheapest Mini ITX cases on the market, it’s still pretty fully-featured. Its cube form factor allows for both full-length GPUs and full-height CPU coolers, though you may want to consider removing drive cages in order to maximize room for your GPU of choice.
Despite its small size and low price, this is a case built with airflow and performance in mind. With a mesh front panel and a perforated side panel, air shouldn’t have an issue getting into and out of this chassis. It includes a 200 mm intake fan to take care of that, but for some better airflow, you may want to grab a few 80 mm fans to complete the airflow setup.
Honestly, we’re hard-pressed to complain about this chassis. It has all the features you should be looking for, and while it isn’t the absolute smallest Mini ITX case out there, it’s still pretty darn solid.
Verdict: The best budget Mini ITX case
Dimensions and Size: Mini ITX Cube (238 mm x 205 mm x 378 mm) | Front Panel Type: Mesh | Side Panel Window Type: Perforated | Color Options: Black | Max Motherboard Size: Mini ITX | CPU Cooler Clearance: 65 mm | GPU Clearance: 343 mm | Drive Bays: 1 5.25, 1 2.5, 1 3.5 | Fan Capacity: 1 120mm front, 1 80mm side (both included) | Lighting: N/A | Front Panel Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Standard Audio
The Cooler Master Elite 130 is a lot like the Thermaltake Core V1, but it actually manages to get even smaller while also offering support for a full-size 5.25-inch drive. (For DVD/Blu-Ray/card readers/etc.) This makes it particularly suited as a home theater PC box, and unlike with the Core V1, you don’t have to buy anything extra for your airflow! Both a 120 mm front intake and 80 mm side exhaust fan are included in this chassis, and it runs inexplicably cool.
The only real issue we have with it is that it has very little CPU cooler clearance. This means you’ll either have to use an AIO for best performance or be restricted to a low-profile air cooler, which won’t keep your CPU as cool as it could be otherwise. If keeping things as small as they can be on as low a budget as possible is your priority, then the Elite 130 is definitely the right pick for you. Otherwise, consider one of the other picks on this list.
Verdict: The smallest Mini ITX cube case
#3. NZXT H210(i)
Dimensions and Size: Mini ITX Tower (372 mm x 210 mm x 349 mm) | Front Panel Type: Solid (Vented) | Side Panel Window Type: Tempered Glass | Color Options: Black, Black/Red, Black/White | Max Motherboard Size: Mini ITX | CPU Cooler Clearance: 165 mm | GPU Clearance: 325 mm | Drive Bays: 3 2.5, 1 3.5 | Fan Capacity: 2x 120/140mm front, 1x 120mm rear (included), 1x 120mm top (included) | Lighting: RGB with i-Series version | Front Panel Ports: USB 3.2 Type-C, USB 3.2 Type-A, Standard Audio
NZXT is well-renowned for their high quality cases, and the NZXT H210i is no exception to that rule. (If you want to save a little money, get the non-RGB H210 instead, the two cases are exactly the same barring the addition of an RGB LED strip.) While this case isn’t particularly focused on providing the smallest ever Mini ITX PC or anything, what it does offer is some pretty stellar build quality and (in our opinion) a very sleek and refined aesthetic.
Aesthetics aside, you also have very generous space inside this one. 325 mm GPU clearance and 165 mm CPU cooler clearance means that you should be able to fit most full-sized GPU and CPU coolers inside this baby without much issue. The airflow won’t be super strong due to the solid front panel, but if that’s an issue you can just pop it off to reveal the mesh filter beneath and/or add some intake fans to improve the airflow situation.
As a nifty extra, you also get two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports on the front (technically top) panel, one of which is Type-C. This makes it ideal for use with the latest portable devices and drives, and offers more raw speed over USB than any other case on this list. (The other cases use standard USB 3.0).
Overall, we don’t really have much to complain about. It’s costly and getting great airflow may require a few adjustments, but this is definitely more of a status symbol of a chassis than a raw performance chassis. The tempered glass side panel and the RGB version, if you opt for it, make it perfect for showing off your components to the world. And while it isn’t the smallest, it’s still small- small enough to take with you whenever you travel and show off, if you please.
Verdict: The best-looking Mini ITX case
Dimensions and Size: Mini ITX Tower (274 mm x 186 mm x 470 mm) | Front Panel Type: Solid (Ventilated) | Side Panel Window Type: Mesh | Color Options: Grey, Black | Max Motherboard Size: Mini ITX | CPU Cooler Clearance: 82 mm | GPU Clearance: 350 mm | Drive Bays: 2 2.5, 1 3.5 | Fan Capacity: 1x 120/140mm bottom, 2x 120/140mm side, (1 140mm fan included) | Lighting: N/A | Front Panel Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Standard Audio
The Phanteks Evolv Shift Air is one of the most interesting cases we’ve ever seen. Despite its unconventional form factor, it offers great support for full-length GPUs and even AIO water-cooling. It has plenty of fan slots, three total drive bays, and despite how densely-packed everything is, surprisingly great airflow performance. While manufactured quite some time ago, it also resembles the upcoming Xbox Series X in more ways than one.
The downsides come down mainly to how experienced you are with PC building. While you can remove every panel for access to the internals, you’ll still be dealing with an incredibly unconventional building experience with this one. If you’re new to PC building, we highly recommend taking this to a shop for assembly or bringing an experienced friend onboard to help you put it together.
The price is also a little high, but not extreme for specialized Mini ITX cases like this one. We have budget options if you need them, but if you want something truly super-small, then the higher price tag is an unavoidable part of that.
A lot of case selection really boils down to personal preference. If you want the smallest tower-style Mini ITX case, then this is definitely the right pick for you. Otherwise, consider one of the other available options on this list.
Verdict: The smallest Mini ITX Tower case
#5. InWin A1 Plus
Dimensions and Size: Mini ITX Cube (357 mm x 224 mm x 273 mm) | Front Panel Type: Solid | Side Panel Window Type: Tempered Glass | Color Options: Black, Pink, White | Max Motherboard Size: Mini ITX | CPU Cooler Clearance: 160 mm | GPU Clearance: 320 mm | Drive Bays: 2x 2.5 | Fan Capacity: 1x 120mm side, 1x 120mm rear, 2x 120mm bottom (side and rear RGB fans included) | Lighting: RGB | Front Panel Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Standard Audio
The InWin A1 Plus has one of the coolest, most over-the-top RGB implementations we’ve ever seen. InWin is becoming infamous for providing great low-profile and great RGB cases, and this seems to combine both of their talents into one. It’s super-small, it’s well-built, the RGB and tempered glass looks great, and it even offers a wireless charging station! What’s not to like?
For one, it includes a power supply that, despite its 650W rating, isn’t actually well-suited for high-end systems. Overclocking your CPU or GPU with this one may result in the PSU being tripped, so pretty much you’re going to want to replace the PSU in this chassis with your own SFX PSU. And unfortunately, even on the low-end…those don’t come cheap.
Also, it is expensive. It’s the most expensive case on this list, actually. The included PSU, wireless charging, and RGB all come at a significant price premium. And you’ll still very likely need to replace that PSU you’re paying for. If only there were a version of this case without the PSU and a lower price…
Don’t get us wrong: this is still a superb case. GPU aside, everything else about it is great: it even includes two RGB fans for good out-of-the-box cooling! Its CPU cooler and GPU clearance are both as good as it gets with a Mini ITX case, too.
Just…be prepared to spend a lot if you’re going to go with this one.
Verdict: The best RGB Mini ITX case
Dimensions and Size: Mini ITX Slim Tower (380 mm x 87 mm x 370 mm) | Front Panel Type: Solid | Side Panel Window Type: Perforated | Color Options: Black, Black/White | Max Motherboard Size: Mini ITX | CPU Cooler Clearance: 58 mm | GPU Clearance: 330 mm | Drive Bays: 2 2.5 | Fan Capacity: N/A | Lighting: N/A | Front Panel Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Standard Audio
Last but certainly not least, we have the Silverstone Raven RVZ02! This is by far the smallest Mini ITX case we’ve been able to find on the market, with a size more comparable to that of a bulky console than your usual PC. Despite its small size and the utter lack of fans or fan mounts, you have great GPU clearance and cooling performance!
The way this is pulled off is in a very console-esque manner: by opening up both side panels with ample ventilation, hot air from the CPU and GPU are pushed directly out of your system, and unable to build up inside the chassis. While the lack of fan slots will mandate a low-profile air cooler and we wouldn’t exactly recommend slapping a 9900K into this machine, it should still work just fine for your gaming needs as long as it has plenty of room to breathe.
If you want the smallest size you can get in a Mini ITX case without skimping on quality, we believe the Silverstone Razen RVZ02 is a great option for you. While it’s a bit on the pricier side, it’s nowhere near as expensive as the InWin RGB pick, and its unique form factor makes it perfect for bringing to LAN parties or showing off how much power you can fix in a small package.
Verdict: The smallest Mini ITX case
FAQ and Selection
In this section, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know before buying a Mini ITX case. Let’s dive into it!
Things to consider when buying Mini ITX cases
When buying a mini ITX case, there are some important compromises to keep in mind:
- Most high-profile air coolers will not work, due to reduced dimensions. Make sure to go with liquid cooling or low-profile air coolers with a SFF PC build!
- While dual-slot GPUs will fare just fine, triple-slots may not, even if they technically fit in the system, due to a lack of open space beneath them. Try to keep both GPU length and thickness in mind when buying Mini ITX, as these specs are more important than ever now!
- Don’t expect to run multi-3.5-inch drive setups, especially not if you also plan to run a full-sized graphics card.
- Many Mini ITX cases will be too small for anything but an SFX power supply, which will cost more!
Understanding dimensions and volume specs
If size is important to you, you may want to take dimensions into account. To compare any of these given cases and the total volume of space they take up to one another, take a look at the dimensions spec (for instance, 380 mm x 87 mm x 370 mm for #6), and treat it like a math problem. Running those numbers will provide you a number, in liters, of the total volume that chassis takes up.
If you aren’t overly concerned with size beyond “it’s small”, then don’t worry about this- just grab whichever of the cases listed above looks most appealing to you. They’re all designed to be as small as possible while still maintaining key functionality, like holding full-length graphics cards and such.
Drive bays and M.2 drives
Drive bays are one of the most obvious specs that get cut down in Mini ITX builds, especially since most consumers aren’t going to be running more than a few drives, anyway. Many PCs will only use one drive in its entire lifespan.
However, this is still an important spec to take into account. If you aren’t sure what the drive capacity spec refers to, we’ll break it down like this:
- 5.25-inch drives – Used for full-size card readers and CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drives. Rare in this market segment.
- 3.5-inch drives – Used for large hard drives. If you must use an HDD instead of an SSD, 3.5-inch will usually be the better option due to providing higher RPM and speeds.
- 2.5-inch drives – Used for laptop hard drives and SATA solid state drives. HDDs at this size will usually be much slower than larger counterparts, whereas SATA SSDs will be faster than any hard drive, but not as fast as an NVMe SSD.
- SATA M.2/NVMe M.2 drives – Both come in the same M.2 form factor that plugs straight into your motherboard, allowing you to bypass concerns of drive bays and capacity entirely. However, most motherboards will only support 1 or 2 of these drives, and NVMe M.2 drives are much faster than their SATA M.2 counterparts, which are still restricted to SATA speeds.
For the best results with a Mini ITX build, prioritize NVMe M.2 drives before anything else. If you must add an extra drive, opt for an SSD whenever you can since your case likely won’t support 3.5-inch hard drives. Even if it does, removing those drive cages where allowed will give you more room for a longer GPU.
Fan capacity and liquid cooling
Fan capacity is probably the biggest compromise when it comes to using smaller cases. People aren’t using multiple expansion cards and multiple drives like they used to thanks to evolving USB and cloud storage standards, respectively. Raw cooling performance is still important, though, especially for gamers and those who want high performance out of their PCs.
Most Mini ITX cases don’t offer very many fan slots, and where those fan slots are available they’ll usually be limited to 120 mm. 120 mm fans are great, but compared to 140 and 200 mm fans, aren’t able to push quite as much air quite as quietly. (Try saying that three times fast.)
If you’re interested in liquid cooling, you’ll need to be aware of radiator size and mounting. Liquid cooling radiators require 120/140 mm fan slots to be mounted, and in this confined form factor, 240 mm radiators won’t be feasible unless 2 120 mm slots are side-by-side. If you must do liquid cooling in an ITX case, we recommend going with a 120 mm AIO setup and using the rest of available fan slots for airflow.
Different lighting types
Lighting is a big selling point for some, and an afterthought for others. Of the cases we’ve picked, they either have no special lighting features to speak of or come with a fully-fledged RGB setup right out of the box. The InWin case is particularly remarkable in that regard, though this visual presentation comes at quite the price premium.
“RGB” lighting refers to lights inside your chassis or on a given component that can be customized to cycle through colors, provide different lighting effects, or be set to individual colors. If this doesn’t sound like much to you, save your money and opt for the non-RGB cases we’ve provided in the roundup above. Pretty as RGB is, the added price won’t be if you’re on a tight budget.
How front and side panels make a difference
Front and side panels impact how your PC will intake and exhaust air. Mesh panels are most ideal for airflow, especially when paired with intake fans, since they provide the most access to air without opening your system up to dust and debris. Many Mini ITX cases will opt for solid panels with ventilation instead of mesh, though. While this looks more aesthetically pleasing, it does result in less raw airflow performance.
If you love a case’s aesthetic but wish it had better airflow, you may be able to make some modifications. The NZXT H210(i), for instance, can be run with its front panel off…but expect to clean the fan dust filter much more frequently if you choose to run it like this.
And that’s everything! We hope that this article helped you make an informed buying decision, but if you have any lingering questions…feel free to ask them below.