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The best mini-ITX PC case in 2022

NZXT H1 and Phanteks Evolv Shift XT PC cases
(Image credit: NZXT, Phanteks)

The best mini-ITX PC case is all about doing a lot with very little space. It's a challenge most veteran PC builders are happy to accept. A small chassis means you're saving precious space on your desk while also still being able to house most of your favorite PC components. Though, you'll soon find out that with limited space, you'll have to get a little creative with what goes in it.  

The first you'll think you're probably asking yourself when you look at some of these cases is, "Just how am I going to cram a GPU inside there?" While it is true you won't have enough GPU clearance for let's say, the Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti or one of AMD's RX 6000-series cards. There are plenty of GPUs out there that'll accommodate the small case. You just have to be more aware of the GPU and case dimensions than you would a mid to full-size tower before you add anything to your cart.

There's something obscenely satisfying about cramming an entire gaming PC into a teeny chassis and watching it boot for the first time. And no, mini-ITX cases don't only fit mini versions of PC components, I've included options that work with micro-ATX motherboards, too, as well as full ATX power supplies.

I've spent a serious chunk of time jamming components into a wealth of mini-ITX cases to test airflow, cable routing, and support for motherboards and radiators, among other things. You'll find my recommendations below. If you're more of a 'go big or go home' PC builder, check out our favorite full-tower PC (opens in new tab) and mid-tower PC (opens in new tab)cases.

The best mini-ITX PC cases

The best mini-ITX chassis

Specifications

Motherboard support: Mini-ITX
Dimensions: 405 x 196 x 196 mm
Weight: 7.6 kg
GPU clearance: 324 x 58 mm
Memory clearance: 46 mm
Front I/O: 2x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 3.5 mm audio jack
PSU: 750W SFX 80 Plus Gold included
Cooling: 140 mm AIO CPU cooler, 92 mm rear fan
Riser cable: PCIe 4.0 x16
Warranty: 3 years (case, riser card, AIO), 10 years (PSU)

Reasons to buy

+
Great to build into
+
Extra cooling
+
Routed cabling is a blessing

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't support tall RAM modules
-
Large initial outlay despite added cooling and PSU

I was a big fan of the original NZXT H1 mini-ITX chassis when it first came out. But then, mine never caught fire, which is a good thing because I've been using it as the basis for my office work machine ever since. My boss would not have been pleased if I'd burned down the PC Gamer offices because of a faulty PCIe riser cable.

Aside from that specific riser problem, the H1 was a fantastic package to build a wee peecee into. And so is this recently updated version, too. On the face of it, this H1 V2 looks identical and you'd be forgiven for thinking it was just a new release of the same case with an even more non-burn-y PCIe riser cable for your GPU. But NZXT has actually done a lot to improve the overall design, even though it does make for a more expensive, slightly larger and heavier mini-ITX case.

The real beauty of the H1 is that it includes both a powerful PSU and a liquid CPU cooler, so the really awkward bits of a mini-ITX build are taken care of. If you've ever built a small form factor PC you will understand the pain of trying to route a million, unnecessarily long PSU cables around the motherboard, graphics card, and everything else. Then trying to mount a capable-enough cooler into the limited confines of a mini-ITX case… well, that's a task in itself.

A note of warning, however, and that is the clearance between the radiator fan and the top of your memory isn't huge. It is another 1mm higher than the original, but with just 46mm as your maximum memory height some DIMMs are simply going to be too big. Our Corsair Dominator DDR5 (opens in new tab) sticks we've used in our Alder Lake test rig, and the mini-ITX B660, proved just too tall to close the case.

NZXT helps the build process with clear labelling within and without the chassis. I had issues actually getting into the tool-less design of the first H1, but it ships with labelling on the outside explaining how to gain access. And inside there are tags and stickers indicating what goes where, and how to shift things around to gain access to the motherboard tray, for example.

In all, NZXT has made many welcome improvements to what was already a very good mini-ITX chassis design—well-documented riser issues aside. I get that the $400 price tag will sting for a lot of people, but 750W SFX power supplies don't come cheap, and nor do AIO coolers that would squeeze into something so relatively small. 

Read our full NZXT H1 V2 review (opens in new tab).

A grate mini-ITX chassis and an excellent H1 alternative

Specifications

Motherboard support: Mini-ITX
Dimensions: 409 x 253 x 178 mm
Weight: 6.3 kg (inc. PSU)
GPU clearance: 335 x 58 mm
Memory clearance: N/A
Front I/O: 2x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Type-C, 3.5 mm audio jack
PSU: 700W SFX 80 Plus Gold (optional)
Cooling: None
Riser cable: N/A
Warranty: 3 years (case)

Reasons to buy

+
Decent price
+
With 700W PSU cabling is routed
+
No GPU riser cable to worry about
+
Will take a 280mm AIO

Reasons to avoid

-
Feels a bit cramped to build into
-
Not my favourite look

There is something supremely industrial about the almost utilitarian design of the mostly metal Hyte Revolt 3 mini-ITX PC case. It doubles down on the angular, cuboid aesthetic with every facet of the external design being unashamedly sharp. Well, apart from the rounded, pop-out headphone holders, that is. And even now I still don't know if I like this pared back approach or find it just, well, basic.

What I do know, however, is that this is an excellent modern chassis to build your next Mini-ITX PC into, with support for a wide range of components, and no riser cable to worry about.

The Hyte Revolt 3 (opens in new tab) is incredibly similar to the H1, but has marked differences where the two companies have gone in different directions with their internal design choices. The lack of riser cable is one, though that doesn't mean you're really any less restricted in terms of your GPU choice.

Eliminating that riser point of failure is handy, and the Revolt 3 still houses everything in more or less the same overall footprint even with the motherboard mounted perpendicular to the GPU.

One other benefit of this is that you can squeeze an entire 280mm AIO liquid CPU cooler into the build. Any off the peg chiller with a radiator under 35mm thick will fit, and you won't run into the same memory height restrictions the H1 has. Our Corsair Dominator DDR5 kit fit in just perfectly.

As a barebones chassis it comes in at a very reasonable $130, but when you factor in the 700W PSU that leaps to $250. Initially I thought that was a bit steep, but it is literally just the price of a high-capacity SFX power supply these days. With the added bonus of knowing that it will fit just fine and with routing at least for the power wiring.

That also means it's considerably cheaper than the H1 V2, which is some $400, though does also mean you will have to find your own CPU cooler. 

As a barebones chassis it comes in at a very reasonable $130, but when you factor in the 700W PSU that leaps to $250. Initially I thought that was a bit steep, but it is literally just the price of a high-capacity SFX power supply these days. With the added bonus of knowing that it will fit just fine and with routing at least for the power wiring.

That also means it's considerably cheaper than the H1 V2, which is some $400, though does also mean you will have to find your own CPU cooler. 

Read our full Hyte Revolt 3 review (opens in new tab).

3. NZXT H210i

The best budget Mini-ITX case

Specifications

Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX
Dimensions: 210 x 349 x 372 mm
Weight: 5.9 kg
GPU clearance: 325 x 44 mm
Memory clearance: N/A
Front I/O: 1x Audio/Mic, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
PSU: ATX support
Cooling: 2x 120mm fans
Riser cable: N/A
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

+
Great cooling support
+
Integrated RGB LED strip
+
CAM-powered Smart Device V2
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
CAM isn't everyone's favourite software
-
Feels like a mid-tower

The NZXT H210i is essentially a tiny version of our favorite mid-tower, the H710i. Built to only support mini-ITX builds, the H210i still does a great job fitting a high-end system into a compact, minimalistic package. That does mean that it still looks like a mid-tower, but also that it will be able to take full size components when it comes to everything else.

Most mini-ITX chassis require you to look at small form factor parts, such as specific CPU coolers, or power supplies, and that can mean there's an added price premium on top. You may also need low profile memory to fit, too.

There's none of that with the H210i, however, where it's only the motherboard that needs to be of a specifically diminutive stature. Where that is most keenly felt is in your choice of PSU and the cable routing of your power brick. This chassis gives you a lot of space to build into and a lot of space for your high-performance rig to breathe.

Like its bigger brother, the case comes equipped with NZXT's smart hub and includes two fans and one RGB LED strip. Available for around $110, the H210i is the same price as most mid-sized towers, but I still think it's worth it. The case has many features you'd find in a high-end mid-tower, including excellent cable management and a full-sized tempered glass panel.

Thanks to NZXT's CAM-powered Smart Device V2, the H210i features intelligent digital fan control and offers plenty of room to expand the built-in RGB lighting with additional strips. With added support for liquid cooling and large graphics cards, the H210i is the perfect solution for those who want to make a small but powerful gaming PC.

It's also worth stating that the NZXT H210 is almost identical, except that you don't get the RGB strip and fan controller support. But given that makes the H210 a more reasonable $70 (opens in new tab) I think I'd happily forgo those extraneous luxuries if I was building my own mini-ITX gaming machine. And at that price this excellent chassis absolutely becomes the best budget mini-ITX case.

Best mid-tower case (opens in new tab) | Best full-tower case (opens in new tab) | Best CPU cooler (opens in new tab) | Best DDR4 RAM (opens in new tab) | Best gaming monitor (opens in new tab)| Best gaming headset (opens in new tab)

The best genuinely mini mini-ITX PC case

Specifications

Motherboard support: Mini-ITX
Dimensions: 371 x 173 x 211 - 272 mm
Weight: 4.2 kg
GPU clearance: 324 x 62 mm
Memory clearance: N/A
Front I/O: USB 3.2 Type-C Gen2, USB 3.0 Type-A
PSU: Supports SFX & SFX-L (SFX recommended)
Cooling: None
Riser cable: PCIe 4.0 x16
Warranty: 5 years

Reasons to buy

+
Can go really small
+
But can also offer extra cooling space
+
Will house big boi GPUs
+
Extensive warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fun to build into

There aren't a lot of mini-ITX chassis that are actually, y'know, mini. But, while the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT might have a big ol' name, it's one of the smallest gaming chassis around that will take a full-size graphics card.

Though sometimes it's not. The smart thing about this wee case is that it can evolv(e), depending on how much cooling you desire. With three different size profiles, the Evolv Shift XT (opens in new tab) allows you to have a super-compact system, something with a little more cooling, or a system that can pack in a 240mm AIO CPU cooler without compromising overly on scale.

All you actually need do to change the size is move two standoffs between three different points on the roof of the case, and screw in or remove the relevant backplates to prop it up. It's delightfully simple, which is something the Phanteks chassis has as a hallmark of use. Access to the inside of the case is entirely tool-free, and to break it down completely you only need to remove a single thumbscrew.

That makes diving in and altering things really simple… but only once your machine is actually built. While the actual build process remains simple, it's definitely not fun. This is a regular issue with mini-ITX machines; the cramped confines of the case inevitably makes for an awkward building experience most times. 

That's what makes something like the NZXT H1 V2 (opens in new tab) such a breath of fresh air when it comes to the actually putting your rig together.

Where things feel the most tight with the Evolv Shift XT is around the motherboard. It's so tightly positioned to the edge of the chassis' frame that trying to get all the necessary cables plumbed in requires some serious digital gymnastics. Especially if your mini-ITX board also has those egregious heatsinks.

Your pick of power supply will affect your build and how pleasing it is in the final reckoning, too. I have a 750W SFX-L PSU which I've been using for mini-ITX builds, and while it does fit comfortably into the Shift XT, it does restrict your build.  Phanteks does recommend you go for an SFX option instead.

Most noticeably using an SFX-L PSU stops you being able to drop in an AIO cooler, even with the case on its largest setting, as there isn't enough space for both the liquid tubing and the power cables to coexist. 

In a world where mini-ITX gaming chassis aren't that mini, the Phanteks Evolv Shift XT can deliver a pint-sized gaming PC that can perform. But it's also a tiny chassis that can literally grow with your PC, and that's a definite bonus. Just try and remain calm during the build process and know that the fallibility of human memory will erase the inevitable pain.

Read our full Phanteks Evolv Shift XT review (opens in new tab).

5. Corsair Crystal 280X RGB

The best compact case for big builds

Specifications

Motherboard support: Mini-ITX and Micro-ATX
Dimensions: 398 x 27 x 351 mm
Weight: 7.24 kg
GPU clearance: 300 mm
Memory clearance: N/A
Front I/O: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A, 3.5mm mic & headphone
PSU: Supports ATX
Cooling: 2x 120mm RGB fans
Riser cable: N/A
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile interior layout
+
Pre-installed addressable RGB fans
+
Spacious dual chamber design

Reasons to avoid

-
On the larger side
-
300m GPU length is now restrictive
Your next upgrade

(Image credit: Future)

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The Corsair Crystal 280X is the largest of the cases on offer here, and that's because it will not only cater for mini-ITX motherboards, but can also support the larger Micro ATX specification, too. It's still an impressively compact case, but means you get a huge amount of support for full-size components.

Outside of the motherboard restrictions you can go for almost anything else that takes your fancy, from ATX power supplies to large graphics cards and extra PCIe boards, such as sound cards, SSDs, or networking interfaces. 

As with the other Crystal Series cases, the 280X features three smoked tempered glass panels that allow you to easily show off your RGB interior. The case offers a wide assortment of cooling options with support for radiators up to 280mm in length. I had a 240mm AIO liquid cooler installed in the roof of my build and my cat loved sitting atop the toasty glass panel, warming her belly.

And because of the glass she wasn't obstructing airflow either. So, it's the best compact case for those who share their homes with felines, too.

The dual-chamber design works a treat in the 280X, allowing you to show off the core components to their fullest, while hiding your mess of cable management on the opposite side with a host of storage bays and your PSU.

The only real issue you will find, in these days of ever expanding graphics cards, is that there is actually less room for a big GPU in this chassis than in many of the smaller, dedicated mini-ITX cases. With a hard limit of 300mm in terms of graphics card length, despite the potential for it to expand over four slots, there will be many a GPU that simply won't fit inside the Corsair case.

But I love the design, the ease of building into it, and the final look once you've got your powerful system humming away inside. I only moved away from the case when I shifted my rig to build into my desk, and the Crystal 280X still has a place in my heart.

A great chassis for easy access micro builds

Specifications

Motherboard support: Mini-ITX
Dimensions: 307.5 x 190 x 417.5mm
Weight: 5.8 kg
GPU clearance: 330mm (triple-slot)
Memory clearance: N/A
Front I/O: 2x USB 3.2 Type-A, 1x USB 3.2 Type-C
PSU: Supports SFX & SFX-L (SFX recommended)
Cooling: None
Riser cable: PCIe 3.0 x16
Warranty: 2 years

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, black aesthetic
+
Easy access via hinged doors
+
Space for large AIO coolers
+
Plenty of GPU space

Reasons to avoid

-
Tight around PSU cables
-
No extra cable routing
-
High price

I love a swinging tempered glass side panel. And when you throw me a mini-ITX chassis that has two of them, hinged on either side of the vertical mounting spine of the case, well… I get a little excited. Add some underslung RGB lighting, like some drift-happy modded sports car, and you've got the G.Skill Z5i mini-ITX PC case.

But the Z5i isn't small. In fact, it's actually larger in stature than the NZXT H1 V2, which is itself larger than its flame-inducing forebear. But it comes with a still relatively sleek design, aided by the curved-to-a-point doors which give the Z5i its unique wedge shape.

There are effectively three compartments in the G.Skill chassis. On one side is the motherboard and PSU, on the other side is the GPU bay, and at the rear is enough space to drop in a full 280mm radiator for an AIO CPU cooling loop. That actually makes building into the Z5i pretty straightforward, especially as the swinging doors can easily be lifted from their hinges to be entirely removed.

That gives you a lot of elbow room to work with, and there are none of the height constraints around memory DIMMs that have been a slight checkmark against the NZXT and Hyte chassis I've toyed with. As alluded to earlier, there's space here for even a triple-slot graphics card, which is pretty spectacular really. That also means there should be plenty of space for the currently-favoured 2.5 slot cards to spin their fans without issue.

The lack of good cable routing makes creating a good-looking system a trial, especially for one with such a can-I-be-bothered attitude to cable management as yours truly.

Another thing which might blight your build is the fact the bundled riser cable is only rated as a PCIe 3.0 x16 connection, where other chassis have ones rated as PCIe 4.0. Honestly, there's enough bandwidth on a full PCIe 3.0 x16 slot that it's not an issue with higher-end GPUs. Interestingly though, it's at the lower end that it might become a problem—where you've got something like the RX 6500 XT (opens in new tab), which uses a PCIe 4.0 x8 connector, you will actually only have half the bandwidth of a PCIe 3 slot available. 

Pricing is also a bit of an issue, too. When you've got a chassis in the Hyte Revolt 3, which comes with a 700W PSU pre-installed for around the same price as this barebones chassis, there's something off about your costing. 

But it does look great. I'm definitely into the sleek, black aesthetic, and the heavily tinted glass hides all my cable management sins from prying eyes. Though it's definitely worth adjusting the underslung RGB, as the rainbow 'G.Skill' logo really sucks the cool out of the case more efficiently than the 280mm radiator I had comfortably installed in the back of the case.

Read our full G.Skill Z5i review (opens in new tab).

Phanteks Evolv Shift XT pc case

(Image credit: Future)

Best Mini-ITX case FAQ

What are the main considerations when thinking about a small form factor build?

There's a lot to consider when choosing a mini-ITX case. Space will be scarce, as you won't have room for multiple graphics cards or a stack of SSDs. Proper cable management is going to be your friend through the entire process, and you'll need to be careful when it comes to component selection too. If this is your first build, a mid-tower case will give you more room to work with—but that's cheating.

If you want to build a budget gaming PC (opens in new tab), you're better off with a full-size ATX motherboard, as they are much cheaper, but a compact Mini-ITX case with an included PSU can save you a few pennies. Think about the lifespan of your components, though, as you'll have much less room to expand in the future. If you've got some cash to spend, though, consider liquid cooling to address any thermals issues that come with working with a smaller case. 

We want to note that your choice of graphics card is far more critical with a Mini-ITX build. It's not just about length either, as cooling is a far greater concern when dealing with cramped interiors. Generally speaking, mini-ITX is one of the few times where using a GPU with a blower cooler is often the best decision. Unless you get a bigger mATX case with more airflow, you want your GPU to vent all that heat outside the case.

A little research should eliminate most potential problems and ensure your machine can handle demanding games and storage expansion for the next few years. 

Why should I choose a mini-ITX case?

When it comes to building PCs, the mini-ITX form factor is where we've seen most design innovations.

While a mini-ITX build takes a little more patience and experience to do well, the rewards are much higher. Having a small, clean build in an interestingly compact package makes you feel good. Mini-ITX rigs make it easier to take your platform to a LAN party or play PC games in the living room (if that's your thing). 

Veteran gaming PC builders looking for a challenge might want to take a crack at seeing what they can cram into a mini-ITX case and keep everything running without throttling. 

Big PC power really can come in small packages.

Do I need a SFX PSU for a mini-ITX PC case?

A SFX, or Small Form Factor, PSU is not always required with a mini-ITX case. Many offer compatibility with standard ATX PSUs nowadays, which means you don't have to buy special parts. How they fit a full-size PSU in there with your other components, I don't know. It's all pretty incredible how these cases are designed.

That said, you may need to buy a SFX PSU for the smallest of mini-ITX cases. Especially the sort that don't offer space for a discrete GPU and must be fitted with a CPU with onboard graphics instead. In these cases, you'll want to find a SFX PSU that is safe and reliable, but don't worry, there are loads of those nowadays. Corsair, Silverstone, and be quiet! offer multiple SFX options.

There is also the slightly larger SFX-L configuration, which is something to bear in mind, as we've had issues with some mini-ITX chassis dealing well with the broader SFX-L dimensions.

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.