Size isn't everything. The best mini-ITX cases illustrate this well, offering the best performance per square inch for your set-up. While you won't have the space for multiple SDDs or GPUs, you can still build a high-end gaming PC that will hold its own against the bigger and flashier PCs out there.
Opting to build a PC in a mini-ITX case isn't without its challenges. You'll certainly need to call upon your best cable management skills to pull it off, and probably some special tools to get to those screws in hard to reach places. If you're up for the challenge though, you'll be rewarded with a compact rig that you don't need to hide away under your desk to save space.
If you're only looking to build a budget gaming PC, a mini-ITX case is a viable option here too, offering a similar feature set to an ATX build. Most mini-ITX Z390 boards include 802.11ac wireless networking (aka, Wi-Fi 5), while remaining in a similar price bracket. While you'll have less room to expand, giving careful consideration to the parts you choose to invest in should eliminate any problems in the future, and be able to handle some demanding games for the next several years.
As you'll be working with limited space, you'll need to use an mITX motherboard to seat your components. If that seems daunting, our guide to the best gaming motherboards should give you a good starting point to find what you need. If you're considering a mini-ITX case for your build, It's often better to go smaller when choosing your components as well. A free PCIe slot on your mITX motherboard doesn't necessarily mean your case will have the clearance to fit the best graphics card in there.
We've taken a look at a load of mini-ITX cases and listed our favourites below. They're not listed in any particular order, and we've included their best-use scenarios to help you choose the best mini-ITX case for your build.
1. NZXT H200i
The best mini ITX case in 2020
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: W: 210mm H: 349mm D: 372mm | Weight: 6.0 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 240mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 4, 3.5”: 1
NZXT's H200i is essentially a tiny version of our favorite mid tower, the H700i. Built to only support mini-ITX builds, the H200i does a great job fitting a high end system into a compact, minimalistic package.
Like its bigger brother, the case comes equipped with NZXT's smart hub and also includes two fans and one RGB LED strip. Priced at $130, the H200i is the same price as most mid sized towers but we still think its worth it. The case has a lot of features you'd find in a high-end mid-tower including great cable management options and a full sized tempered glass panel.
Thanks to NZXT's CAM-powered Smart Device, the H200i 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 H200i is the perfect solution for those who want to make a small but powerful gaming PC.
2. In Win A1
The best high-end mini ITX case
Form Factor: ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 273 x 216 x 355.5mm | Weight: 6.9 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0, Wireless Qi charger | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 2, 3.5”: 2
When it comes to innovative case design, In Win frequently pushes the boundaries and creates some remarkable cases. The latest A1 mini-ITX tower is one of those cases with its sleek compact design and innovative feature set.
The A1 features a preinstalled and pre-cable managed 600W power supply that eliminates one of our least favorite things about building in tiny ITX cases. It provides just enough power for most ITX builds with discrete graphics cards. One of the nice modern touches is the integrated wireless qi charger at the top of the case that allows you to effortlessly charge your phone.
Unlike some of the other ITX cases in this list, the A1 isn't capable of supporting big powerful builds with large radiators and lots of storage. It's designed for a more compact build that is meant to sit comfortably in the living room or on your desktop.
3. Corsair Crystal 280X RGB
The best mini ITX case for big builds
Form Factor: Micro-ATX tower | Motherboard Support: Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 398mm x 276mm x 351mm | Weight: 7.1 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm, 140mm, 240mm, 280mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3, 3.5”: 2
This guide is specifically for mini-ITX builds, but Corsair's micro-ATX Crystal Series 280X is such a great case we just had to mention it. The cube-like tower features a dual chamber design that makes very efficient use of space for easy cable management and installation. The 280X RGB comes with two preinstalled addressable RGB fans and a Lighting Node PRO controller.
Like 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.
Despite its micro-ATX classification, we would highly recommend the 280X RGB for both mATX and micro-ITX builds. The spacious interior and versatile dual chamber design makes it one of the easiest compact cases we've ever built in. It isn't a whole lot larger than other mini-ITX cases, so it still looks fantastic wherever you place it.
4. Phanteks Evolv Shift
The best living room mini ITX case
Form Factor: Mini-ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 170 mm x 470 mm x 274 mm | Weight: 7.6 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 3, 3.5”: 1
When it comes to PC cases, it's incredible to see how far we've come along from the boring old beige boxes of the early 90s. Gamers and enthusiasts are now proud to display their systems on their desks. And while there have been a few options that are great for the living room as well, Phanteks topples the competition with the new Evolv Shift and its larger brother the Evolv Shift X.
With its brushed aluminum front, dual tempered glass panels and slim design, the Evolv Shift is easily one of the most elegant cases we've seen to date. It sits beautifully on any desktop and can even be placed horizontally to fit various configurations in the living room.
We were surprised to see how roomy and simple it was to build in despite a small footprint measuring 6.7 in x 18.5 in x 10.8 in. Phanteks accomplished this feat by inverting the motherboard and including a reversible GPU mount that allows you to install your graphics card vertically behind the motherboard. This means the "rear" i/o is moved to the top of the case, hidden away with a door that has a nifty RGB LED in it.
The Phanteks Evolv Shift may not be the first or the smallest ITX case for the living room, but it is by far our favorite. A stunning exterior combined with a well-engineered interior layout makes it the perfect case to bring 4K PC gaming to your living room. And if you want to take things one step further with custom liquid cooling, the larger Evolv Shift X offers even more bang for your buck.
5. Cooler Master Elite 110
The best budget mini ITX case
Form Factor: ITX tower | Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX | Dimensions: 260 x 208 x 280 mm | Weight: 2.65 kg | Radiator Support: 120mm | I/O Ports: 1 x Audio/Mic, 2 x USB 3.0 | Drive Bays: 2.5”: 4, 3.5”: 3
If you’re looking to build a simple compact gaming system or HTPC, Cooler Master's Elite 110 is as accessible as it gets. It may not have all of the bells and whistles compared to the other ITX options mentioned in this guide, but it certainly gets the job done.
When you boil it down to basics, this case is about as basic as you can get. While feature reduction has it's ups and downs, this case minimizes the negative and offers one of the smallest form factors we've seen.
The Cooler Master Elite 110 is a very inexpensive case that manages to pack all the basics into a tiny form factor. At under a cubic foot in size volume, this little guy is about as small as you can get while still using an ATX power supply.
A smart interior layout with a vertical GPU mount allows you to fit quite a bit in this little package. The Elite 110 supports a large range of graphics cards up to 8.3" long and even leaves enough room for 120mm all-in-one liquid coolers. Unlike other small form factor cases, this one actually supports most regular ATX-sized PSUs. At a mere $40, it’s really easy for us to recommend the Elite 110 for builders on a budget.
Judge me by my size, do you?
When it comes to building PCs, the mini-ITX form factor is where we've seen the vast majority of innovation in design. The small form factor allows for a number of forms for the PC to take, since cases aren't slaved to the long rectangular prism needed to accommodate a full-size ATX board.
One thing we do want to note is that your choice of graphics card is far more important 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 larger mITX case with more airflow, you want your GPU to vent all that heat outside the case.
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 rig to a BYOC LAN party, or play PC games in the living room (if that's your thing).
Big PC power really can come in small packages.