For many, building a gaming computer– or even buying one pre-owned– can be a difficult task. Not for the reasons you might first think, however. Space is often a consideration, and many gaming computers take up a lot of it. Is your computer are not very big? Then a gaming computer certainly won’t fit in. Want a computer in your entertainment room? Better allot it some extra real estate.
Except, that is no longer the case. With the Mini ITX form-factor becoming more and more popular, tiny computers are being built every single day. More surprisingly is the fact that they often don’t even skimp on computing horsepower, as many modern Mini ITX cases can support full-length GPUs, high-end motherboards (which you can pair with high-end CPUs) and impressive thermals. This means you’ll get a compact, powerful gaming machine that can fit nearly anywhere. Heck, you might even be surprised at how quiet they can be.
Below, we’ll go over some of the best Mini ITX cases on the market today. From unique design to functionality and more, we’ll cover every area of the market to offer you the best selection possible.
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Best Mini-ITX Cases 2018 – Overview
You can find our reviews just below the table
|Best Mini-ITX Case||Check Price on Amazon||Motherboard Support||Max GPU Length||Max CPU Cooler Height||Front I/O||Expansion Slots||3.5" Mounts||2.5" Mounts|
|Fractal Design Define Nano S|
|315mm||160mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||2||2|
|300mm||180mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||3||9*|
|363mm||Not Specified||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||2||3|
|LIAN LI PC-O5SX|
|190mm||85mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||3||4*||2*|
|Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX TG|
|330mm||200mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||2||1|
|Phanteks Evolv Shift|
|350mm||82mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0||2||1||3*|
|Corsair Carbide Air 240|
|290mm||95mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||2||2|
|300mm||125mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||2||3*|
|Not Specified||58mm||Mini-ITX||2 x USB 3.0 / Audio in/out||2||1||2|
Fractal Design Define Nano S
Pros: Clean design, noise dampening foam, water cooling support.
The Define Nano S from Fractal Design is what happens when you shrink a Define S. That’s… just about it, really. We reviewed the Meshify Mid Tower from Fractal Design in another article, which is merely an updated version of the Define S. You get most of what you’d find in its larger siblings while maintaining a smaller overall footprint. The build is clean, the case is large enough for normal hardware, and the little touches Fractal Design adds to their cases are always appreciated. You can’t go wrong with the Nano S.
Best Mini-ITX Case BitFenix Prodigy
Pros: Carrying handles, unique cubed design, support for most hardware, horizontal motherboard mount.
Cons: Older, slightly-outdated feature set.
The Prodigy from BitFenix has aged quite a bit, having come out over five years ago. However, not all old things are bad. Like people, or wine. Speaking of wine, this case has aged similarly to it over the years. While its feature set isn’t as rich as it was several years ago, this case is still very unique, useful and relevant today. The carrying handles help with transportation, the plethora of color choices help to make your build unique, and the horizontal motherboard is quite a different sight in today’s standard of cases. If you like its look, the Prodigy is a fine buy, even today.
NZXT Manta Mini ITX Case Review
Pros: Up-to-date feature set, great build quality, unique.
Cons: Design leaves a lot to be desired.
Take an NZXT S340. Now, shrink it and feed it a lot of junk food. Ta-da, you have the Manta by NZXT. While this case might not be much of a looker, its bite is far worse (better?) than its bark. NZXT managed to get visible 2.5” drive sleds, a power supply shroud, two front-mounted fans and more into this case. Yet it’s so small, you might forget where you left it if it goes unattended. This case may not be perfect, but it’s got everything needed to maybe one day be so. NZXT did a great job with this case, even if its designer went on strike halfway through.
LIAN LI PC-O5SX
Pros: Clean look, excellent build quality, slim, unique design.
Cons: Incredibly expensive.
Let’s make this clear, first and foremost. This case is EXPENSIVE. This case costs as much as a high-end Intel consumer CPU, and more than a mid-range GPU. However, you’re paying for presentation and premium quality, as LIAN LI is known for. In fact, if you see their name, it’s safe to assume the product will add an extra zero to the price tag compared to a similar product. Like Apple products, this is because LIAN LI goes the extra mile for presentation and premium build quality for their products. You won’t find flimsy plastics and acrylics or poorly-machined aluminum for the chassis. No, rather, you’ll find high-end materials that might seem unnecessary until you lay your hands and eyes on them. With a vertical GPU mount, a tempered glass side panel and a slim design, this mini itx case is stunning. Both in its look, and its price.
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX TG
Pros: Tempered glass, amazing design, fantastic build quality.
Boy oh boy, I love this case. In fact, I love almost everything Phanteks makes, even though I don’t own a single one of their products, personally. The name may be a lot to swallow– that’s probably why Phanteks opted for a model number for a name instead– but it is exactly what it says it is. Take the Evolv ATX TG, shrink it down and sell it for half the price. Really. This case has everything you need to be relevant in 2018, and more. It’s easy to build in, beautiful, and in my opinion, among the nicest-looking cases ever designed. Like how it looks? Buy it. You won’t regret it. It offers more than looks, and it has those features in spades.
Phanteks Evolv Shift
Pros: Seems like an alien artifact, absolutely unique look.
Cons: Mediocre thermal performance, X variant is expensive, some specific hardware required.
Can’t stand normal cases? Ha, see what I did there? Stand? Ahem. The Evolv Shift from Phanteks is… weird. It’s unique, it’s weird and I love it for those reasons. You’ll have to do a lot of extra shopping to find compatible parts for this case, as things like power supplies have to be of a certain size. However, if you can manage a grocery list for this thing, it’s certainly not a terrible idea to give it a go. I’d personally find it to be of great complement to a music studio, sitting alongside some bookshelf speakers. That’s just one of many ways you’ll have to incorporate this case into your space, as it’s definitely going to… ahem, stand out. The X variant is more expensive and adds a few features, but the price premium very well may not be worth it in the end.
Corsair Carbide Air 240
Pros: Fits in perfectly in the entertainment room, clean design.
Cons: Somewhat difficult to build in, poor thermal performance.
The Air 240 from Corsair looks like any sort of set-top box from afar. It’s clean, it’s minimal and it’s not at all gamer-y. I appreciate that, as it’s nice to have some muted options on the market. Although, with that being said, one of the major flaws of this case comes from one of its greatest strengths: the size. With such a small chassis, it’s rather tough to build in this case, but builds are entirely possible. However, expect them to run hot, and expect them to run loud. That is if you’re hammering away at gaming. If you’re using this case for a more basic HTPC, you should have no issues.
Pros: Adorable Portal-inspired design.
Cons: Poor thermals performance, somewhat limited hardware support.
Are you still there?
The Portal by BitFenix should be instantly recognized by any fans of Valve’s Portal series. The case is designed to look like one of the enemies in the game. Specifically, the Sentry Turret. This case is amazing to look at, and it’s a shame its internals aren’t quite as nice. With somewhat-limited hardware support, poor thermal performance and a not-so-easy building experience, the Portal by BitFenix feels more like you’re putting together a model Sentry Turret than it does building a computer. However, for enthusiasts or those who want a truly unique build, you absolutely cannot pass up this case.
Pros: Clean design, small footprint.
Cons: Poor CPU thermal performance.
The RAVEN from SilverStone, if it were a human, would probably only answer questions with stoic “Yes” or “No” responses. It’s muted, it’s straight to the point, and it’s cool. Well, not really. Sort of. While this case does offer a lot better airflow than other Mini ITX cases, its slim design heavily limits CPU cooler options. This results in high-end CPUs being starved for air, leading to thermal throttling. However, if you manage to tame your CPU, this ends up being a really nice, really simple case. The GPU even sits in its own cooling compartment, allowing for better airflow and a cooler card overall. There are a few ups and downs with this case, but it’s an overall nice but it offers what you’re looking for.
While we didn’t cover every case on the market as of today, I’m confident that my selections above will lead to you finding the perfect product for you. From great airflow to unique case designs and even cases which look to be off of an alien spacecraft, the Mini ITX market is filled to the brim with cases whose manufacturers are looking to push the bounds of creativity and size.
Mini ITX isn’t for everyone, but for the crowd, it targets, these cases can be a godsend.