I’ve started to use mini-ITX cases in a lot more of my PC builds. They don’t take as much space, their motherboards don’t cost as much, and they can still hold everything I need. That being said, there are a lot of mini-ITX cases on the market. Some of these are good, and some of them have some inherent flaws. In this post, I’ll go over what I’ve learned in the past couple of years about these cases and give you my favorite options for budgets under $100, $50.
8 Good Mini-ITX PC Gaming Cases for the Money:
Whether you’re looking for a case for your small form factor PC or simply want to make a LAN PC for taking with you on the go, here are a few of my favorite mini-ITX cases for under $100, $50, and $30.
|Model||Phanteks Enthoo Evolv Mini||SilverStone Mini RVZ02B||Fractal Design Define Nano S||Corsair Obsidian 250D||Cooler Master Elite 130||Cooler Master Elite 110||Thermaltake Core V1 Cube||Bitfenix Prodigy|
|Dimensions||14.70" x 9.00" x 15.50"||3.43" x 14.96" x 14.57"||12.99" x 7.99" x 16.22"||11.40" x 10.90" x 13.80"||8.20" x 9.40" x 15.70"||10.3" x 8.2" x 11.1"||10.9" x 10.2" x 12.4"||15.91" x 9.84" x 14.13"|
|Category||Under $100||Under $100||Under $100||Under $100||Under $50||Under $50||Under $50||Under $100|
|Max GPU Length||330mm / 13"||330mm / 13"||315 mm||290mm||343mm / 13.5"||210mm / 8.3"||285mm outer 255mm Inner||300 mm|
|Max CPU Cooler Height||200mm / 7.85"||58mm / 2.28"||160 mm||95mm||65mm / 2.5"||76mm / 3"||140mm||180mm|
|Case Material||Steel / Plastic||Steel / Plastic||Steel||Aluminum / Steel||Steel Alloy Body||Steel Alloy Body||SPCC||Steel / Plastic|
|Included Fans||1 x 200mm fan||Passive Exhaust vents||1 x 120mm rear, 1 x 140mm front||1 x 120mm Side, 1 x 140mm Front||1 x 80mm side, 1 x 120mm front||120mm front fan||200mm front||120mm front, 120mm rear|
|PSU||ATX||SFX & SFX-L||ATX||ATX||ATX PS2||ATX PS2||ATX PS2||ATX PS2|
|Weight||12 Pounds||7.28 Pounds||10.14 Pounds||9.7 Pounds||7 Pounds||5.9 Pounds||8.8 Pounds||16.7 Pounds Shipping|
|Case Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review||Read Review|
|Pricing||See Current Price||See Current Price||See Current Price||See Current Price||See Current Price||See Current Price||See Current Price||See Current Price|
Small Form Factor Mini-ITX Cases Under $100
Got around $100 to spend? Here’s a look at a wide variety of cases we like. Some focus on space saving designs while others are roomy and easy-to-use.
Phanteks PH-ES215P_SRD Enthoo Evolv Mini-ITX Tower
Available in black, white, and black and red accents, the Enthoo Evolv not only fits your color scheme, it has the flexibility for just about any type of build. That includes extensive water cooling support as well as support for full-sized graphics cards. In addition, it’s roomy inside making it easy to install your components. On the downside, it’s a bit larger than your typical mini-ITX case. Then again, that’s why many people buy it.
For design, it’s made of sturdy components and has a side window for seeing all of your components. The Evolv Mini can also be ordered without a window to save $5 to $10. In terms of the front window, it’s a lot more substantial than I was expecting. It’s definitely not cheap.
Overall, we’re big fans of Phanteks here. They give you good quality and don’t charge a fortune. Their Enthoo Pro still stays at the top of our full tower case list. So, if you’re planning to build an ITX case and want a roomy option, this would be at the top of our list in the under $100. On the other hand, those looking for a space-saving option may want to look elsewhere. The case certainly isn’t huge, but it is compared to some other ITX cases we’ve come across.
SilverStone Mini-ITX RVZ02B
SilverStone is known for making their quality cases and this Mini-ITX case certainly follows that tradition. At only 4 inches wide, it fits where a lot of cases won’t. For a visual, I’d compare its size to that of a big box of cereal. For those who are on the go for business trips or LAN parties, it can also be ordered with a handle or with or without a side window.
Because it’s so small it has a few limitations that the cases above don’t. First of all, it’s a bit more difficult to work with even though it has tool-less installation. But, many will prefer that to a larger size. In addition, it only has room for an SFX power supply. These are typically a bit more expensive than your standard ATX power supply. While the case comes with great airflow, I found it a bit difficult to add additional cooling options. That being said, you can fit a 13″ graphics card in this case.
Overall, this case will appeal to those looking for a console-type case that will fit in a lot of areas. One small criticism I have is that it doesn’t use thumbscrews. That being said, I don’t typically change much in my small form factor builds. So, if you understand its limitations and are ok with them, it’s a great case.
Fractal Design Define Nano S
This case has been recently recommended by a lot of review sites, including Tom’s Hardware. There are a lot of good reasons for that.
First of all, Fractal has made silence a priority. In fact, there is sound dampening material on all of its panels. With a price tag of $70 that makes it the most efficient in its category.
It’s roomy and big. You definitely won’t have issues with your components in here. The case itself measures 13.5″ high x 8″ wide x 16.2″ deep. If you’re trying to fit your case into a small space, then be sure this one isn’t too big.
That being said that extra space allows for some great features you don’t typically get in an ITX case. This includes water cooling support (there are predrilled holes for reservoirs) and a ton of space behind the right panel for doing all of your cable management. This makes for a clean build that looks fantastic through the side panel window.
Overall, this is a great case that makes the under $100 category with a price tag of around $70. It’s a good deal and Fractal knows what it’s doing in the budget consumer market. The case itself looks fantastic and fits into just about any environment. For those who understand and like it’s size, it’s ideal.
3. Corsair Obsidian 250D – The Complete Package
Released in January of 2014 the Corsair Obsidian 250D quickly drew my attention as a high-end option for Mini-ITX builders. Why high-end? Because the 250D essentially offers you everything you could get in a standard ATX case – without taking up as much room.
That includes room for a full-sized graphics card, PSU, and even 240mm radiator.
As far as the design is concerned the brushed aluminum looks good while the case itself is otherwise uninspiring other than its top window.
Fan Options are Plentiful:
With room for dual 80mm rear fans, dual 120mm side fans, and a 140mm front fan this case has plenty of options for those who want to maximize their airflow.
Cable Management a Plus:
It seems like in Most ITX builds I’m always tucking a cord where it shouldn’t go and that it never turns out right. The 250D looks very clean when complete which should help to keep your case cooler in the long-run.
At around $100 the 250D is a solid option for those who don’t need a super compact ITX case. It’s attractive, includes tool-free installation, and overall is just fun to work with.
Best Mini-ITX Cases Under $50
On a budget? Here are a few cases that still give you fantastic value in the under $50 category.
Cooler Master Elite 130
Since its release a few years ago, Cooler Master has tried to best the design of the Elite 130. They’ve certainly come out with some decent options; however, for the money, this is still my favorite case under $50. I recently used it in an energy efficient PC build that I have as the main media PC for my house.
The Cooler Master Elite 130 has a lot of what you’re looking for. With space for a full-sized GPU and PSU, gamers don’t have to feel restricted in their PCs performance by the small form factor or feel like they need to buy a more expensive SFF power supply. Internal brackets can also be removed for those wishing to get a bit more creative.
In addition, a fully mesh front and holes throughout the case give it the airflow needed to keep your components cool. An included front 120mm fan and side 80mm fan bring in cool air while your PSU helps to expel the hot air out. The 120mm fan can be replaced by a 120mm radiator for those wanting a liquid cooling option.
In addition, storage and expansion options are quite generous.
As I was using my rig as a media center, I installed an SSD for the OS and a few games, and a couple of large capacity hard drives. I also purchased a good controller for my gaming PC so that my son and I could play some of his favorite games that way.
9.5 (W) x 8.2 (H) x 15.69 Inches (D)
As you can see in the dimensions above, the Elite 130 has a shoebox design. I was able to fit this on a shelf on my media center. It does get a bit hot that way; however, not too bad as I’ve used components with low power consumption.
Overall, if you can get it for under $50, it’s a great deal.
Cooler Master Elite 110
This is another classic Cooler Master Mini-ITX case that needs to be on this list. As its a few years old now the cost is down and kinks are all worked out. It typically costs around $40 and has a more compact form than the Elite 130. Dimensions are 10.3 x 11.1 x 8.2 inches.
As I mentioned above, this case is more compact and thus has a few size limitations. It supports graphics cards up to 8.3 inches long, a 120mm radiator in the front, and a CPU cooler up to 3 inches or 76mm in height. If you’re good with those limitations, this is definitely a case that gives you a lot of value.
Overall, this is perfect for a steam box or media PC build. It’ll fit in most locations. That being said, I would highly suggest a modular power supply as it’ll make your life easier.
Thermaltake Core V1 Mini ITX Cube
The Thermaltake ITX Cube comes in a basic black mesh model and white snow edition. The mesh covers pretty much the entirety of it, giving it great natural airflow. The 200mm fan that comes included with the case helps as well. The back has room for a couple of 80mm fans.
One unique design feature of this case is that the panels are interchangeable. That means you can throw the window up on top if you really want to. Either way, I found it pretty fun to play around with.
In terms of size, it’s certainly not the smallest form factor ITX case out there. Dimensions are 10.9″ x 10.2″ x 12.4″. This allows for a standard PSU and up to a 255mm GPU on the inner chassis or 285mm on out chassis.
Choosing a Performance ITX Gaming Case
Components without proper airflow can get too hot thus decreasing their longevity. This is especially the case when it comes to the type of performance components you put in your gaming rig. Finding a case with the necessary fans and airflow is crucial to their long-term performance.
2. Dedicated Graphics Space
If you’re planning on using a dedicated graphics card in your mini ITX case, then be sure that the case you’re looking at has enough room for whatever card you want to put in it. While you could get around this by using integrated graphics or an APU most would prefer a GPU with added performance.
Check out the space that you plan to put your new ITX rig in. Would you prefer a case that is upright or that lays more horizontal? Check out the dimensions of not only the space you plan to use but also the case. In addition, ITX cases are often limited in their room for power supplies and graphics cards. Be sure to read the manufacturers technical details for both the hardware and the case to ensure you get the proper fit for your build.
Related Tech News and Information
Computer Case Guide : Want to know more about the ins and outs of computer cases? Here’s a guide with what you need to know.
Desktop Gaming Computer Cases: Want to know what our favorite budget desktop gaming cases are? Here’s a look.
Bitfenix Prodigy – Unique Well-Built Design
When the BitFenix Prodigy initially released, there was little on the market like it. It has a solid steel build quality and includes Fiber Flex Composite handles for easily taking it with you to a LAN party and event.
Fans and Cooling Options:
Unlike many other cases in its category, the Prodigy can house a 240mm radiator. This makes it ideal for those looking to push their mini ITX machine to the limits. For air cooling, it comes with a 120mm front and rear fan and allows for an additional 120mm fan up front, and 2 additional 120mm fans on top.
9.84″ x 15.91″ x 14.13″
The Prodigy can house up to five 3.5″ HDDs or nine 2.5″ SSDs.
PSU and GPU Fit:
The Prodigy can fit up to a 160mm PSU. That being said if you go that deep I recommend you go with something modular. Otherwise, try to find one that’s around 140mm. It can also house most full-sized graphics cards up to 320mm without the top HDD cage and 180mm without.
EVGA Hadron -w/ Included 80 Plus Gold PSU for Under $200
A little more expensive than the other cases in this lineup, the EVGA Hadron also comes with a little bit more right out of the gate. Included in its purchase is an 80 Plus Gold rated power supply. You can save a lot of money by switching to a more efficient power supply and with Gold PSUs at this wattage coming in at $60 to $100 the price of the case seems more justified. This is especially true when considering that this power supply is extremely slim.
This allows EVGA to fit just a little bit more into what’s a more compact case than others on the market.
There’s a lot to like about the look of EVGA’s new case. The side window is attractive and the build quality is good featuring an extremely compact design with steel, plastic, and air holes and perforation for extensive airflow.
PSU and GPU Fit:
While the PSU fit is taken care of by the slim fit design that’s included a graphics card, double-sided, up to 267mm will fit into this case. That doesn’t include everything, but considering how compact this case is it doesn’t seem like much of a downfall.
Width: 6.6 Inches (169mm)
Height: 12 Inches – 305mm
Depth: 12.1 Inches – 308mm
Final Thoughts: Overall I really like the compactness of this case and the features. I slim optical drive is a good idea, but won’t do so well in entertainment systems as it comes out the side.