Many people will tell you that size doesn’t matter. Quite clearly, they’ve never tried to fit an RTX 2080 Ti into a Mini ITX case while also attempting to keep it cool – no pun intended!
Speaking of cases, Mini ITX options are great for those who want something compact and tiny.
However, their small size also introduces a few issues that we must keep in mind; issues that make the selection process harder. Airflow, hardware compatibility, and upgradeability are only a few of them.
That’s why finding the best Mini ITX case can prove to be a challenge. So, we decided to do the research for you. Here are our top 5 Mini ITX choices!
1: NZXT H210
Best Mini ITX case for liquid cooling
As far as PC cases are concerned, NZXT is definitely one of the most popular choices. They’ve been making some great cases for years now and the H210 is not an exception.
Don’t let the size fool you. This case brings a lot to the table. For once, it’s one of the very few Mini ITX options which offer support for a 240mm radiator on the front. So, for those of you love liquid cooling, you should seriously consider this one.
Need a CPU cooler? No problem. With a max cooler height of 165mm, even the bulkiest options will fit in there. That includes some of the most popular options like the Dark Rock Pro 4 and the Noctua NH-D15 (165mm)!
And as far as Mini ITX cases go, it also offers great cooling. With support for up to 4 fans, it should keep things relatively cool.
Not to mention how much potential it offers for gamers. After all, with a GPU clearance of up to 325mm, even triple-fan GPUs should fit without an issue.
Now, with that being said, don’t forget to always make your research before buying a graphics card. It’s a rarity, but some options like the 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio (327mm) are a tiny bit too long to fit.
Overall, with great cooling support and enough room to fit some beefy components while still keeping a low-profile size, you can clearly see why we picked the H210 as one of the best Mini ITX cases that one can get!
2: Thermaltake Core V1
Best Mini ITX case for people on a budget
Looking for something compact yet powerful that doesn’t ask for a lot of money? Then the Core V1 is quite possibly your go-to choice!
Regarding cooling, it comes with a huge 200mm fan pre-installed on the front while also offering the option of installing a couple more 80mm fans in the back. Buying these fans is highly recommended to get some decent airflow.
As for storage, we only get 2 slots that can fit both 2.5 and 3.5 drives. It’s not much, but for most people who are only using a single SSD for the OS and an HDD for games, it should be just fine.
Our only complaint is the GPU and CPU cooler clearance. There is enough space to fit cards up to 285mm, which is not terrible. But, as far as CPU coolers are concerned, nothing larger than 140mm will fit in and that can be an issue.
There are still some good options, like the Cryorig H7. But, you can basically forget about bulky coolers like the Dark Rock Pro 4 and dual radiators for liquid cooling.
3: InWin A1
Mini case + wireless charger + PSU bundle
The InWin A1 is unique in a number of ways. First of all, even by Mini ATX standards, it’s quite small. Other than that, there’s also the fact that it offers a 600W bronze-rated PSU with it and built-in wireless charging.
No need to connect a dock or anything like that. Simply place your phone at the top of the case and it should start charging.
The included power supply is great for cable management, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s nowhere near as reliable as popular Gold or Platinum rated PSUs like the Corsair RM series. And while there is always the option of replacing the PSU, that doesn’t change the fact that we end up paying extra money for things that we don’t want. Not cool.
At least the case itself is rather cool. While not visible at first glance, the InWin A1 does offer support for up to four 120mm fans.
Furthermore, with a cooler clearance of up to 160mm and GPU clearance of up to 320mm, there is definitely a lot of room for fitting in some serious power in a small package. Some of the bulkiest coolers will still not fit, though. So, that’s another small compromise that needs to be made here.
4: Thermaltake Core P1
Best open air case
This is without a doubt one of the best Mini ITX cases that one can get. Not only it offers plenty of room for everything, but under the possession of an experienced builder, it can also make for a very beautiful and flashy build.
That being said, it doesn’t just look cool, but it also feels like it. With support for up to 2x 140mm fans (Or a radiator) and the open design that it offers, you can expect to see some pretty decent cooling results.
Furthermore, with a CPU cooler clearance of up to 170mm, there is nothing that won’t fit in there. Not to mention that the same thing applies to the graphics card. After all, we’ve never seen a GPU that’s longer than 380mm.
Storage options are also above average for a Mini ITX case. We’re looking at 2 slots for 2.5-inch drives on the outside, another one at the outside, plus one 3.5-inch slot. Definitely more than enough for your average person.
Overall, if you’re looking for a flashy Mini ITX case that offers great cooling and lots of room for beefy components, then it’s definitely hard to go wrong with the Core P1.
5: Fractal Design Node 304
Best minimalistic Mini ITX case
Some people like being as flashy as possible. Others prefer keeping a low-profile; something more serious. If you belong to the latter category, then do definitely consider the Fractal Design Node.
This case offers a very minimalistic design with support for up to 3 fans that are included upon purchase, 6 drive slots, and dust filters everywhere, all while keeping a compact form factor.
Other than that, with a CPU cooler clearance of 165mm and a GPU clearance of up to 310mm, most coolers and graphics cards should have no problem fitting in there. Though, with that being said, do keep in mind that the GPU can easily interfere with the PSU and/or its cables. So, careful with that.
If there is one complaint from us, then that’s definitely going to be cable management. There’s not much room for hiding the cables and that makes things very messy; very quickly. Depending on just how messy your cable management is, that may end up hurting thermals.
Still, if you need something that’s minimalistic, simple, and sleek, the Design Node 304 is a decent choice.
Things to Look Out For When Buying a Mini ITX Case
As beautiful as they may look, Mini ITX cases do have quite a few disadvantages compared to their bigger brothers. So, here are a few things that you must look out for:
- Room for components: Due to their smaller size, Mini ITX cases struggle quite a bit more to fit big GPUs and bulky coolers. Keep an eye out for that.
- Cooling: It’s no secret that smaller cases struggle a bit more with cooling. The least that you can do is make sure that your case has room for cooling fans.
- Radiator support: Wanting to install a liquid-cooler and buying a case with no radiator support is a rookie mistake.
- Upgradeability: Don’t restrict your plans to the moment or you’ll end up having to buy another case down the line in order to fit better; larger components.
- Storage space: Most Mini ITX cases don’t offer more than 2 slots for drives. If you need more, keep an eye out for that.
Those were all our recommendations for now. Depending on what you need, here’s what you should pick in a nutshell :
- NZXT H210: Traditional design with the best liquid-cooling support
- Thermaltake Core V1: The best budget choice
- InWin A1: Great option for those who want a PSU bundled in with decent cable management and wireless charging built-in
- Thermaltake Core P1: Offers transparency and a rather flashy design
- Fractal Design Node 304: Minimalistic, simple, and elegant