Currently, Personal Computers come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, though in the category of desktops, there are three major sets of PC cases; Mini ITX, Micro ATX, and Full ATX. These three cases make up a significant part of the market, and you can simply perceive them as small, medium, and big-size cases. While each form factor has pros and cons, today we’ll talk more about Mini ITX cases, specifically, the best SFF Mini ITX PC cases. So, let’s delve into the review, followed by a detailed checklist of what to look for when purchasing a reliable mini ITX case. Here we go!
7 Best Mini ITX SFF Cases for DIY PC Building 2022
With the number of intimidating products in the market, finding a suitable SFF Mini ITX PC case might be devastating. But worry not, here we have compiled a list of the best Mini ITX cases in the market, and they are as follows;
1. Best Overall – Cooler Master NR200
Your dream of owning an ultra-compact gaming PC will come true with the Cooler master NR200. With this Mini ITX, you’re buying a case that is designed to hold some crucial hardware. You can choose a huge gaming monitor and CPU since there is more than enough room for a 240mm radiator to offer you the much-needed liquid-cooling effect.
Additionally, you’ll have enough space for a graphic card with 330mm height, which is more than what the Nvidia GeForce 3090 FE offers. Again, it features dedicated holders for three drives; one 3.5-inch drive and two 2.5-inch drives.View On Amazon
- It has a small build making it highly portable
- Great cooling performance
- Compatible with huge GPU and CPU cooler
- It doesn’t come with a fortified glass window on the side
2. Best for Gaming – NZXT H210
Second, on our list is this impressive case with a USB C Port and a fortified glass pane on the side. It has a neat, modern construction, with an incredibly designed cable management panel. The fortified glass panel also adds to this case’s remarkable build.
When it comes to wiring, the patented cable steering kit features pre-installed straps and channels, making it straightforward. Besides, it features two fans, ideal for optimum internal aeration, and the PSU and front platform intakes have detachable brackets and filters for radiators measuring up to 240mm.View On Amazon
- Impressive cooling performance
- Perfect for gaming and works decently with huge GPUs and CPU coolers
- It is equipped with fast-speed front slots
- Rather costly
3. Best Air Cooling – ASUS ROG Z11
The ASUS ROG Z11 is an amazing yet complicated case to have. Prevalently, the manufacturer focused a reasonable amount of time on the aesthetics and novel form factor. Also, the blend of tempered glass, aluminum construction, and RGB is quite stunning.
Furthermore, the ASUS ROG Z11 offers you the option of flipping it in a horizontal orientation. However, this placement impacts the interior temperatures. Plus, it is the reason why they included the short power cable and a plate to revolve the logo at 90 degrees.View On Amazon
- It is spacious enough to accommodate a full-sized graphic card
- It comes with a fan hub
- It has a smart design
4. Best Big Mini ITX Case – Lian-Li case 011D Mini
The Lian Li O11 is a fascinating expansion to the infamous series dedicatedly designed for air cooling devotees. It is not that different from the previous O11 Dynamic model when it comes to physical appearance.
It can hold 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives and has 3 USB ports, including one Type C USB port. Besides, this mini tower Case is compatible with all ATX motherboards. The Lian Li case is made entirely of aluminum and features Tempered glass, thus ensuring durability. The installation process is somewhat easy, and you shouldn’t have any problems here.View On Amazon
- It is compatible with all ATX motherboards
- It is easy to install
- It has a great design
- It is hard to move since it doesn’t feature a grab location
5. Best Budget – Thermaltake Core V1
This is a budget-friendly case purposed to support a high-performance gaming CPU. With about 18 lbs. weight and dimensions of 12.4 by 10.2 by 10.9 inches, this case is made using steel for the most part and is perfect for a fixed construction.
The Core V1 case is somewhat heavier than most, and this is owed to its steel build. Most of the cases in this review are made using aluminum. Nevertheless, the steel build comes in handy in noise reduction, making this case perfect for the gamer who desires no destruction from a noisy PC.View On Amazon
With two audio jack and USB 3.0 slots, this Mini ITX case can fit two 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives. Additionally, the dual expansion ports are compatible with cards of up to 255mm. This case is compatible with multiple configurations featuring liquid and air-cooling mechanisms as well.
Furthermore, the Core V1 comes with a 200mm fan pre-installed in the front and space for 140mm or 120mm. At the back, it can hold two fans of up to 80mm.
Plus, the vents on the side allow for optimum ventilation. Again, the Core V1 can hold a tower CPU cooler of up to 140mm. At the top, it features a transparent window, making viewing more comfortable. On the other hand, the side panels are substitutable and symmetrical and can be repositioned to meet your preferences and requirements.
- It can hold a maximum of 3 fans
- It comes in two different color schemes
- The side panels are interchangeable and symmetrical and can be relocated to meet your requirements and preferences
- Restricted AIO placements
6. Best Durability – Cooler Master RC-130-KKN1 Elite 130
Here is yet another Cooler Master Mini ITX case, with a front panel that’s meshed for improved intake of cool air from the surrounding. Also, this impressive case is compatible with Mini ITX motherboards with small construction designs.
Furthermore, the HDD/SSD slot placement allows for more space inside. At the front of the case, you can place a water-cooling kit of up to 120mm. The RC130 is also compatible with graphic cards of up to 343mm length and regular-length ATX PSU.
In addition, it comes with an 80mm fan positioned on the side and a 120mm fan in front. Lastly, it can hold a CPU cooler of 2.5 inches in height.View On Amazon
- Ample mounting points for hard discs
- It has a dual-chamber included for focusing cooling on parts that require it more
- Robust steel construction
- It doesn’t come with a power supply
7. Best Compact Build – Silverstone SG13
Given this case’s reasonable price tag, the SG13 is a real champion. While it does require better quality sheet metal and a front fan, this case will not disappoint you in terms of functionality. It is ITX distilled with a simple yet sophisticated design that’s visually appealing. Again, it supports 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives.
Furthermore, it is compatible with 10.5 inches expansion cards and Mini DTX / Mini ITX motherboards. It can as well fit one all-in-one liquid cooler of 140mm or 120mm.View On Amazon
- Compact build
- Spacious enough to operate high-end systems
- It doesn’t come with a fan
What Really is a Mini ITX or Small Form Factor Case?
A mini ITX is a motherboard form factor launched in 2001 by VIA technologies. Typically, they are utilized in Small Form Factor PCs. However, they were initially established as a niche product, engineered for fan-less cooling with a reduced power usage construction, making them suitable for home theater computer systems, where the film experience can diminish the noise from the fun.
Mini ITX features four holes that align with the four holes found on the ATX-specification motherboards. Moreover, the positions of the expansion slot and backplate are similar. This means that you can utilize Mini ITX boards in cases engineered for micro-ATX, ATX, and any other ATX variants if needed.
Besides, its construction offers one expansion port. Previously, motherboards usually featured a regular 33MHz 5V 32-bit PCI port. Most outdated case constructions utilize riser cards, and some even feature two-port riser cards, but all boards support these two slots.
Meanwhile, some boards with x86 processors feature a 3.3V PCI port, and the Mini ITX 2.0 features a PCI-Express, and they’re not supported by the regular PCI riser cards that come with the earlier ITX cases.
Why Even Buy the Mini ITX Cases?
As with any other product in the market, each comes with different pros and cons. While home-assembled computers have for a long time been focused on bigger mid-tower ATX, the current fountain of compact, potent components has made smaller builds worthwhile.
But, what will you be sacrificing in the process? Not a lot. Even with potent constituents, there are a handful of things you’ll have to look out for. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of Mini ITX cases;
- Compact build saves space
This is one of the most recognizable advantages that come with having a Mini ITX case. They occupy a small amount of space thanks to their small build.
For instance, a Mini ITX PC case from one manufacturer, with enough space for a complete Power supply and gaming GPU, is 203 by 250 by 367mm, approximately 18,600cm3. This means that you could have three Mini-ITX cases, which will still be smaller than a mid-tower.
A complete Mid-tower weighs around 40lbs, which impacts its portability. While Mini ITX cases utilize almost all the same parts as a mid-tower, except for the motherboard, the compact case makes it much lighter and easier to carry around. This also makes it easier for people traveling with a PC.
Even though it is possible to find a Mini ITX Small Form Factor build with incredibly expensive parts and a modern designer case, It is also very possible to build a value oriented small form factor pc under $1000.
- They are fascinating
The fascination of having something small and appealing that features just as much power as something larger is undeniable. A well-constructed Mini-ITX will work just as effectively as a full-sized build.
And even though you can get some of the benefits from a pricey custom-designed Mini ITX PC case, it’s significantly more pleasing and affordable to choose and put the parts together by yourself.
So, what will you give up in the process? Provided you build correctly, there are very few downsides, including;
- Not all GPUs are compatible.
Typically, having a smaller case means you need to cautiously choose your graphic card if you’re assembling a gaming PC. Some mini ITX may not support the lengthier ATI and Nvidia graphic cards, even those explicitly engineered to support gaming builds.
Fortunately, GPU manufacturers will not design a Mini ITX that’s compatible with shorter cards and, at the same time, produce longer graphic cards. which is why SFF cases are most suitable for building a budget gaming pc with an just an Apu. Therefore, when choosing a sff case make sure to check GPU compatibility before buying.
- Provides limited room for expansion
Most Mini ITX motherboards don’t have multiple GPU setups or PCIe card ports. They frequently have two RAM positions, meaning if you want to access 32GB or 16GB memory, you will need to pay for additional, more costly, DIMMs.
- Moreover, most Mini ITX can hold at least one 3.5-inch hard disc and 2.5-inch SSD, meeting most gamers` needs, but for great backup or storage, you might require looking for an external hard disc.
Besides, some cases do not have the standard 5.25-inch hard disc mount, which is really not a big deal considering most PC games are downloaded from sites like Steam.
- Compatibility checklist before buying SFF cases
We have done a thorough research and are sure that these seven are among the best cases the industry has to offer. On the other hand, we understand that choosing an SFF Mini ITX PC case comes down to your specific needs and preferences, and you might not be particularly keen on the Cases we’ve reviewed.
Therefore, to help you pick a good PC case and explain our choice for the best SFF Mini ITX PC cases, let’s take a look at the essential variables to factor in before buying a PC case;
- Motherboard size
Before purchasing a Portable computer case, it is crucial to ensure that your motherboard will fit properly inside it. As all cases are designed for Mini ITX motherboards with universal sizes, you can be sure they will be compatible.
For more versatility, various Mini ITX cases may work with different motherboard sizes like ATX or Mini DTX like the Lian li O11D and the Silverstone SG13 cases.
- GPU Size
When using a small computer platform like the cases mentioned in this review, it can be difficult to fit large computer constituents, including huge graphic cards and a CPU cooler. For this reason, you should confirm the maximum height for the cooler and GPU length compatible with a specific case, which is usually between 100mm & 250mm correspondingly.
- CPU cooler size
A handful of Mini ITX PC cases are compatible with AIO liquid cooler, with a small radiator of 140mm or 120mm, though they are the exception.
It would be best to check the manufacturer’s specs for the maximum CPU cooler height supported, though many do not have vertical compatibility for tower-style coolers. But, if this is what you’re looking for, the Thermaltake Core V1 case is a decent option.
Knowing this will ensure your cooler is positioned comfortably away from its opposite side and will not interfere with other constituents. This is usually a problem, mainly if the supply unit or other constituents overhang the cooler’s port and restrict the maximum cooler height, which may not be evident from the exterior.
- SFF Power supply
Lastly is the PSU, also known as Power Supply Unit. Usually, this is not universal among mini ITX cases. Compact SFF PSUs (SFX) are solely designed for mini ITX cases, though not every case is compatible. Some cases accommodate a complete ATX 12V PSU, which is typically larger.
The mounting face of an SFX measures 4.9 by 2.5 inches compared to the 5.9 by 3.4 inches ATX Power supply. Meanwhile, some cases usually hold a regular ATX, while various models can utilize either power supply, with the SFX installation being accomplished through an alternative adapter connection or other hardware.
So, there you have it, the Best Mini ITX cases for your PC. Out of all the cases, our favorite was the Cooler Master NR200 and NZXT H210. They both have compact builds, incredible functionality, and are visually appealing.
All things considered; we don’t think you’ll go wrong with any of the cases we’ve reviewed. Some may call for more forfeits than others, though it all comes down to your preferences and the PC you’re building. While they might not be as powerful as full-sized cases, Mini ITX cases are highly portable and lightweight. Besides, the portability compensates for the reduced power. Provided you research and confirm the specs and features beforehand, you’ll be fine.