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Remember the days when computers filled up the entire floor of a building?
Probably not, but the earliest computers were massive, with every frame and cabinet essential to its function - for a whopping 982 kilobytes of processing (as is the case with the CDC 6600, which is widely considered the first supercomputer in operation during the 1960s).
These were the days when vacuum tubes and transistors were standard parts in these machines. Imagine how that might look like now if microchips and other miniaturization technologies weren’t developed?
It’s highly unlikely we’d have ever seen anyone own a home computer had that been the case.
These days, desktops function at blazing speeds with storage capacities that would blow the mind of a 1960’s techie.
However, while computers have shrunk down exponentially, their needs have not changed, particularly when it comes to protecting its delicate parts (especially the motherboard) while also ensuring ventilation and cooling are adequate to keep them from melting into slag.
And the demands for getting smaller while providing these functions for computers casings are getting higher and higher, which is why the mini-ITX Cases are all the rage today.
|Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ITX Tempered Glass (PH-ES215PTG_SRD), Clean and...||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|CORSAIR CRYSTAL 280X Micro-ATX Case, Tempered Glass - White -...||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|InWin A1 Black Mini-ITX Tower with Integrated RGB Lighting 600W Power...||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|BitFenix Mini-ITX Tower Case Without Power Supply, Arctic White...||Shop now at Amazon.com|
|Cooler Master RC-130-KKN1 Elite 130 - Mini-ITX Computer Case with Mesh...||Shop now at Amazon.com|
Before going into what a Mini ITX Case is, let’s define what ITX stands for. This is the abbreviated form in reference to Information Technology eXtended (which if you’re a stinker for details, that should be ITE or ITEX, but whatever).
Basically, this technology developed by VIA Technologies led to smaller and smaller motherboards (the main component of any computer where every other part or system is plugged into).
Motherboards are measured by a number of different categories, such as power supply, dimensions, number of ports, location of mounting holes, and such, which is referred to as form factor.
Jumping past the other details, the Mini ITX was designed for compact use, such as LED TVs and Home Theater systems, but the technology is now used for smaller computers that pack as much power as a standard desktop rig.
The gaming community, particularly, are the target market for Mini ITX based systems, for want of minimalist space while still being able to handle the graphics and processing power for high-end games nowadays.
This is where the Mini ITX Case comes in. As the demands of consumers using Mini ITX computers increase so too do the demands for space-efficient, but feature-packed Mini ITX cases rise. After all, any gamer worth his street cred wouldn’t be caught dead with a mammoth case for his gaming rig to be seen during his streaming.
That’s almost taboo. But with the competition fierce among Mini ITX Case manufacturers and suppliers, how do you choose which ones are the best? Let’s take a look see.
Making sure you get the best Mini ITX Case is paramount. We always pride ourselves on being as accurate and honest as possible.
Our ratings are based on a variety of factors, from testimonials and reviews from customers, product data, professional critique and brand reputation. These all come together to give you the best possible idea of what product suits you the best.
Now that the tale of the tape is out of the way, here are the best Mini ITX Cases available for the mass market as of 2019. Bear in mind that with the pace technology develops, another contender can come in which blows the competition out of the water in just a matter of months.
Ignore the odd spelling of this entry in this rundown of the best Mini ITX case (which is likely for branding purposes, in any case), this is the second tallest and widest Mini ITX Case in this list.
The body is almost the size of a full desktop tower, relatively speaking, and weighing a massive 7.6kg (about twice or even thrice the weight of others on this list). However, looks can be deceiving, as the frame actually takes up only a moderate 170 mm x 470 mm x 274 mm space.
And what it does take up in space over its brethren, it makes up for in efficient use of said space, with a roomy cabling management and sections for external trays, additional ventilation, and even room for liquid water cooling should the owner choose to splurge.
The shiny, chrome exterior of the standard unit would fit well in any setup, be it one’s man-cave or the family room. And it’s relatively affordable, with the average retail price of $$ for the unit. While its size makes it just barely making the category of a Mini ITX, it’s certainly worth the purchase price.
The biggest dog in this yard, the Corsair Crystal 280X RGB supports both Micro-ATX and Mini ITX motherboards. Its 7.1 kg weight (lighter than the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv) and Micro ATX Tower frame just ekes out being included as a Mini ITX Case, but it is quite popular a choice, based on online sales and number of users in the gaming community.
The Corsair Crystal 280X RGB’s dual chamber interior allows for a generous amount of customization and optimization if you have the budget for it. It’s big enough to support additional radiators raging from 120mm to 280mm in size.
The crystalline glass panels allow one to view the interior comfortably, without the need to remove any of the panels for casual inspection (or simply to admire one’s handiwork). In addition, the big boy in this group comes with built-in dual RGB fans, which is nice to have when you’re already strapped for cash.
32 individually customizable LEDs are included, which is controlled by a Lighting Node PRO digital RGB lighting controller and the proprietary CORSAIR iCUE software. If you like your Mini ITX case to light up like Christmas, this is the unit to get.
The Corsair allows for storage capacities of up to two 3.5-inch drives and three 2.5-inch drives natively.
This ability to take more cooling options and additional peripherals for an acceptable sacrifice in space is likely why it is a popular gaming choice as the best Mini ITX Case (despite just barely fitting into that category).
One other disadvantage compared to other units is that the current Corsair Crystal 280X RGB only supports USB 3.0 and not the USB 3.1. This is particularly surprising since the unit comes in at an average retail price of $$$! Ouch.
At 6.9 kg, the In Win A1 Mini ITX case sports some unique features not found in most other Mini ITX cases in its weight class. It has a built-in 600-watt power supply, which is a great boon as hunting for the right power supply for Mini ITX are not one of the things an owner looks forward to.
Another cool design feature of the In Win A1 Mini ITX Case is the wireless charger at the top of its frame. While not essential, having the option to charge your mobile phone or other device that fits is a welcome benefit for this list of the best Mini ITX Case.
On the downside, for its size, it’s surprising that this unit can only accommodate radiators of 120mm in size. This lack of accessibility and limited customization for more powerful builds limits the appeal of the In Win A1 Mini ITX case for hardcore gamers.
Coming in at the mid-sized Mini ITX case, the BitFenix Mini-ITX case is quite sleek and stylish, with a frame composed of the parent company’s proprietary FyberFlex material, which is marketed as shock resistant (though I wouldn’t recommend testing it by throwing the bugger across the room).
Although smaller than the prior units mentioned, the BitFenix Mini-ITX case is able to support a wide variety and sizes of coolers, radiators, and drives/SSDs.
Installing up to a 240mm radiator is not at all out of the question, and the 5 drive bays allow a wealth of storage and processing power for such a compact unit, although you may have to forego maximizing the drive bays in order to plug in an adequate graphics card, especially for gaming needs which hurts its rank in the best Mini ITX case available.
The unit is also available in multiple color options, so you can customize the overall appearance to your preferred hue.
Having the words “cooler”, “master”, and “elite” in its official name seems over the top, but the Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case earns these distinctions like an ace fighter pilot.
You often hear “pound-for-pound” when referring to the best of anything, and the Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case is definitely that: a pound-for-pound champ in the battle for the best Mini ITX case that doesn’t excel at one thing, but the overall package is better than the sum of its parts.
Right off the bat, the Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case has built in support for monster performance triple-fan GPUs. The Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case also has two internal cooling fans by default: a 120mm fan up front and an 80 mm fan at its backside. Not too shabby, all things considered.
Beyond this, the frame is littered with square ventilation areas and the meshes in the frame allow for adequate air circulation. Remember: the cooler you can keep the Mini ITX motherboard components, the better.
Efficient use of space for cabling and the placement of the motherboard at the bottom of the unit while having the power supply up top maximized the space for customization later on. Having ports for 3 HDDs and up to 4 SSDs is quite impressive for such a compact size.
And if I didn’t mention yet, the Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case comes it at a rather pedestrian retail price of only around $. What a bargain!
On the downside, the Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case it cannot handle higher end graphics cards and larger than 120mm radiators, and is not pre-built with its own power supply.
On that note, it also cannot handle a full-service power supply, so you’d best make that consideration when shopping for a power supply to install in the Cooler Master Elite 130 Mini-ITX case.
As with any attempt at listing a “best of”, having a checklist of points of comparison helps give a clearer picture, particularly with how important features are in choosing a Mini ITX Case that’s right for you.
Let’s break things down:
All these factors and features should be considered in making the choice for what the best Mini ITX Case you should choose in the plethora of choices vying for consumer attention.
Making the right choice to spend your Mini ITX case budget on can be a daunting task.
Whether you are a die-hard FPS player or a MOBA addict, you want to consider the portability, efficiency, customization options, heat management, appearance, and the price you’re willing to pay in making a final decision for the Mini ITX Case you’d want to proudly display during your streaming sessions (or just taking a selfie!).
But the best Mini ITX Case ultimately boils down to what fits your overall lifestyle and preferences.