When putting together a new system, the size of the case you’re going to use is an important thing to consider. For example, if you’re building a high-end gaming rig, you’ll probably want a mini-ITX case to save space. Conversely, if your priority is silence or convenience, building it in a regular tower might be the best option.
Mini-ITX cases are great because they offer plenty of room for high-end components while still providing your chassis with a small footprint, which is why it’s become one of the most popular form factors on the market.
If you’re looking to get into mini-ITX gaming, this guide will help you find the best case for your needs.
How Much Do You Need to Spend?
Mini-ITX cases vary in price quite a bit, depending on how much functionality and aesthetics you’re looking for. While they are small enough to fit in your hand, they can go anywhere from about $40 up to $300.
Some cases have unique features that can be quite useful. For example, a PC case with a carrying handle makes it easy to transport your rig from one place to another and a smart fan controller that keeps noise to a minimum.
On the other hand, some high-priced cases offer more style than others. While these types of components aren’t necessary for building a computer, they can certainly help improve the appeal of your rig as well as keep it running smoothly if you’re concerned about keeping things as quiet as possible.
Before spending a lot of money on a fancy case, figure out what kind of functionality you want it to have so you know which one will be the best for your needs.
Do You Need a Dedicated Graphics Card?
While not all mini-ITX cases have this, many of them include a PCI bracket dedicated to holding your GPU. This is important because if your PC case doesn’t have a space for the extra length of a graphics card, you may run into some problems during installation or even when trying to remove it later.
If you’re building a high-end gaming rig and want to ensure that your graphics card will fit within the chassis, it might be worth spending a bit extra to get a model that has a PCI bracket in it. This can be especially advantageous if you’re bringing an expensive GPU into the mix and don’t want to risk damaging it.
One of the most vital things to consider is whether or not you’ll need an add-on card to use your motherboard’s dedicated features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or even USB ports.
Will You Be Using Liquid Cooling?
Some cases are specifically designed for liquid cooling, and in these cases, it’s beneficial to make sure that the pump will fit.
This is because many pumps are pretty large, and there has to be enough room inside a chassis to accommodate one. Some PC cases don’t even have a standard video card space but can still work with a custom water-cooling system.
However, if you get one of these cases, they are usually more expensive than ones that don’t support liquid cooling.
You’ll want to look for something that has enough space in the bottom portion to hold your radiators, reservoirs, and pipes while being able to house all of your computer components as well. This is important because an oversized liquid cooling system can often block airflow, which would defeat the purpose of purchasing a mini-ITX case in the first place.
How Much Airflow Can You Support?
If you’re building a high-performance PC, you’ll want to ensure that your case features enough airflow to keep all of your components cool. For example, some models don’t have vents in the front panel because they are designed for water cooling instead.
The reverse is also true. For example, you won’t want to get a model with too much space between the motherboard and your case fans because there won’t be enough airflow into or out of your chassis.
If you’re interested in liquid cooling but also want maximum airflow, look for cases with either mesh vents over the part where your components are housed or ones that have vents running on the side of them.
While not all mini-ITX cases are the same, they do offer a way for you to turn your PC into a space-saving machine. It’s essential to take your time and do some research to find out which one will be best suited for your needs.