Not all ATX cases have to be necessarily big. Some can consume limited space on your desk and still get the job done just fine. Few of you might even think about going for the smallest ATX case possible. Let’s face it; size does matter. And in some cases, the smaller, the better.
You’ll come across a few mid-tower cases that can easily fit in one corner of your desk. These cases are the best ones to have if you ask me. Well, there are Mini-ITX cases as well, but that doesn’t mean ATX cases can’t be of a reasonable size.
In this write-up, we’re gonna talk about the best ones you can possibly find in the market. Not only that, but we’ll also offer some additional info that’ll help you out in understanding the whole deal. So, let’s begin with the basics.
- Smallest ATX: What’s the Big Deal?
- Expected Hardware Specs
- Why Go for ATX cases instead of M-ATX and Mini-ITX?
- The Top 7 Smallest ATX Cases You’ll Find
Smallest ATX: What’s the Big Deal?
Before jumping into small ATX cases, let’s take a look at what ATX even means. ATX actually stands for Advanced Technology Extended. This specific standard was brought to light by Intel in the year 1995. ATX by itself defines accepted form factors of PC cases, Motherboards and Computer power supplies.
In the marketplace, you’ll find that most computer cases, even the small ones, fall under the ATX category. This also ensures that the other components will fit in just fine as long as they fall in the ATX category. Keep note; practically all ATX cases are compatible with Micro-ATX cases.
Expected Hardware Specs
You might be asking yourself, is there a particular size or measurement that the ATX form factor falls in? Well, if you buy an ATX case, you’ll be certain of a few things, if not accurate numbers. The PC case will support an ATX MOBO (Discarding the XL-ATX and E-ATX possibilities).
Plus, you’ll be able to put in multiple drive bays, a graphics card (At least one), and other basic hardware. As far as storage devices are concerned, you can think of at least one 5.25-inch optical drive. And both (Multiple) 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch hard drives.
Why Go for ATX cases instead of M-ATX and Mini-ITX?
Since we’re talking about compact ATX cases here, the whole point revolves around size. As I said, ATX cases generally support M-ATX MOBOS. Then why not look into the smaller form factor? The Mini-ITX cases? Well, there are multiple points to be made. Let’s start.
A Complete Build
When you’re building your PC, you really need to know what your priorities are. If you want to have all the goodies and a compact case form factor at the same time, then ATX cases are just right for you.
Mini-ITX cases like the Thermaltake Core V1 SPCC or other small-sized cases consume way less space than complete ATX cases. However, there are possibilities of you having to limit your specs.
By limiting your specs, I mean to say settling with fewer RAM slots, no multiple GPU support, no custom loops, and so on. That’s exactly why going for a compact ATX case can be a better choice for those who want to have it all.
One thing Mini-ITX and M-ATX case users can suffer from is a shortage of storage and other expansion possibilities. I mean if you don’t get anything insane like a 10TB hard drive, you might fall short of storage.
Or maybe you want an extra PCIe slot to mount an SSD or a dedicated sound card but can’t find a way due to the super small form factor. These things do happen. So, if you want to stay open to further upgrades and expansion possibilities, you might want to consider ATX cases over the rest.
If you consider component prices, you’ll find that ATX cases offer the best budget options among the rest. There are lots of variants to choose from, and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. So, if you don’t want to break the bank and want a solid build as well, ATX cases are the way to go.
The Top 7 Smallest ATX Cases You’ll Find
We’re all free to choose in the end. But by doing some digging into the facts, I’ve selected seven small-sized ATX cases that stand out from the rest. Just read on. I bet you’ll find the one that’ll suit your needs nicely.
When you’re looking at a case from Corsair, you should be prepared for some classy features. It’s been a while since they introduced their dual chamber high airflow cases. The Air 540 is one of them and it’s an absolute steal. The features that it offers are simply top notch and it all comes in a reasonable price.
As the name suggests, this case focuses on proper airflow to keep the components inside in the right temps. The case guarantees to deliver cooler airflow to the inner components like the Motherboard, CPU, graphics card and so on. And it does it without the power supply getting in the way.
Hey, let’s face it we all want our builds to be neat, clean, and efficient. What if I told you that it could be quiet as well. The Air 540 is pre-equipped with Air Series AF140L intake and exhaust fans. These fans are designed to provide ample airflow at low noise levels.
Note that these are based on the AF140 fans we all know and love for their awesome performance.
You might be asking yourself, all this cool airflow is nice. But what about the maintenance bit? Corsair cases are known for their convenience in this section particularly. Their years of experience speak through their superior design and ingenuity.
To make cleaning easier, they added easily to access, low restriction dust filters in the right place. These work just great and are rather easy to clean.
Yeah, you get an interior cooling that’s already good enough with the case as it is. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for upgrades. Be it air cooling or liquid AIOs; this case is just awesome for both.
The case supports up to a maximum of 120mm fans. But if you’re going for 140mm fans, you’ll be limited to five. As far as radiators are concerned, you can mount up to 280mm on top and 360mm on the front. These are the maximum supported sizes, though. You can go for the smaller ones as well.
Corsair even went the extra mile to hide the pumps and tubing to offer a super clean look. These are the small additions that actually make a difference.
The case itself is really a treat for builders. Most of the installations are absolutely tool-free. Plus, if you want to showcase your build, the tinted oversized flush mount is just right for the occasion.
The best part of it all is, you get all these features within the dimensions of 16.3 x 13.1 x 18 inches. Making this case one of the best compact ATX cases out there.
- The water-cooling support is impressive.
- Includes three high quality fans out of the box.
- Ample room for storage expansion.
- Two separate radiators can be mounted.
- Complete tool less installation makes it easy.
- Some have reported this case to be a bit noisy.
- No anti-vibration feature for the PSU.
Sleek design, cool aesthetics, impressive build quality. Yep, that’s NZXT. If you’re a fan of compact, minimalistic, yet efficient cases, then you’ll become a fan of the H510 almost instantly. This one is ideal for those who want a small footprint case without having to let go of the essential features.
The first impression you get from the case is the sheer simplistic elegance that the design has to offer. Even in terms of connectivity, it’s really well thought of. The USB 3.1 Gen2-compatible USB-C port in the front makes it super easy to connect modern peripherals, smartphones and other fast storage devices.
Even the power button gives good tactile feedback and is easy to press. Apart from that. You’ll find a regular USB port and a single audio jack connector.
All this sounds well and good. But what about convenience? The hardest bit about getting your build ready with a clean finish is cable management. NZXT recognizes the issue and offers a dedicated cable routing kit. Not only that, but you also get pre-installed straps and channels to make the wiring easier.
If you want to be able to manage your cables in a well-organized, intuitive manner, then this case certainly won’t disappoint. Plus, there’s enough space inside for proper air and water cooling.
The shroud underneath not only adds to the aesthetic value, but does a great job in hiding messy extra cables and the power supply itself.
If you like to showcase your build, then you’ll love the inclusion of the uninterrupted tempered glass side panel. With a single thumbscrew, it’s really easy to install and remove. And, of course, you’ll get the iconic cable management bar that’s been a signature feature of NZXT for a while now.
In my search for the top-notch smallest ATX cases, this one didn’t fail to create an impression. Just putting it on your desk will immediately create an air of class. Also, this thing isn’t very heavy either.
With a minimalistic size and a total weight of 6.6 kilograms, the case itself is an ideal choice for gamers and builders alike.
- The case is a great bang for the buck.
- Offers good water-cooling support.
- The cable management brackets are awesome to have.
- No complains about the super solid construction.
- The design is clean and is aesthetically pleasing.
- Some might find the front I/O to be a bit too simple.
- The case’s airflow setup attracts dust.
Fracral Design definitely has its own edge in style, and it certainly shows on every detail of the Meshify C. If you’re planning to build a high-spec PC and want your case to cover as little room as possible, then this one is definitely worth looking into.
The case is designed to offer high airflow and the mesh allows air to pass easily inside and out of the case. The open interior layout ensures unobstructed flow of air to pass through from the front intact to all the way through the rear exhaust. Keeping the internal components cool at all times.
But wait, there’s more.
When Fractal Design says superior cooling, they mean it. The case itself supports up to 7 fans in total. But out of the box, you get two Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 fans preinstalled in the case. These fans have high-grade LLS bearing, which ensures longevity and durability.
I mean you really can’t go wrong with fans that offer great airflow, minimal noise, and a whopping 100,000 hours of life expectancy.
Speaking of minimal noise, this case is well prepared with steel trays and vibration dampening rubber grommets to keep your storage safe and cause as little noise output as possible. You can count on a smooth, reliable, and quiet operation all the way.
And of course, there’s also the convenience in maintenance. The case includes sturdy dust filters on the top, base, and front as well. You get a complete PSU coverage and an easy-to-access front filter too.
From up to five dedicated storage devices to full length GPUs, this baby here can handle it all. You can also mount three fan radiators and large PSUs that are available in the market. Thinking of something massive like the EVGA Supernova 1600 T2 80+ Titanium? Go ahead. It’ll fit in just fine.
The steel shroud for the PSU looks just classy, and it also hides the annoying cables. The whole interior is optimized for a well ventilated system. You’ll get unobstructed airflow all the way. That’s a guarantee.
Lastly, I just can’t omit the aesthetics. The diamond-like facets and the angular asymmetry grants the Meshify C a distinctly aggressive look. So, if you’re up for some unparalleled cooling, compact size and a stealthy style signature, this case is definitely worth looking at.
- The case is pretty well built.
- The assembly is super easy.
- The fan filters are well placed.
- The included 120mm fans are retail grade.
- For a full ATX case, the size is very compact.
- Noise can escape through the mesh in the front.
- Large sized ATX boards won’t fit.
A compact ATX case list would simply be incomplete without something from Cooler Master. So, let’s talk about the MasterBox Q500L. A case that’s super compact, ticks all the right check boxes and comes within an affordable price range. It made its way into the list for very good reason.
Let’s discuss them one by one.
The case is originally an M-ATX case. But it does offer ATX support. By that, I do mean both motherboards and PSUs. All that with a minimalistic body depth and height of 386 mm x 381 mm.
I personally didn’t really expect a case like this to support liquid cooling radiator mounting. But surprisingly, it does. You can mount a 120mm or a 240mm radiator on the top. And 120mm fans or radiators on the rear and bottom.
Perhaps the most interesting bit about the MasterBox Q500L is the placement. You’ll be able to choose where to place the I/O panel. There are 6 different locations to choose from. Left, right, top, side, and bottom.
Also, the vertical PSU placement was a really smart move from Cooler Master to save space. The PSU can be placed in the front portion of the case. The best part is, the bracket can be repositioned to your choice depending on the form factor at hand.
Cooler Master cases usually do offer options to make neat and clean builds. This case doesn’t fall short in any way either. There’s a total width of 27-30mm behind the motherboard tray for optimal cable routing.
Speaking of convenience, the magnetic dust filters can really save you a lot of hassle during cleaning sessions. They’re really quick to install/ remove and very easy to gain access to.
However, there’s a slight drawback you might face. With this small of a form factor, this much was expected. I wouldn’t say that this case has ample storage options. There are two combo 3.5/2.5″ drive bays that support 1HDD or 2 SSDs. This problem can be solved by drives with more storage capacity.
With the bare minimum dimensions of 15.2 x 9.1 x 15 inches and a weight of only 8.6 pounds, this case can be easily moved around. It’ll save you a lot of space on your desk. Giving you more room for aggressive mouse swipes in intense gaming sessions (Even if your desk is not that big).
- The pricing is just great.
- The case comes with a small footprint.
- The modular features are nice to have.
- Full ATX component support.
- The top and front dust filters are removable.
- The side panel is not tempered glass.
- Only includes one fan.
While talking about the best small-sized ATX cases, would only one case from Corsair be enough? I think not. Here we are yet again with another masterpiece that speaks of simplistic elegance. The 175R is a fairly new addition to Corsair’s Carbide lineup, and it does not fail to impress.
To be honest, the design speaks clearly for those who prefer clean, simple, and a classic look. The smooth curved edges and a polished finish comes with an illuminated RGB logo that’s backlit by an RGB fan. There are six customizable LEDs in total to suit your own personal style.
The first thing I noticed about this case is the edge to edge tempered glass side panel. The fully transparent window allows you to have a clear view of all the precious components of your rig. Showcasing a full RGB setup would be simply a treat.
Speaking of RGB, this case is fully compatible motherboard RGB control. Any motherboard from popular brands like ASUS, MSI, or Gigabyte with RGB 12V RGB headers can go with the overall lighting just fine. Don’t forget about the customizable fan control though.
You might be concerned about the cooling features of such a compact case, but you really don’t need to worry. The 175R from Corsair comes with massive cooling potential. You can literally fit in 6 120mm fans. Plus, if you want to go for the larger 140mm variants, you can go for four.
And yes, 360mm radiators are very much a possibility. You can choose to mount a dual rad on the top. But if you want to go for the larger ones, you’ll have enough room behind the front panel.
You can actually get a really clean build with this case if you put some work to it. The PSU shroud is very well placed and covers the entire PSU and other cables that can be an eyesore. Corsair went far and beyond with the ease of maintenance department as well.
The 175R has three dedicated dust filters to prevent unwanted dust and debris to enter your precious system. These are well-positioned in the bottom, top, and front of the case.
The only thing that’s left to talk about now is the I/O panel. Here you’ll get two USB 3.1 Type-A ports which are pretty neat to have. A single 3.5 mm combined microphone jack. And, of course, the power and reset button. There you have it. A complete and compact case all in all.
- The case comes at a great price point.
- Optimal for builders and gamers alike.
- Solid build quality.
- The illuminated logo looks nice.
- The cable management is super convenient.
- Only one SSD tray on the back.
- The included RGB fan is not very impressive.
To say the least, the TT Core G3 is unique in every sense. The guys at Thermaltake have simply outdone themselves by introducing this super slim small-sized case that can fit in just about anywhere.
This case looks almost too good to be true. So, without further delay, let’s talk about the design strategy that has been implemented here. The dual placement layout structure is perfect for both horizontal and vertical layouts.
This is one off the reasons I just had to put this case on the list. It’s probably one of the most interesting smallest ATX cases that you’ll come across.
The case includes a custom GPU mount. This places the GPU in the forefront and delivers an awesome unprecedented look. The floating GPU design is a sight to behold. However, that’s not the end of it.
The case comes with two pre-installed 120mm fans straight out of the box. They’re well placed to optimize the overall ventilation of the case. And as for the CPU cooler height is concerned, the case can take in 310-millimetre coolers that include front fans.
Keep in mind that the max PSU length for this case is 130mm only. You really can’t go for the oversized ones. But as long as you go for power supplies like the Thermaltake Toughpower SFX 600W 80+ Gold, you should be okay.
Apart from that, the case is just awesome for fully modular systems. Even if you want storage expansion options, you’ll get two 3.5 inch or 2.5-inch drive bays that include HDD cages.
Last of all, the I/O is nothing fancy. But it gets the basic job done. Here you’ll find 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 Ports and a single HD audio port. That pretty much wraps it up.
- Full support for ATX motherboards.
- Ample dust filtration mechanism.
- The window is of a decent size.
- Comes at an affordable price.
- Rubber feet make horizontal positioning possible.
- The cable management could have been improved.
- The graphics card will need support to hold position.
Well, it seems we’ve reached the end of our small ATX case list. And I’m willing to finish it off with yet another one from Cooler Master. This ATX box case looks quite different from most other PC cases that you’ll come by.
Note this is a HAF or high airflow case, and it takes air cooling to a whole new level with its new form factor and superior cooling performance. The strategic and precise placement of fans ensures optimum cooling for all the components that you install inside your case.
Lack of performance due to unnecessary overheating? Not a chance!
The most noticeable feature of this case is the flexibility that it offers. Don’t be deceived by the size, this case can actually support a 240mm radiator in the front. It’s very interesting that they made the motherboard tray removable for easy installation. A very bold move by Cooler Master indeed.
Even the thickest liquid cooling radiators won’t be an issue.
The case comes with pre-installed 120mm XtrFlo fans that can run on 1200 RPM. Neat eh? That aside, you can mount an extra 200mm fan on the top and a 120mm on the rear. The case itself can house a cooler of the maximum height of 120mm and length of 334mm.
If you want to know about the storage option. Well, it’s pretty basic. You’ll be able to mount 4 HDDs or 4 SSDs in total. Of course, the case includes removable HDD cages.
Apart from this, all the rest is very basic, and we’ve covered the fundamental features of small ATX cases. Still, the I/O panel has to offer two USB 3.0 ports and a single audio input/output jack. There are also some handy X-Dock slots.
You really can’t complain about a case with the dimensions of only 16.7 x 17.4 x 13 inches and has all these features. Plus, this case is great if you’re a fan of LAN parties.
- The interior is well shuffled.
- The PSU dust filter is a nice touch.
- The motherboard tray is fully removable.
- Ample routing possibilities for the cables.
- Can fit 240mm radiators.
- Can seem to be sort of bulky.
- The aesthetics are not for everyone.
The Smallest Farewell
Getting the best small ATX case can be a challenge. If you’ve gone through all the cases I’ve talked about, you must have understood that there’s no particular feature you should keep in mind while trying to shop for one.
Since your primary concern here is size, the rest of the features obviously depend on personal preferences. Some offer great cooling, while others offer great aesthetics.
With that said, my final piece of advice would be not to hold back on expansion options and ample space. You’re trying to minimize space consumption. NOT specs. So, farewell for now. Until next time!