If we told you 10 or 15 years ago that building a compact computer that doesn’t take up a lot of desktop space was possible, you probably wouldn’t have believed us. You probably would have looked at us funny and told us we were off our medications.
But believe it or not, this is now possible thanks to the advent of compact cases that’s capable of housing gaming hardware. For a lot of PC builders, a tower case exudes power. These are the type of people who want to let other people know that there’s serious gaming and computing power hidden behind this tall metal case with liquid cooling running inside.
But on the other hand, you also have other builders out there who prefer to keep it on the downlow. We’re talking about using the smallest ATX case possible with an ATX motherboard and equipped with the latest gaming hardware.
It makes sense to actually go for mini or small ATX cases because PC parts are becoming smaller. Yes, small ATX cases might be restrictive in terms of hardware, but they are able to house hardware that could give you 4K or VR gaming.
If you are planning to build a compact computer using ATX cases but you don’t want to sacrifice your full-sized motherboard form factor, then this list should help you. We’ll go over the best and smallest ATX cases in the market right now.
Best Overall Compact Case
Corsair is one of the best manufacturers for cases out there, and their Carbide Air 540 is one of the best ATX cases in the market right now.
Right off the bat, you’re getting a cubed design case with dual-chamber. The case houses the drives and PSU at the back chamber while the CPU, GPU, and motherboard are housed on the main chamber.
This design allows you to have streamlined airflow that’s hitting the main chamber components and the back chamber components. As a result of this design, PC owners can also overclock their CPU and GPU without worry.
- Supports E-ATX, mATX, ATX, and Mini ITX motherboards
- Can accommodate 6 x 120mm or 5 x 140mm fans
- With 4 x 2.5″, 2 x 3.5″m, and 2 x 5.25″ drive bays
- Pre installed with 140-mm Corsair Air Series intake and exhaust fans
- Maximum GPU length of 320mm and CPU cooler height of 170mm.
- Standard ATX PSU length of 250mm
- Includes frost dust filter
- 8 PCIe Expansion Slots
Best ATX Cases With The Highest Airflow
A successor to the previous year’s Q300L, the Cooler Master Q500L is one of the best micro ATX cases out there. Albeit slightly bigger than the Q300L, the Q500L is a massive upgrade given that it can accommodate the ATX motherboard form factor. How awesome is that?
On top of that, you have front and top panels designed for maximum airflow, along with a side panel window and fan mounts.
Needless to say, we’re recommending the Cooler Master Q500L is on top of our shopping lists.
- Supports Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboards
- Maximum GPU length of 334 mm and CPU cooler height up to 180mm
- Max PSU length of up to 180mm
- Accommodates up to 4 200mm fans at the top, 120mm rear fan, and up to 2 x 120mm fans in the front panel
- 7 PCIe slots
- Pre installed with two XtraFlo fans in the front panel
- Supports up to 240mm radiator
The Latest ATX Case from Lian Li
One of the most recognized names in the PC builder universe is Lian Li, and on this list, we have the Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini. This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful mini ATX cases we’ve ever gazed our eyes on.
The Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini, or Lian Li in general, does not shy away from making sure that the case looks absolutely stunning. They don’t cut corners when it comes to design, size, and functionality. As a result, you’re getting a case with high airflow and thermal regulation capacities and room for cable management.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside. The Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini does not support ATX PSU, which makes sense given the SFF of the chassis. However, it does support SFX and SFX-L PSUs.
- Supports ATX, mATX, Mini ITX, and E-ATX (280mm or smaller)
- Max GPU length of 395mm
- Max CPU cooler height of 172mm
- SFX or SFX-L PSU
- Equipped with 4 dust filters: 1 at the top, bottom, and 2 on each side
- Up to 7 PCIe horizontal expansions
- Can accommodate 3 x 120mm fans or 2 x 140mm case fans at the top panel, 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm case fans at the side panels, 1 x 120mm fan in the rear panel, and either 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm case fans at the bottom panel
A Must-Have For Lan Parties
This is another one of those ATX cases with great thermal regulation and optimal airflow design. And as its name implies, the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO is a master at cooling (pardon the pun).
The Cooler Master HAF XB EVO comes with plenty of support for fans, a slot for a 240mm radiator in front and 120mm radiator in the rear, and preinstalled 120mm XtraFlo fans. The side panels are easily removed if you want more ventilation.
The Cooler Master HAF XB EVO has four dust panels that can help prevent dust accumulation, so maintenance is relatively easy on this baby.
But what we really like about the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO that a lot of the cases on here don’t have is its removable motherboard tray. The hard drive trays are easily removed too, giving the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO a lot of room and flexibility.
All in all, the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO is a compact ATX case that’s flexible and sturdy at the same time.
- Supports mATX, Mini-ITX, and ATX motherboards
- Preinstalled with 2 x 120mm XtraFlo fans in the front panel
- Equipped with 4 x 2.5″ or 3.5″, and 2 x 5.25″ bays
- Maximum GPU length of 334mm
- Maximum CPU cooler height of 180mm
- Standard ATX PSU length (180mm)
- 7 PCI expansion slots
- Can accommodate 1 x 200mm case fan on the top panel, 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm case fans on the front panel, and 1 x 120mm or 2 x 80mm case fans on the rear panel
A Compact ATX Case For Easy Builds
The NZXT H510 is the successor to the previous model’s NZXT H500 case, and like its predecessor, the NZXT H510’s build is incredible with lots of room for cable management.
The matte white color palette is a minimalist’s dream. Other color variations include matte black and matte black with red stripe. If you want some RGB lighting, you can get the NZXT H510-i model.
- Supports Mini ITX, Micro ATX, and ATX motherboards
- Max GPU length up to 381 mm
- Max CPU cooler height up to 165mm
- Preinstalled with 2 x 120mm fans for exhaust and intake
- Slots for 2 x 120/140mm fans on the front panel, 1 x 120mm/140mm fan on the top panel, and 1 x 120mm fan on the rear panel
- Tempered glass side panel
- Standard ATX PSU support
- RGB Lighting available with the -i model
A Compact ATX Case That Looks Like A Tower
This is possibly the biggest of the smallest ATX case we have on this list. The RaijinTek Thetis Window is a brand that’s unfamiliar to some of you, but in the PC building enthusiast universe, it’s one of the best brands of the ATX cases. The RaijinTek Thetis Window stands out from this list for its compact frame and size, but at a price.
The RaijinTek Thetis Window can only support inverted motherboard layout, which means your motherboard is upside down and the GPU is placed at the top panel. Nothing inherently wrong with the way the motherboard is placed, but to the newbie builder who lands the RaijinTek Thetis Window, it might come off as a shock to them.
Unlike most of the cases here, the RaijinTek Thetis Window comes preinstalled with just one case fan, so you’re going to have to buy another one to improve the case’s airflow. That’s not going to be an issue given that the RaijinTek Thetis Window has about 4 slots for case fans.
The RaijinTek Thetis Window comes in the black and silver color palette, as well as a non-windowed version (called the Thetis Classic).
- upports Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboard
- Max GPU length of 320mm
- Max CPU cooler height of 170mm
- Supports 240mm radiator (top panel)
- 7 PCI expansion slot
- 2 x 3.5″ drive bay and 2 x 2.5″ drive bay
- Four fan mounts: 2 x 120mm on the top panel, 1 x 120mm on the rear panel, and 1 x 120mm on the bottom panel
Slim And Compact ATX Case
The Thermaltake Core G3 is a compact and slim ATX case, measuring about 5.5-inch in width. A mainstream case as slim as the Thermaltake Core G3 is difficult to find.
But with the slim aesthetics, sacrifices were made. The Thermaltake Core G3 can only accommodate a compact SFX PSU rather than a standard ATX PSU. This isn’t a big problem, considering that SFX PSUs are relatively easy to find and within a reasonable price range.
Another compromise is the GPU mount on the Thermaltake Core G3. GPUs are mounted vertically right against the side panel, which could cause higher GPU temperatures. There’s not enough room for cable management in the Thermaltake Core G3, which could further hinder cooling and airflow.
Some PC builders using the Thermaltake Core G3 have reported reaching up to 86 degrees Celsius on the GPU, which is not 100% ideal.
If these aren’t a problem for you, the Thermaltake Core G3 is still an impressive compact PC case. Considered as a mini ITX case, you can mount the system vertically or horizontally.
- Support for Micro ATX, Mini ITX, and ATX motherboards
- SFX PSU support
- Maximum GPU length of 170mm
- Maximum CPU Cooler height of up to 109mm
- Two PCI expansion slots
- Front radiator support up to 240mm
- 2 x 3.5″ or 2.5″ drive bays
Premium Mini ATX Case
Visually pleasing to look at, the Corsair iCUE 220T proves that size does not matter when it comes to aesthetics. The Corsair iCUE 220T has angular perforations on the front panel, but these aren’t for show. These are designed to help with airflow, along with the preinstalled Corsair SP120 intake fans.
You also have access to the Corsair Lighting Node Core for the RGB lighting control on the fans. To our dismay, this is a Node Core, so you can’t add any RGB Led strips. If you want to add RGB strips, you’ll need to buy a Node Pro and install it on the case. This isn’t a dealbreaker and does not affect the performance of your hardware once installed on the Corsair iCUE 220T.
Builders recommend swapping out the preinstalled fans on the Corsair iCUE 220T with better RGB fans on the market if you really want to maximize the case’s airflow potential.
- Supports ATX, Micro ATX, and Mini ITX motherboards
- ATX PSU support
- Maximum GPU length of 299mm
- Maximum CPU cooler height of 160mm
- 7 PCI expansion slots
- Room for up to six additional case fans
- 1 x 120mm fan on the rear panel
- 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans on the top panel
- 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans on the front panel
- Radiator support for up to:
- 240mm on the top panel
- 120mm on the rear panel
- 280mm or 360mm on the front panel
- 2 x 3.5″ and 2 x 2.5″ drive bays
Helpful Buying Case For Buying The Smallest ATX Case
Buying compact cases may not be as easy as buying a standard sized case or tower. There are a few things to keep in mind when you want to purchase the smallest ATX case on this list:
- Quality Matters – Don’t get carried away with the aesthetics. You want to go for aluminum or all-steel chassis if you want durability.
- Expansion Slots – You also need to consider how much room you want for expansion in the future. You want compact ATX cases that have more drive bays or PCIe slots.
- Air Flow and Ventilation – If you want to make the smallest ATX case work with overclocking hardware, then you want to secure one with the most ventilation and airflow. A lot of compact ATX cases don’t have good spots for fans or radiator installations, so you need to make sure that your case can handle the extra heat without relying too much on fans.
- Your Components – Remember to measure the GPU, CPU, and PSU length of the case that you want to buy and make sure that your current hardware (or hardware on your to-buy list) will fit the compact PC case.