With the tech industry currently booming, it’s no surprise to see today’s market playing host to a sea of high-performance PC cases that come to shelves offering a variety of different shapes, sizes, and price points. That makes choosing the right one for your specific needs a time-consuming and strenuous task – even more so if you plan on building it around the M-ATX form factor. Luckily, there is still a pretty large demand for Micro-ATX cases and we see new arrivals hitting shelves on an almost monthly basis.
Micro-ATX builds are pretty popular in the gaming community due to their cool aesthetics and affordable price points. These days, a lot of people are leaning towards Micro-ATX cases as they offer a much smaller footprint over mid-tower/full-tower cases, while still offering enough room to house large GPUs and elaborate cooling setups too. They really are the best of both worlds when it comes to gaming setups.
In today’s article, we’ll be going through some of the best micro-ATX cases the market has to offer. We’ll be putting them through their paces to see how they stack up in build quality, aesthetics, thermals, noise levels, and overall build assembly.
After careful consideration – and sifting through a ton of different options from numerous manufacturers – we came to the conclusion that the Phanteks Evolv is the best micro-ATX case overall. But we’ll talk more about that shortly.
The following recommendations are of solid construction, have spacious interiors, and promote excellent airflow. If you’re interested in seeing what sets them apart from other cases, then read on.
Let’s get into it.
Our Top Picks
Not only does the Phankeks EVOLV mATX case look superb, but it also offers quality airflow and decent build assembly as well. It displays that recognizable Phanteks design, sporting a tempered glass window and an interesting I/O panel that is sure to turn heads.
This sleek case from Phanteks makes light work of making a micro-ATX case look, and feel, high-end. This case boasts multiple component mounts and plenty of features to boot.
This case also supports radiators up to 360mm for gamers who want to squeeze maximum performance from their computer. This tempered glass case may be small but it packs a big punch and would look fantastic on your desktop.
The Corsair Crystal 280x is a fairly big micro-ATX case and comes with RGB fans as standard. With excellent airflow, this case is a perfect fit for anyone looking to build a high-end system into a small space.
The Corsair Crystal 280X’s design is in the form of a cube so it is naturally a bit of a chunky case, but that shouldn’t put you off. The case is a great space saver thanks to its dual compartments – featuring clever SSD mounts, and three tempered glass panels.
You can set up a custom loop or an air cooling configuration quite easily, whichever you prefer. It has room to accommodate up to 2 x 120mm fans in the front, top, and bottom.
This case has fantastic cable management solutions and will make building a clean PC pretty easy to accomplish. It has all of the features you’d want in a case compacted into a micro-ATX design.
This mini version of the Fractal Meshify C is a fantastic little case that features all the positives of its bigger brother but compacted into this glorious micro-ATX case. You benefit from Fractal Design’s airflow and superb cable management options.
Sometimes when people see the word ‘value’, they immediately start to think compromises have been made in build quality and features to allow for that price tag. Luckily, that is not the case with the Meshify C mATX from Fractal Design.
The Fractal Meshify C ‘mini’ is the smaller brother to the mid-tower version and it’s an unbelievable case for the price. You aren’t paying for any fancy bells and whistles with Fractal, but what you do get is a premium quality build, great airflow, and easy to manage cables.
This case is priced competitively and features an aesthetically pleasing tinted tempered glass window to view inside.
The NZXT H210 is considered a premium case thanks to the price tag it comes equipped with. Having said that, it certainly lives up to the price with excellent features and good internal functionality. The design is brilliant, with a tempered glass panel and great cable management options!
The NZXT 210 displays a fantastic design constructed of an all-steel chassis finished with a red and black color theme that looks superb.
This all-steel constructed case is a brilliant blend of black and red and really looks the part. As you would expect from our top mini-ITX pick, you get a tempered glass side panel, a PSU shroud, brilliant airflow, and high build quality.
Cable management is really easy in this case and as its part of the ‘i’ series, it comes with a fan controller too. The performance of this case will not let you down and is highly recommended!
This case might be the cheapest in this guide, but don’t let that fool you, it comes with a bunch of features and benefits that far outweigh its price tag. Having said that, it doesn’t come equipped with the best airflow available – but that’s to be expected at this price point.
The Thermaltake Versa H17 is the ultimate budget case that will satisfy a lot of different gamers’ needs. This versatile case supports an AIO cooler of up to 280mm in the front, along with some other cool internal design features as well.
It doesn’t have any flashy features or bright blinking lights, but that doesn’t mean the case isn’t visually pleasing. This case offers the budget builder something pretty stylish and functional for a very low price.
Whether we’re reviewing new monitors or the best GPU on the market, choosing the right hardware can always be a tricky task.
It requires hours of product research, performance benchmarking, and reviewing user feedback to get anywhere close to a definitive conclusion on what to recommend.
If you aren’t tech-savvy and struggle to put the time aside to go through the above requirements, you may end up purchasing a micro-ATX PC case that simply isn’t right for you.
Fear not though, friends! Here at WePC, we like to take the stress of research away, and transform the whole process into an easy-to-follow, complete buyers guide. That’s right, our team of PC enthusiasts has done all the hard work for you!
Testing the products we recommend is a huge part of the overall selection process in our best of guides. It’s a way to make sure what we recommend is, without a doubt, the best option in its specific category.
To be sure a product is “the best” it must show excellent performance in our tests, and display better qualities and features than the competition it faces.
Most of the products we recommend here at WePC have gone through a strict testing process that involves everything from the price and performance, to build quality, efficiency, and aesthetics. Each product is pushed to the limit to see how it performs under intense stress to make sure it warrants our coveted top spot.
Doing this enables us to provide you with the most accurate review of how the product performs and, ultimately, whether it’s worth your consideration.
The following factors are important and should be taken into consideration before buying your next micro ATX case. That’s why we’ll go over these things in some more detail.
There are a few things to consider before just clicking “buy” on a case you love. Firstly, be aware of the size of your components (form factor). Motherboards, GPUs, and PSUs form factor can vary in size, so it’s important to check the case can support your parts. Also, before jumping into a case purchase, it’s always worth considering what fan configuration you’re going to use and how many hard drives you plan on installing.
Motherboard Form Factor
You are going to need to know your motherboard’s form factor before you begin. The most common motherboard sizes are ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX, with ATX being the bigger of the three – and Mini-ATX being the smallest.
Smaller boards will have less room for your components and will generally have fewer features too. This isn’t bad if you don’t need a lot of space. However, if you’re making a high-end gaming build (or upgrading a mid-range build), then you might want to stick with the classic ATX board and therefore visit some different case options.
Case Form Factors
You will normally find the motherboard compatibility labeled in the name of the case or very easily in the specs. This outlines the maximum sized motherboard you can fit into the case.
There are three prominent types of computer cases (although there are more) and each is compatible with different types of motherboards:
- Full-tower cases are the largest cases and can work with ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX. Their large size is designed for extra components rather than exceptionally larger motherboards.
- Mid-tower cases are the most popular and can also work with motherboards that are as large as ATX.
- Mini-tower cases sacrifice the larger ATX boards, but can still use Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX boards.
It is worth noting that your micro-ATX build will look great in any sized case from the smaller ‘node’ style boxes to a mid-tower case. Most of the time, cases will cater for motherboards with smaller sizes, having said that, some cases don’t take that into consideration – leading to issues with routing I/O connectors from the front panel.
When purchasing a case with a smaller form factor, there are certain things you will need to consider before choosing the components you decide to fill it with.
Below are some of the most important considerations when it comes to a micro-ATX case
One of the first things you must consider before purchasing a small PC case is your components. The chances are, if you are looking for the best micro-ATX case then you are set on building a smaller sized PC. Great! However, if you’re thinking of downsizing your ATX build (by switching motherboards) you might be at risk of component incompatibility.
Many small form factor cases don’t have the capacity to house a large GPU. Although, some will. The same can be said for the PSU, CPU Cooler, and AIO Cooler. You must ensure that the case you’re looking at can support the hardware you plan on installing in it. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a somewhat expensive paperweight.
Whether you’re looking at a full tower PC case or an mATX case, cable management is highly important when it comes to build assembly and aesthetics. Unfortunately, though, it often gets forgotten about when you get into building a micro-ATX system.
This neglect comes from smaller systems tending to be of lower quality, offering fewer options when it comes to this department- but that isn’t always the case. Cable management in micro-ATX cases is more important than ever due to the decreased airflow they provide. More often than not, they offer less fan mounting solutions to properly cool the inside over ATX cases. So keep those cables routed properly around the system to maximize cooling performance.
Best Micro ATX Case
Hinged Tempered Glass Side Panel
No optical drive bay
No PCI-E pass-through on PSU shroud
This tempered glass case from Phanteks is visually near perfect. The Enthoo Evolv mATX gives gamers a compact case that doesn’t compromise on style whatsoever.
This case gets our number one spot thanks to an abundance of features and benefits that simply aren’t found on other cases in this list. Having said that, it does have a price tag to match. Like the Mid-tower version of this case, Phanteks have kept most of the best features from that case whilst removing the 5.25″ drive tray which can provide extra room for a water cooling setup.
The case actually comes with a pump mounting bracket in the box, which suggests that Phanteks are almost tailoring this case to water-cooling setups. It doesn’t stop there either; the Evolv also offers great RGB compatibility, a sleek tempered glass panel, dust filters, a unique looking front panel, and 2 x 140mm fans pre-installed.
The case is incredibly roomy inside and it makes building relatively simple for a case this size. It’s fairly chunky and does have some weight to it but that just adds to the feeling of the overall high quality.
This sexy case will elevate the performance and look of any build, a solid choice!
3 sides of tempered glass
Sleek and compact case
Not the coldest of cases
Pricey for the size
The Corsair Crystal 280X offers a unique cube-like option that doesn’t compromise on looks or performance.
This case isn’t too different from the Corsair Air 240. You can clearly see they share a similar layout underneath the shell, but that is where the similarities end, thankfully. This RGB version has three glass panels for you to enjoy, a lighting controller, and two RGB fans chucked in for some colorful airflow. While you will be paying more for the RGB version, you do get the expensive Corsair fans with it which makes it the sensible choice from the available options. The case also supports full ATX power supplies and you can also mount an additional 120mm fan on the back side panel, creating additional airflow if required.
The thing that sets this case apart from the rest on this list is the fact that it has a dual-chamber. The dual-chamber works wonders for internal temperatures as your components aren’t all together in one chamber and there are fewer cables sitting in the bottom. This case could be better suited for the builders wanting to squeeze the most out of a micro-ATX system as adequate cooling can be mounted to this case.
Fantastic for cable management
Fractal cases feature in a few of our build recommendations here at WePC thanks to the quality and value they bring to the table.
The “Mini” is a smaller case in the Fractal Meshify series which has been designed for high airflow, great ventilation, and to be builder-friendly with brilliant cable management options. Storage is savvy in a case as small as this and it owes it to Fractal’s great design. The spacious interior only enhances the airflow of the system as it remains relatively unobstructed meaning it can penetrate the components easier and keep your temps down.
The ability to mount 3 x 2.5″ SSD and 2 x 3.5″ hard drives is nifty from a case of this size. The included fans work flawlessly and you generally won’t have to replace them unless you want extra silence from the build (not that they are loud).
This simple looking case is overflowing with quality and for such a low price it can’t be ignored.
Basic, yet appealing case design
Very good value for money
AIO cooling compatible
Easy to cable manage
Airflow a little limited
Only one included fan
We’ve recently had the pleasure of reviewing a couple of Thermaltake’s case offerings (Thermaltake Core V1 and Thermaltake View 71) with some impressive results. So, when choosing our budget pick for the m-ATX category, the Thermaltake Versa H17 was an instant contender. This case keeps the Versa styling (boxy) that we’ve seen on other Versa models before, however, it does offer a sleek, brushed aluminum style front panel that is aesthetically pleasing. That being said, there are an additional two versions of the H17 that offer a tempered glass side panel and an acrylic side panel.
As far as features are concerned, the H17 comes with one pre-installed exhaust fan (120mm) which makes use of a 3-pin cable over a Molex. Users then have the option to install additional fans in the front and roof if they need additional airflow. It even supports a 280mm radiator on the front.
From a build point of view, the assembly process using this case was extremely easy. The cable cut-outs were well-positioned (although not grommeted) and the PSU shroud helped aid in cable management as well. The rear of the case is another side of solid metal, so cable management at the back won’t be an issue.
The H17 has support for 2 x 2.5″ drives alongside 2 x 3.5 drives which can be mounted to the motherboard tray. The clearance inside supports a PSU of up to 220mm, a GPU of 350mm, and a CPU cooler of 155mm in height. So all-in-all, a decent amount of room.
And while the airflow isn’t the greatest I’ve ever seen, it’s still efficient enough at keeping your components cool. Overall, another excellent case from Thermaltake that offers great value for money.
NZXT’s stylish design
Good airflow for a mini tower
Some consider this a bit noisy
The H210i from NZXT features the same tempered glass and steel design of their larger versions of this case (H510) and is available in the same variety of colors – black and white, black and blue, and also the one we feature here, red and black. The H210 is a mini-tower(small) and only supports boards that are mini-ITX. Despite the H210’s hefty price tag, there aren’t many downsides to this case as it is one of the best performing Mini-ITX cases we have had the privilege of using.
Usually, cases of this size don’t really offer much in terms of specs and benefits – other than they’re size. However, the H210 offers up some interesting features that might surprise you. For example, this case is fully equipped to support water-cooling configurations.
Having said that, if water-cooling isn’t your thing, don’t worry, this case comes with a bunch of airflow options that will allow you to keep internal temps nice and low. You have the option to fit an additional 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans in the front, and 1 x 120mm in the roof – this case comes with a pre-installed rear fan. Furthermore, you can equip a radiator to the front and rear if you want to bolster cooling.
Overall, the H210’s strong performance and value are good enough reasons to purchase this alone. That being said, you also get stunning aesthetics, excellent cable management, and easy build assembly thrown in as well. A fantastic little ITX case.
Do ATX Cases Support Micro ATX?
We’ve got some good news for all you budding minimalists out there. Yes, a Micro ATX board will be supported in a full-size ATX case.
Backward compatibility was a huge focus point in the development phase of Micro ATX boards. They’re made with a subset of the exact same mounting points found on a typical ATX motherboard, and the I/O interface is identical to the ATX format, ensuring no ports are blocked or hard to reach when situated in a full ATX case.
In addition, the majority of Micro ATX motherboards are fitted with the same power connectors as their larger siblings, meaning you can use your full-sized power supplies for your minuscule mobo.
So, save yourself some money, buy your Micro ATX board first, then when you can, treat yourself to a case that matches the Micro ATX form factor.
What Is the Smallest Micro ATX Case?
All Micro ATX cases are small, but there are some that are pushing the boundaries of what’s considered discrete. Three in particular come to mind.
The NZXT H210 on our list measures only 349mm (H) x 210mm (W) x 372mm (D). Among tiny cases, this is an even tinier case and the perfect choice for those who like to keep their Micro ATX build as infinitesimal as possible.
Measuring just 94mm (H) x 319 (W) x 439mm (D), the Antec Minuet 350 is so diminutive, it borders on cute. This oblong design might be the case you’ve been dreaming of to complete that minimalist PC aesthetic.
The last miniature masterpiece is the InWin 301. Measuring just 370.84mm (H) x 187.96mm (W) x 363.22mm (D), it still somehow has a 330mm GPU clearance space.
Are All Micro ATX Motherboards the Same Size?
Unlike PC cases that have no universal standards whatsoever, motherboard form factors are more definite, but that’s not to say companies don’t find a little of wiggle room to experiment.
The consensus is that no motherboard beyond the 9.6” x 9.6” should be considered a Micro ATX motherboard, but how a manufacturer distributes this 19.2” capacity may differ.
Some will be thinner and longer, resembling a shrunken down version of a standard ATX board. Other Micro ATX boards may not even use up all the allotted inches, amounting to an even micro-er design. Even though they’re slightly smaller, they’re still fundamentally a Micro ATX motherboard, if only because they’re not enough like any other board type.
Can ITX Fit in ATX Case?
Measuring only 6.7” x 6.7”, there’s no doubt you can fit a Mini ITX motherboard in an ATX case. Hell, you could fit tons of them in there. The question is, do ATX cases support Mini ITX motherboards?
The answer is yet again, yes! Just as the Micro ATX was developed to be backward compatible with existing form factors, so was the Mini ITX. Featuring the same four mounting holes and backplate as a standard ATX motherboard, you can hook one up in your full-size ATX case without making any modifications whatsoever.
Although Mini ITX boards only have a single expansion slot, it lines up exactly with the standard ATX board layout, ensuring functional compatibility with larger cases.
As Micro ATX and MINI ITX share the same mounting hardware, you can even load a Micro ATX case with a Mini ITX motherboard. In fact, some cases are specifically marketed as being able to accommodate either of the small form factors.
Can ATX PSU Fit in MATX Case?
Generally speaking, a MATX case will have enough room to accommodate an ATX PSU. The form factor is only restrictive when it comes to motherboard size (and in some cases GPU size).
It might be a little tight in the smaller Micro ATX cases, so it makes sense to take some accurate measurements of both the case and the PSU before dedicating to a purchase.
The reason that most Micro ATX cases have room to spare for ATX PSUs is that there really isn’t any such thing as a Micro ATX PSU. Dedicated power supplies were never developed. Your only options are an ATX PSU or an SFX PSU, but the latter is used exclusively for Mini ITX builds.
What Is ITX vs ATX?
The first difference you’ll notice between Mini ITX and ATX/MATX motherboards is the form factor. Mini ITX dimensions are as follows: 6.7” x 6.7”. Most Micro ATX boards measure 9.6” x 9.6”, and standard ATX motherboards measure 11.9” x 9.6”. Though companies play it pretty fast and loose with Micro ATX dimensions and shaping, Mini ITX boards are only ever one size and shape.
As they’re so small, Mini ITX motherboards don’t have anywhere near the number of facilities ATX boards do. For example, standard ATX boards can have as many as seven expansion slots, with Micro ATX boards holding up to four. Mini ITX boards only ever have a single expansion slot, and max out at two sticks of RAM with a 32GB cap.
Mini ITX motherboards are preferred by many for their power efficiency, portability, and low running volume. They can be used for PC gaming, but large, high-end graphics cards can rarely fit in a Mini ITX case, so if you’re looking to build a gaming powerhouse, you’re best off sticking with ATX.
How Do I Know if My Case Is ATX or Micro ATX?
Being that there are no universal case measurements, it can be confusing trying to distinguish what your case is actually designed for; however, there is one sure-fire way to figure this out.
If your board fits a full-sized ATX board in it, then it’s an ATX case. If it only fits in a Micro ATX motherboard, then it’s a Micro ATX case. It’s as simple as that.
If for some reason you’re still unsure what’s what, look the product up online and see what the manufacturer has to say about it.
So, there you have it, our comprehensive breakdown of the best micro-ATX cases currently available this 2021.
The importance of a PC case cannot be overstated. Your case protects the rest of your components and provides them with airflow to ensure they’re running at a stable temperature. The additional bonuses that come with a micro-ATX case, however, mean you can add convenience and some real space-saving solutions into the mix as well!
Below are the final contenders in short.
Our top pick for the best micro-ATX cases is the Phanteks Enthoo Evolve mATX as it offers fantastic airflow, superb build quality, and a stunning aesthetic as well.
The Corsair Crystal 280X offers an easy and unique build experience in today’s market. Thanks to the spacious interior and radiator support it offers, you’ll have enough room to build a powerful gaming PC in this case, whilst having the cooling support to keep it running efficiently.
The Fractal Meshify C Mini is unrivaled in terms of value! This beast offers all the benefits you’d expect from a top-end Fractal case – build quality, aesthetics, cooling, and a bang-for-your-buck price tag.
If you’re on a budget but still want a fabulous micro-ATX case to show off your new compact build then the Thermaltake Versa H17 is one of the best budget cases available.
And finally, if you’re looking for something a little smaller than micro-ATX, but still want all the features and benefits of a larger case, we higher recommend the NZXT H210.
Let us know what your thought of the case selections we chose by leaving us a comment in the section below. Better still, you can now head over to our Community Hub where you can discuss everything case related with like-minded individuals.