Most people will start by buying the GPU they love because it will highlight the PC. Then they buy the CPU, and whether you opt for Intel or AMD Ryzen to support the GPU doesn’t really matter, right? Well, not really! But that’s another matter and a whole different review.
Next, you start looking at the RAM and other components. After all the desirable components have been selected, there seems to be something missing.
It’s the case! Admit it, we all have been in this situation before, especially when we’re too excited over your newly bought graphics card.
There are many kinds of PC cases available in the market. For the ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) form factor of the motherboard, the primary choice will be the mid-tower. However, there aren’t any defined standards for PC cases as different manufacturers have different ideas of standards.
So, let’s take a look at eight of the Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds that will take your latest PC build to new dimensions…
- 1 Top 8 Smallest ATX Cases For Compact PC Builds In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Thermaltake Core G3 Gaming Slim ATX Chassis – Best Slim ATX Case for Compact PC Builds
- 1.2 2 Thermaltake Core V21 – Smallest Micro ATX Case for Compact PC Builds
- 1.3 3 NZXT H510 – Smallest Budget ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
- 1.4 4 Fractal Design Meshify C – Best Value Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
- 1.5 5 Corsair iCUE 220T RGB – Smallest Corsair ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
- 1.6 6 SilverStone Technology SST-GD08B-USA – Smallest Premium ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
- 1.7 7 Rosewill Cullinan PX Red – Best Rated Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
- 1.8 8 Raijintek Thetis Window PC Case – Smallest Mid Range ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
- 2 Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds Buying Guide
- 3 Looking For More Superb Computer Products?
- 4 Which Are The Smallest ATX Cases For Compact PC Builds?
Top 8 Smallest ATX Cases For Compact PC Builds In 2021 Review
1 Thermaltake Core G3 Gaming Slim ATX Chassis – Best Slim ATX Case for Compact PC Builds
The Thermaltake Core G3 Gaming Slim ATX Chassis is a mini-tower ATX case. The case has dimensions of 14.6 x 5.5 x 17.9 inches and includes two drive bays: 2.5 inches/3.5 inches with an HDD cage. Both features standard for the mini tower PC case, which is smaller than the mid-tower.
The Core G3’s black perforated metal front and top panel give the Core G3 an almost premium feel, which complements the minimalist appearance. The G3 supports two orientations, so you can choose to stand your PC vertically or horizontally. This chassis is also lightweight and weighs about 11 pounds.
For the visionary…
If you’re looking for a PC Case for 4K and VR? Then this compact ATX casing is the answer. Thermaltake designed the Core G3 Gaming Slim ATX Chassis for an immaculate 4K and VR experience in the comfort of your living room. The Core G3 offers high-end desktop performance capable of liquid cooling that will support a 4K and VR gaming system.
The slim form factor enables you to place it beside or under your 4K TV and home theater. Graphics card? It supports GPUs up to NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080/1070.
Upside down motherboard…
This case is pretty unique. The motherboard installs all components in an inverted manner. The see-through panel is on the right side, which is excellent if you want to place your PC to the left of your desk.
Oh! But keep in mind…
The Core G3 uses an SFX power supply, NOT an ATX power supply, due to the size of the case. Thermaltake recommends you equip the Core G3 with the relatively expensive 600W Gold-efficiency PSU, but the Corsair SF Series PSU works just as well.
You can forget about adding PCI or PCI-e devices in this case. The Core G3 can’t handle it because of its slim ATX chassis. However, Thermaltake includes a PCI extension ribbon and “risers” on the opposite end of the motherboard to assist the GPU’s weight to mount in a vertical position. Cable management is okay as the wires can be hidden behind the motherboard.
The cooling system…
When it comes to the cooling system, it includes two 120mm pre-installed front fans. You can install up to a 240mm DIY liquid cooling radiator or 240mm AIO liquid cooler for liquid cooling. You might want to mount the water coolers to the front because the space at the top is limited. All of the intake ventilation holes have removable dust filters.
Overall the Core G3 is a great case, but it has its downsides. Since it’s a reverse ATX case, the see-through panel is on the right (when looking at it from the front), and the motherboard mounts upside down. If you like to look inside the case after a build, it needs to be placed to your desk’s left, the opposite of most.
Secondly, there isn’t any real cable management, but it can be worked around. All-in-all, you won’t find a better slim case, especially one that offers the same form factor support while being this thin!
- Unique GPU mounting with reverse motherboard placement.
- Lightweight ATX case.
- Dual positioning: vertical or horizontal.
- Require SFX power supply instead of ATX power supply.
- No room for PCI slots.
- Limited space in the top of the chassis.
2 Thermaltake Core V21 – Smallest Micro ATX Case for Compact PC Builds
If for whatever reason, you don’t like the Thermaltake Core G3, you will probably like the Thermaltake Core V21. This case supports both Micro ATX and Mini ITX form factors. The Core V21 is made mostly of cold-rolled steel. The cubic PC case has become a trend nowadays, and if you’re skeptical about it, don’t be; it’s isn’t that bad.
This is because you can fit a mega-sized fan in it, it supports most customizations, and you can stack it like Lego bricks.
Choose between vertical or horizontal motherboard positions…
You can place your motherboard in either a vertical or horizontal position. The dual chambering concept of the Core V21 manages the space for a compact PC build. The upper chamber is for cooling performance, while the lower chamber is for PSU and drive bays. It has three 3.5 inch or 2.5 inch hard drive bays and five expansion slots.
But there’s a catch, to secure a good placement of your motherboard, you need good standoffs, which are those metal wings that extend so the motherboard can be placed there, but the Core V21 lacks proper standoffs. In this case (no pun intended), causing the motherboard to be slightly bent due to improper support. The solution is to buy an aftermarket standoff.
One strange thing about Thermaltake Core V21 is those three hard drive bays. They are slightly smaller than usual, which fits the decade-old HDDs instead of the latest standard 2 or 4TB HDD. The bays work if you have the smallest hard drive you can find. In this case (no pun intended again), opt for a SATA SSD. It can fit those crampy trays.
Remember we mentioned the mega fan?
By default upon purchasing, the Thermaltake Core V21 is equipped with a large 200 mm front-mounted fan. If you are a fan of big fans, you can even fit a 540 mm fan in front! The size of this Micro ATX case plus the fan makes your PC look like an engine. The Thermaltake Core V21 is TT LCS Certified, which means it can support the most extreme liquid cooling configuration.
The V21’s design is impressive. The ability to adjust the fans and radiators is fascinating, while you also have the option of stacking two Core V21’s on top of each other. The idea of using the upper chassis to house a liquid cooling system is both exciting and eye-catching, but realistically it’s irrelevant for regular users.
But what stands out is the low price. It reflects the build quality and mATX form factor but really means you get the high-end features as a freebie.
- Can support the most extreme liquid cooling configurations.
- Supports all kinds of fans.
- Not a standard hard drive bay.
- Poor standoffs to support your motherboard.
- The I/O buttons are wrongly placed.
3 NZXT H510 – Smallest Budget ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
Next to be reviewed is the NZXT H510. This is very basic, but the H510i comes with integrated RGB lighting, and the H510 Elite has a striking RGB fan. If those options aren’t enough, you can choose between three colors: black, black with red details and white.
What also caught our interest with the NZXT is if you go to their website, there is a configurator there that helps you pre-build your PC based on the games you play, which is really handy for beginners.
Compatible with ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX motherboards…
The NZXT H510 weighs 18 pounds, and the dimensions are 16.85 x 8.27 x 18.11 inches. This dimension falls in the category of the typical mid-tower PC case. The H510 isn’t just an ATX case but is also compatible with Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards. The tempered glass panel is easily removable with a single thumbscrew.
You can’t get confused with this because it has a patented cable routing kit with pre-installed channels and straps, which makes wiring easy and intuitive. The hard drive mounts could have been better designed. As it is, you have to remove the 5,25″ bay when you want to install the other components. There must have been a better solution, but it is what it is.
When it comes to cooling…
The NZXT H510s cooling system has three 120mm fans, two at the front and one at the back; however, the front fans have insufficient air intake space. If you use the top slot as an exhaust, it will create a negative airflow, and you will experience a dust problem. An intake must be mounted in the top fan slot with a filter that has to be bought separately to achieve positive pressure.
To avoid all this, you could opt for liquid cooling instead since the removable bracket can fit radiators up to 240mm. You can choose either a closed-loop or a custom-loop liquid cooling for the NZXT H510.
When all is said and done, the H510 is an excellent case with all the features you need in a premium compact mid-tower ATX case. Good thermal performance, RGB lighting, tempered glass, USB 3.1 Type-C, and a stylish design. However, be aware that the NZXTs H510i, which also includes all the above features, minus the tempered glass, is available for significantly less money.
Both cases are good, but we would like to see a lower price on the H510.
- Patented cable routing kit.
- Latest USB 3.1 Gen 2 and type C connector.
- Build quality.
- Front fans have insufficient space.
- The thumbscrews can sometimes be hard to loosen.
4 Fractal Design Meshify C – Best Value Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
The Fractal Design Meshify C is another choice for the smallest ATX cases. The first time we saw it, we knew it had something special about it. The stealth-inspired aesthetics plus a lot of functional design, which shall be explained later, really fits the saying “style meets substance.”
It’s a great case designed by the Scandinavian hardware company. It’s also nice that you can choose one of three options for the side panel: solid, tempered glass, or tinted tempered glass. Tinted tempered glass is the way to go if you ask us.
We couldn’t stop complimenting the case, and even though there’s so much to talk about, we have to narrow it down, so let’s start with the spaciousness of the ATX case. As mentioned, it’s a mid-tower case, but you get a larger case’s performance and capacity. This 11-pound compact ATX Case supports up to five SSD, three at the upper section’s sidewall and two more in the adjustable drive cage.
But not only is the drive cage adjustable, but it can also be removed to fit a more muscular PSU. The creative space management allows multiple fans to fit in the PC case. In fact, it supports up to seven fans.
But that’s not all…
The case comes with two pre-installed Fractal Design Dynamic X2 GP-12 fans, with room for an additional two 140 or 120 mm fans at the front. Or make it three 120 mm fans if you remove the hard drive cage.
A 120 mm fan fits at the back, and if you remove the hard drive cage, you can fit another 120 mm fan below. The Meshify C open interior also allows limitless airflow from the front intake to the rear exhaust. Still not cool enough? Add AIO water cooling.
No kitty, don’t come close!
The dust filters on the front, top, and bottom of the Fractal Design Meshify C are easy to clean, but if you have a cat, the top filter that slides easily will unintentionally allow your feline’s hair and Litter grains inside the case.
But at least, it is just the dust filters. Isn’t that what a filter does? Removes unwanted elements from the components. Anyway, all-in-all, this is still easily one of the best Small ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds.
The Meshify C has excellent qualities; the interior is modern with a sleek side window made of tempered tinted glass and a mesh front with 3D diamond optics. It looks elegant and stylish at the same time, which is a huge plus.
Even though it’s compact, it offers enough space for lavish gaming hardware and numerous air and water cooling possibilities. Therefore, it’s very difficult not to recommend this excellent case.
- Compact yet spacious.
- Excellent cooling, and fits up to seven fans.
- Can fit large GPUs like the EVGA SC Black GTX 1080.
- Tempered glass tends to leave fingerprints.
- Not a feline-friendly PC Case.
5 Corsair iCUE 220T RGB – Smallest Corsair ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
Our review of Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds wouldn’t be complete without Corsair’s contender, a well-known brand for cases.
Is it good? Let’s find out…
This alloy steel casing with an edge-to-edge tempered glass side panel has two color options: black or white.
Our Corsair nominee is a full tower case although, it only measures 15.55 x 8.27 x 17.72 inches. This case is compatible with the ATX form factor as well as Micro-ATX and Mini-ITX, and the scattered mini boomerang or V steel front panel gives the case an aggressive look.
A trio of fans…
Inside the front panel are three SP120 RGB PRO fans, pre-installed with the Corsair iCUE 220T RGB. Separating the trio from the front panel are the removable dust filters. These filters are also present on the floor and roof of the housing.
You can also fit two 140 mm fans at the front top and a 120 mm fan at the back. That’s five fans altogether, but if you want to keep the trio of RGB fans at the front, it gives you a generous amount of six fans!
Let there be light…
Light up with the luminous 24 addressable lined LEDs around the hub (eight per fan). The Corsair iCUE 220T RGB includes an iCUE Lighting Node Core to control your lighting without relying on the fan hub. You can plug up to six RGB fans into the lighting core.
If you want your Corsair to look alive, the Corsair iCUE software can synchronize your RGB fans’ color with the LED light strips, DDR4, keyboards, mouse, and more.
But something is missing…
Wait a minute… it doesn’t include a fan hub? For real? Neither the box nor the website mentions that you’ll need additional headers or a fan hub. It did say Commander Node Pro, but that’s only for the RGB lights; it won’t fit the 3-pin fan. One more thing, the 280 mm radiators don’t fit in the casing as advertised.
If you can oversee the internal space issues while building, whether you are using an air-towered setup with a stock fan, or a 240mm AIO, the result will be magnificent. The case isn’t perfect, and it has a few teething troubles here and there, but for those looking for a compact mid-tower case for an average build at a reasonable price, the Corsair 220T is well worth considering.
- Excellent RGB lighting.
- Fits up to six 120 mm fans in a decent-sized full tower case.
- Proper cable management.
- Does not include a fan hub.
- Does not fit a 280 mm radiator.
- It uses a small form factor PSU.
6 SilverStone Technology SST-GD08B-USA – Smallest Premium ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
The SilverStone SST-GD08B-USA basically looks like a DVD player? With the branding on the top left side front, horizontal positioning, and those cylindrical chrome legs, anyone could easily mistake this for a DVD player.
It’s meant to fit in your living room as a home theater computer case, just like the Thermaltake Core G3. But don’t let the dull-looking GD08B fool you. There’s more than what meets the eye, and the GD08B has no problem fitting motherboards as big as Extended-ATX down to Micro-ATX.
Most of the PC cases we reviewed have an aggressive look, but this one doesn’t. If you like luxury PC cases, the SilverStone Technology SST-GD08 was made for you. The premium looks came from the aluminum front panel and styling. But the material makes it weigh almost 20 pounds, which is the heaviest on the list. It doesn’t only look luxurious; the eATX case is large in numbers too.
The horizontal placing allows many possibilities, such as up to 12 drive bays, which is another record in the list, and it supports expansion cards up to 13.6 inches or 345 mm.
There is an optional SilverStone Tek Rackmount Ear Kit RA02, which theoretically should make the SST-GD08 rack-mountable. However, the mounting holes don’t match all rack rails. Probably because of the difference in the measurements between AV racks and server racks. However, when you want to mount the SST-GD08, all the screws (of different dimensions) come in the same bag, which makes building a PC with the SST-GD08 a bit tedious.
The cooling system…
If you remove the black clamshell box, it can hold three 120mm fans below the drive cage. The two pre-installed fans provide excellent cooling and share the same side as two external media drive bays. At the back of the case, two mini 80 mm fan serves as exhausts.
Overall, the GD08 is a great case. The brushed aluminum bezel and steel body result in a robust chassis that doesn’t need extra support. It’s incredible that you can install eight 3.5 inch drives, and the externally accessible dust guards are pure genius. If you have concerns about installing an SSD above the optical drive, don’t worry. The GD08 can handle it with ease.
- Large capacity for a drive bay. Supports up to 12 drives.
- Fits a large GPU with ease.
- Includes a cable management clamshell box.
- Very heavy.
- Needs extra support if you want to wall-mount it.
7 Rosewill Cullinan PX Red – Best Rated Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
This ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX PC housing is the worthy rival of the Fractal Design Meshify C. This is because they are both mid-towers and have unique features. This compact black case has a steel frame, aluminum front bezel with two tempered glass panels in front and on the side.
However, the black and white case is a little generic, and the RGB lighting is so vivid that it may cause your eyes to bleed after a while. Regardless, for those who like to wear sunglasses indoors, the Rosewill Cullinan PX offers you four factory lighting configurations: ruby red, emerald green, sapphire blue, or RGB.
Everything you could ever need…
One of the things you will love about the Rosewill Cullinan PX is the optional branding. Meaning it gives you the total pleasure of custom building a PC. It includes a generous amount of screws, extra motherboard standoffs, an additional expansion card cover, a few extra thumb screws, and some glass panel accessories such as rubber standoffs.
Much like any other cube case, the Cullinan PX also has two chambers. These are divided into left and right. The right section is the one with a glass panel. If you know the Corsair Air 240, the Cullinan PX has a similar layout.
If you consider installing a tall heatsink for your GPU, that might not work since it could touch the glass panel. The right chamber includes circle cut-outs for custom loop water cooling, which is optional.
Dual chambering allows this case to separate hot components from the cooler ones. The PSU, SSD, and HDD components are installed in the left chamber, which has room for a standard ATX PSU, and two 3.5 inches drive bays with removable trays and two 2.5 inches drive bays. You can hide most of the PSU cabling and the front IO cables in the left chamber.
It also has cut-outs from the left chamber to the right chamber.
Cullinan PX doesn’t have an internal filter. Plus, a 2 mm gap on each side of the glass panel seems welcoming for dust. Because of the opening, you can’t create positive pressure. Given the open nature of this case, negative pressure is created. The large exhaust aids the natural convection process at the top, and the force-fed front intake always keeps the airflow over the GPU and the CPU socket area.
The bottom vents will further enhance the ventilation; however, the bottom vents won’t work if you install a full ATX motherboard. However, if combined with a Micro-ATX motherboard, it enables you to place four 120 mm fans and the stock pair of 140 mm fans. There is also room for a mini 80 mm fan in the right chamber. The standoffs allow air to enter the right chamber from every side.
The Rosewill Cullinan is a beautiful, functional, and clean chassis. It’s packed with features that are cosmetic and functional. Therefore, it’s a great choice if you are looking for a relatively cheap case with excellent features.
- The branding comes as an option. Generous extras upon unboxing
- Proper chamber management.
- Excellent ventilation and airflow.
- It may get dusty over time due to the absence of a filter.
- Doesn’t support large GPUs.
8 Raijintek Thetis Window PC Case – Smallest Mid Range ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds
Raijintek is known for its Styx ATX case. And the new Thetis is the upgraded version of the Styx. Made of aluminum, the ATX case measures 19.69 x 19.69 x 3.94 inches and weighs about 2.2 pounds. It falls into the mid-tower/tower category and has a 3mm thick glass panel. Only the IO button is located at the front top position, while two USB 3.0 are placed together with the audio jacks.
The design is superb because you don’t have to struggle to plug-in your USB devices.
Not as easy as it looks…
However, this aluminum case is not as fantastic as we may have first thought. The flaws appear when you want to install your components. Even a modular PSU is challenging to install, especially the cables. The power supply must be configured so that the connection is situated at the base of the housing. The case also has an angled plug that requires some force so the cable could fit.
To screw things up further (pun intended), it’s also hard to screw the screws into the case. You have to fasten the hard drives using four screws with rubber pads. The wise man says that to overcome these obstacles, start with the power supply, then the hard drives.
You should also know…
The Raijintek Thetis comes pre-installed with a 120 mm O-type LED fan at the back. The LED fan is pathetic, as two of the LEDs shine brighter than the rest, which is quite disturbing. You can install an optional 240 mm radiator at the top near the USB 3.0 plug, and another 120 mm fan below. The mesh area at the top enhances the ventilation.
The Thetis has one thing going for it, its size. If you’re looking for a compact case for your build, this is a good option. The aluminum exterior looks nice, and the price is reasonable. The only thing is that it’s very hard to install your components, so you need to be patient and strong.
- Solid aluminum build.
- Supports ATX power supply.
- Easy access to USB 3.0 and jacks.
- Difficult to build.
- Poor cable management.
Smallest ATX Cases for Compact PC Builds Buying Guide
Anyone who builds computers will tell you the same; not all cases are created equally. Depending on the type of PC you’re building and what you’re your goal is, you’ll need to get the perfect small or regular-sized quality ATX case for your build.
However, choosing a case shouldn’t only be based on factors like price and looks. You need to take everything into account before making your final decision. So, here are some of the things to keep in mind when buying a case…
The motherboard is probably the most essential part of any computer because you will install all other major components on it. They all need to interact correctly together. When looking for a small ATX case, you need to make sure your motherboard actually fits because they come in all types of shapes and sizes.
Every component matters…
The chances are that you already have most of the build in mind before searching for a case. Therefore, the other components will need to work with the case.
The case should be big enough to fit your CPU, GPU, fans, RAM, and more. You might also want some RGB components, which are included in some cases. Therefore, make sure that you have the overall build in mind when choosing the case.
The build quality of the case is pretty straightforward. You want a high-quality case since it will house all your components. Apart from housing the components, the case needs to protect them from external damage and keep everything secure if you decide to move the computer. You don’t want a shoddy case that barely holds together with parts moving around on the inside.
It’s also essential to keep expansion in mind. You’ll want to buy a case that has everything you need and therefore doesn’t need any expansion slots, or make sure that the case can be expanded if necessary.
Heat is one of the most significant issues inside a case. That’s why most computers come with a fan to make sure that enough airflow cools all the components so they can operate properly.
The case is the most significant part of the build when it comes to sufficient airflow. They include fans, often more than one, and are often designed with airflow patterns in mind. Therefore, even when the case is full of parts, the air can still flow through the case keeping everything cool.
A common reason why computers fail is due to dust buildup in and around the components. Hand in hand with the airflow, the dust buildup prevents the components from getting the air they need, so they start to overheat and eventually fail.
This is why it’s crucial to have proper dust filters and enough locations to add them. Most cases take air from the back and blow it out the front, but some take air through the back and top for added cooling.
Cable management is also essential, at least if you care about aesthetics. This refers to the ways you can organize and hide all the cables after the build is complete. No one wants to look through the window of your new build and see a tangled mess of cables hiding the excellent display of your components.
One of the top features of the high-quality cases is the tool-less design. It’s a feature that is often overlooked, but it makes a world of difference and the build so much smoother. With tool-less cases, you can build the entire PC and assemble everything with the need for a screwdriver.
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Which Are The Smallest ATX Cases For Compact PC Builds?
After carefully testing some of the smallest ATX cases, we must say that the standing ovation goes to the…
It has everything you need for a gaming rig and enough space and fans to support high-end components, not to mention that it looks fantastic too.
Happy PC building!