11 Smallest ATX Cases for Best Compact PC Builds 2024 – Big Performance in a Small Package

If you’re looking to build a powerful PC but are compact, then you might want to consider some of the 11 ATX cases designed to be the smallest possible size we have to show you. Most of us wouldn’t turn down a Computer loaded with ferocious hardware, but not everyone has the desk or floor space to accommodate a tower the size of a child.

Fortunately, PC components and case makers are recognizing the growing need for tiny yet powerful machines, so there will be plenty of options in 2020. Although an ultra-compact PC has advantages, there are some factors to consider before purchasing one, not all of them are evident.

In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages and downsides of joining the travel-sized PC club, as well as review five of our best tiny ATX cases currently on the market.

We’ll start this article with a quick overview of things to look for while buying a tiny ATX case. You can jump straight to our selections if you like.

Here’s a quick overview of the compact Cases we like best. To find out why we like these the most – read on.

Case Name Weight Dimension
Corsair Carbide Air 540 16.3 pounds 16.3 x 13.1 x 18 inches
Cooler Master Q500L 8.4 pounds 15.2 x 9.1 x 15 inches
Lian Li O11-Dynamic-Mini 18.73 pounds 16.5 x 10.6 x 14.96 inches
Cooler Master HAF XB EVO 18.1 pounds 17.4 x 13 x 16.7 inches
NZXT H510 17.6 pounds 16.85 x 8.27 x 18.11 inches
SilverStone Grandia GD09 9.26 pounds 17.32 x 14.09 x 6.69 inches
Corsair Carbide Series 175R 13.45 pounds 16.46 x 8.27 x 17.72 inches
Thermaltake Core G3 9.3 pounds 17.9 x 14.6 x 5.5 inches
Fractal Design Meshify C 14.33 pounds 8.35 x 17.32 x 15.55 inches
Rosewill Challenger S 11.24 pounds 17.52 x 8.26 x 16.06 inches
Corsair iCue 220T 14.33 pounds 15.55 x 8.27 x 17.72 inches

What Does ATX Mean, Anyway?

ATX stands for “Advanced Technology eXtended,” which is a really ambiguous and unhelpful acronym. It’s a motherboard standard (also known as a “form factor”) that dates back to the mid-1990s and is still the most common type of motherboard in consumer Computers today.

The ATX designation indicates the size and general architecture of the motherboard, which gives a rough indication of the number and kind of ports and expansion slots.

For instance, some ATX boards may have four RAM slots, whereas others may have six or eight.

Build Your Dream PC with These Top Picks

1. Corsair Carbide Air 540

Corsair Carbide Air 540

Corsair is known for creating high-quality PC products, and the Carbide Air 540 is one of their finest cases designed for compact builds.

The case features a cube design with a dual-chamber layout that separates the motherboard, CPU, GPU, and memory from the drives and PSU.

This configuration ensures direct airflow to the main components, resulting in efficient cooling that is ideal for those who want to push their system to its limits through overclocking.

Key Features:

  • Supports E-ATX, ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX.
  • Up to 6 x 120mm or 5 x 140mm case fans.
  • Features 4 x 2.5”, 2 x 3.5”, and 2 x 5.25” drive bays.
  • 3 pre-installed 140mm Corsair Air Series AF140L intake and exhaust fans.
  • Maximum: GPU length 320mm, CPU cooler height 170mm, and standard ATX PSU length 250mm.
  • Comes with a front dust filter to keep the build clean.
  • An edge-to-edge tinted flush-mount side window (Acrylic).
  • 8 PCI-E slots.
  • Front I/O with USB 3.0 x 2 and Audio In/Out ports.

This case provides enough of space for you to enhance your system with high-performance cooling. A 360mm liquid cooler or a 280mm top radiator can be installed on the front panel.

Pros
  • Runs quiet
  • Spacious steel-made cube design
  • Outstanding cooling capabilities
  • Tool-free PCI-E and storage drive installation
  • Easy cable management with routing channels
Cons
  • A little bit pricey for budget PC builders
  • Only comes pre-equipped with the front dust filter

2. Cooler Master Q500L

Cooler Master Q500L

The Cooler Master Q500L is the follow-up to last year’s Q300L, a fantastic Micro ATX case. The Q500L is only a little larger, yet it supports ATX motherboards!

This is undoubtedly one of our top recommendations for the smallest ATX case, thanks to the airflow-optimized front and top panels, the large side panel window, and lots of fan mounts.

Key Features:

  • Supports ATX, Micro-ATX, and Mini-ITX.
  • Made of high-quality steel and polymer with a mesh front bezel.
  • Maximum: GPU length 334mm, CPU cooler height 180mm, and PSU length 180mm.
  • Packs 2 x 3.5”/2.5” internal drive bay plus 2 x 3.5”/2.5” and 2 x 5.25” external drive bays.
  • Supports up to 4 fans: a 200mm at the top, 2 x 120mm in the front, and a 120mm rear fan.
  • 7 PCI-E for expansion.
  • Front I/O with USB 3.0 x 2 and Audio In/Out.
  • Two Top-Panel designs: windowed for showing off or meshed for superior cooling.

The case comes with two pre-installed durable XtraFlo fans in the front. It can also support a 240mm radiator for powerful airflow to keep your system running cool.

Pros
  • Fairly cheap
  • ATX motherboard support on what used to be an mATX case
  • Detachable dust filters
  • Strong airflow
  • Adjustable side panel I/O.
Cons
  • Only one fan included.

3. Lian Li O11-Dynamic-Mini – Latest Small ATX Case

Lian Li O11-Dynamic-Mini

The Lian Li O11 Dynamic Mini is a lovely tiny form factor chassis that is a miniature version of the original PC-O11 Dynamic. And Lian Li didn’t skimp on making the O11-Dynamic Mini smaller. In fact, an ATX board may fit within the O11-D Mini.

The O11-D Mini also boasts superb cable management and temperature regulation for such a compact case. You may attach up to nine 120mm fans or six 140mm fans and even slightly modify the casing to accommodate water cooling.

There aren’t many things that may turn builders away from the O11-D Mini. One such thing is the lack of support for a typical ATX PSU. This is understandable given the SFF of the chassis.

Key Features:

  • Supports E-ATX (under 280mm width), ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX
  • Up to 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm case fans on top, 2 x 120mm or 2 x140mm fans on the side, 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans at the bottom and 1 x 120mm fan in the rear.
  • Supports 2 x 2.5”/3.5” SSD/HDD (back), and 2 x 2.5” SSD (Right).
  • Maximum: GPU length 395mm, CPU cooler height 172mm, and SFX or SFX-L PSU.
  • Comes with four dust filters (1 x Top, 1 x Bottom and 2 x Side) to keep the build clean.
  • Supports 7 horizontal PCI expansions.
  • I/O Ports: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 1 x HD Audio.
Pros
  • A small form factor Computer Case that is perfect for ITX, but also supports ATX
  • Gives the builder plenty of room to play around creatively
  • Shows an overall good thermal performance
  • Supports water cooling
  • Cable management is great
  • Price is reasonable
Cons
  • Front I/O panel is a bit slow
  • Does not come with any built-in fans
  • Bottom air filter is ugly
  • For something with ‘Mini’ in its name, it isn’t exactly petite

4. Cooler Master HAF XB EVO – Best for LAN Party

Cooler Master HAF XB EVO

The Cooler Master HAF XB EVO, as the name implies, is great at managing the thermal levels of any high-end PC.

The HAF XB provides great airflow capability, with support for multiple fans, a 240mm radiator in the front and a 120mm radiator in the back. It even comes with two 120mm XtraFlo fans pre-installed. You can increase airflow by removing the side panels.

There are four dust panels to help prevent dust gathering. This greatly simplifies maintenance.

The removable motherboard tray is one of the HAF XB EVO’s most appealing features. This is great for enthusiasts who want to put their rigs through their paces. The hard drive trays, too, are tool-free and removable. This increases the HAF XB’s versatility. It also comes with rigid side handles that make it a very portable pc case.

With this case, builders will be paying for a top-class case. Thermal regulation is suitable for any high-end PC and there’s plenty of room for customization. But assembling it can be a bit tiresome and it isn’t the most compact PC case.

Key Features:

  • Supports ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX.
  • Supports 1 x 200mm fan on Top, 2 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans at the front and 1 x 120mm or 2 x 80mm fans in the rear.
  • Comes with two 120mm XtraFlo fans pre-installed at the front.
  • Features 4 x 2.5”/3.5” and 2 x 5.25” bays.
  • Maximum: GPU length 334mm, CPU cooler height 180mm, and standard ATX PSU length 180mm.
  • Comes with four dust filters (1 x Top, 1 x Bottom and 2 x Side) to keep the build clean.
  • Has 7 PCI expansion slots.
  • Front I/O Panel: 2 x USB 3.0, HD Audio In & Out.
Pros
  • Extraordinary airflow with ventilation from all sides
  • Has a removable motherboard tray
  • Sturdy design that promises durability
  • Has plenty of room for creative customization and large hardware
  • Drive trays are tool-less and easy to insert
Cons
  • Can be difficult to assemble
  • Top only supports a 200mm fan (and does not support standard 120/140mm fans)
  • Can take quite a bit of space and Is a bit on the expensive side

5. NZXT H510

NZXT H510

The NZXT H510 (and its i-series counterpart) is the successor to the last-gen NZXT H500 chassis. Like before, it has utterly stellar build quality, cable management, and minimalist aesthetics.

Key Features:

  • Motherboard Support: Up to ATX
  • GPU Length: Up to 381 mm
  • CPU Cooler Height: Up to 165 mm
  • Fans Preinstalled: 2 120mm fans included for intake and exhaust
  • Fan Slots Available: 2 120/140 mm slots on front, 1 120/140 mm slot on top, 1 120mm slot on rear
  • Side Panel Window: Tempered Glass
  • PSU Size Support: Standard ATX PSU
  • I/O Ports: 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
  • Extras: Extra color options, RGB lighting with -i version

Pretty much everything you need is here. If you’re wanting for more the -i version adds RGB to the mix.

Pros
  • Compact size for a full ATX chassis
  • Support for custom loop liquid cooling
  • Updated I/O ports with USB Type-C
  • PSU basement for cable management
Cons
  • High price- especially if you opt for the -i Series version

6. SilverStone Grandia GD09 – Best for ATX HTPC Builds

SilverStone Grandia GD09

The SilverStone Grandia GD09 is built for the ultimate Home Theater PC (HTPC) experience, and its form factor shows it.

Key Features:

  • Motherboard Support: SCI-CEB, Micro ATX, and ATX
  • GPU Length: Up to 309 mm
  • CPU Cooler Height: Up to 138 mm
  • Fans Preinstalled: 1 120 mm intake fan on the right
  • Fan Slots Available: Up to 3 120 mm fans
  • Side Panel Window: N/A
  • PSU Size Support: Up to 140 mm (standard ATX)
  • I/O Ports: 2 USB 3.0, 1 Audio
  • Extras: Supports Kensington lock and rack mounting

As long as you can keep your CPU cooler in check, you have plenty of room for expansion with this one.

Pros
  • Compact, intelligent form factor
  • Rack mounting and Kensington support
  • Adaptable drive cages, no external adapters needed
Cons
  • High price
  • Only one included fan

7. Corsair Carbide Series 175R – Best RGB ATX Mid-Tower Gaming Case

Corsair Carbide Series 175R

The Corsair Carbide 175R is the most recent addition to the Corsair Carbide Series, offering a good basic design at a low price.

Obviously, we could go on and on about the 175R’s shortcomings and where it could have been improved. Yet the truth is that this is a low-cost chassis. And you won’t find anything better at this pricing.

The case includes a tinted tempered glass side panel and a 120mm back fan with RGB lighting.

Because this case accommodates up to six 120mm or four 140mm fans, airflow is great. There’s also enough for a 350mm cooling radiator, providing the 175R good thermal performance for its budget.

There is also enough room for a full-sized ATX board and extra clearance for optimum wire management.

If you want a basic budget computer case, the 175R is the appropriate choice. If you need something strong to support a heavy construction, you might want to look elsewhere. The Corsair Carbide 275R is an excellent Carbide series replacement that offers somewhat greater features for a slightly higher price.

Key Features:

  • Supports mATX, ATX and mini-ITX.
  • Supports up to 3x 120mm or 2x 140mm fans at the front, 2x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans on the top and 1x 120mm fan in the rear.
  • Comes with one pre-installed programmable RGB fan.
  • Features 2 x 3.5” and 2 x 2.5” bays.
  • Maximum: GPU length 330mm, CPU cooler height 160mm, and standard ATX PSU length 180mm.
  • Has 7 PCI expansion slots.
  • Features programmable RGB Lighting.
  • Front I/O Panel: 2 x USB 3.0 and Audio In & Out.
Pros
  • Comes with cool RGB lighting
  • Cable management is great
  • Comes with good water-cooling support
  • Has a tempered glass side panel to showcase your build
  • Is very affordable
Cons
  • Pre-installed RGB fan isn’t very good
  • The side panel isn’t very sturdy

8. Thermaltake Core G3 – Best for Slim ATX Builds

Thermaltake Core G3

Thermaltake Core G3 is a high-quality small pc case that embraces a slim design. It is designed to fit on your desk or a tight living room.

The spacious compartment allows you to build a powerful rig for 4K VR gaming.

Key Features:

  • Supports 12” x 9.6” (ATX), 9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX), and 6.7” x 6.7” (Mini ITX).
  • Supports 2 x 2.5” or 2 x 3.5” storage drives with HDD cage.
  • Supports 2 x 120mm fans or a 240mm radiator in the front and a 120mm top fan.
  • Maximum: GPU length 310mm, CPU cooler height 110mm, and SFX PSU length 130mm.
  • Handy Top-Front I/O with USB 2.0 x 2, USB 3.0 x 2, and HD Audio jacks.
  • Compatible with up to NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1080/1070.
  • Two expansion slots.

Core G3 features a nice transparent acrylic side window panel to show off your build. It has been equipped with a custom GPU mount for a floating GPU design.

Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Lightweight design.
  • Can orient vertically or horizontally.
  • Comes with 2 pre-installed 120mm fans.
  • Very compact ATX case made of high-quality SPCC.
Cons
  • Doesn’t support the standard PSU.
  • Cable management can get tough.

9. Fractal Design Meshify C – Compact Case With Water-Cooling Support

Fractal Design Meshify C

At first glance, the Fractal Design Meshify C appears to be identical to its more expensive sister, the Define C. It is, however, distinct in terms of both pricing and features.

The Meshify C is an excellent mid-range PC case with a reasonable price that matches its characteristics. Because the front panel does not reflect the noise from the internal components back into the case, it is slightly noisier than in other cases.

Key Features:

  • Supports ATX, mATX, and Mini-ITX.
  • Supports 2 x 120/140mm fans on top, 3 x 120mm or 2 x 140mm fans at the front, 1 x 120mm fan in the rear and 1 x 120mm fan at the bottom.
  • Comes with two Dynamic X2 GP-12 fans pre-installed (one at the front and one in the rear)
  • Radiators: Front 120/240/360mm and 140/280mm + Top 120/240mm + Rear 120mm
  • Features 2 x 2.5”/3.5” and 3 x 2.5” (dedicated) bays.
  • Maximum: GPU length 315mm, CPU cooler height 170mm, and standard ATX PSU length 175mm.
  • Dust filters: Bottom Fan + PSU, Front Fans and Top Fans.
  • Has 7 PCI expansion slots.
  • Front I/O Panel: 2 x USB 3.0, Audio In & Out.

This Meshify C offers optimal airflow, with support for up to seven 120mm fans. It even comes with two pre-installed retail-grade Dynamic X2 GP-12 fans. This case however wasn’t designed with liquid cooling in mind.

If you’re in the market for a mid-range chassis with a sturdy build, the Meshify C is the right choice for you. If you’re not a fan of noisy cases or plan on installing a liquid cooler, you might want to consider some other options.

Pros
  • Supports multiple water-cooling radiators
  • Airflow is good
  • Cable management is excellent
  • Comes with two excellent 120mm fans Is easy to assemble
  • Has plenty of dust filters
  • Build is sturdy
Cons
  • Can be slightly noisy
  • Front I/O panel isn’t that great
  • Spacing is quite compact and does not support oversized ATX boards or longer PSUs

10. Rosewill Challenger S – Best Budget Small ATX Case

Rosewill Challenger S

The Rosewill Challenger S is our budget pick, but it’s still packed with features.

Key Features:

  • Motherboard Support: Micro ATX and ATX
  • GPU Length: Up to 360 mm
  • CPU Cooler Height: Up to 170 mm
  • Fans Preinstalled: 2 120 mm intake fans, 1 120 mm exhaust fan
  • Fan Slots Available: Up to 5 120 mm fans
  • Side Panel Window: N/A
  • PSU Size Support: Standard ATX
  • I/O Ports: 1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, and 1 Audio Port
  • Extras: LED intake fans

The included dual blue LED intake fans are a pleasant extra, as is the 120 mm intake fan. If you’re a budget user, this case is especially appealing, since it has a fully-functional airflow setup out-of-the-box, without any extra tweaking needed from you.

Pros
  • The 3 included fans
  • The low price
  • Decent support for GPUs and air coolers, despite its size
Cons
  • Only 1 USB 3.0 port

11. Corsair iCue 220T – Best Tempered Class Smart ATX Case

Corsair iCue 220T

The Corsair iCue 220T is part of Corsair’s new iCue case series, focused on providing the best experience with their RGB product lineup.

Key Features:

  • Motherboard Support: Up to ATX
  • GPU Length: Up to 300 mm
  • CPU Cooler Height: Up to 160 mm
  • Fans Preinstalled: 3 120 mm RGB fans
  • Fan Slots Available: Up to 6 120 mm fans
  • Side Panel Window: Tempered Glass
  • PSU Size Support: Up to 180 mm
  • I/O Ports: 2 USB 3.0, 1 Audio Port
  • Extras: RGB intake fans, removable dust filters

The included RGB fans, great intake design, and not-too-small design make this a great choice for any user.

Pros
  • 3 included RGB fans
  • Fairly solid build quality and building experience
  • All-around great support for CPU coolers, GPUs, and PSUs
Cons
  • Fairly high price
  • No included exhaust fan- though this can be fixed by moving one of the three included fans to the back

Helpful Tips!

The fact that it is a tiny form factor ATX case does not preclude it from housing normal ATX components. When shopping for compact cases, keep the following in mind:

  • Build components: Make sure the case is spacious enough to fit your CPU, GPU, and PSU without causing a tight fit that may make building challenging.
  • Case build quality: Choose cases made of durable materials such as all steel or aluminum to ensure your case can withstand regular use.
  • Expandability: Look for cases with multiple drive bays and PCIe slots to easily add components in the future and improve your system’s performance.
  • Airflow: In addition to the spacious design, ensure the case has good airflow options. Many compact ATX cases have poorly placed fans or fewer than two 120mm fan options, so it’s essential to choose a case with proper airflow to prevent overheating.
  • Cable management: Opt for cases with cut-out spaces and cable routing channels to make cable management easy and avoid clutter.

How to Choose an Ideal Small ATX Case for a Compact PC

How to Choose an Ideal Small ATX Case for a Compact PC

In order to get the best value for your money’s worth, you need to understand the specific set of features that make a great ATX case. In the section below, we have listed some of the most important features to look for when making this purchase.

Form Factors

Before diving into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand the concept of form factors. Form factors refer to the physical dimensions and standards of components like the motherboard and case. ATX (Advanced Technology eXtended) is a common form factor for both motherboards and PC cases. Small ATX cases are designed to accommodate ATX motherboards but in a more compact format than regular ATX cases, optimizing space without sacrificing component compatibility.

Considerations for Space and Component Fit

Considerations for Space and Component Fit

The first consideration in choosing a small ATX case is ensuring that it has adequate space for all your components. You must account for the dimensions of your motherboard, power supply, graphics card, and cooling solutions (like fans and heatsinks), ensuring they all fit within the constraints of the case.

Pay special attention to the GPU and CPU cooler dimensions, as these components often take up the most space. Keep in mind that good cable management can optimize internal space and improve airflow, leading to better system cooling.

Airflow and Cooling System Compatibility

The next key factor is airflow. High-performance components can generate a lot of heat, and it’s essential that your case has an effective cooling solution. Look for a small ATX case that can support the number and size of fans you plan to use. Some cases also support liquid cooling solutions for more efficient heat dissipation. The case design, including the number and placement of vents and filters, also affects airflow and dust accumulation.

Expandability and Future-Proofing

Another crucial aspect to consider is future upgrades. If you plan to upgrade your components in the future, choose a case that allows for expandability. Check the number of drive bays and expansion slots. If you think you might add more storage drives or expansion cards in the future, make sure your chosen case can accommodate them.

Expandability and Future-Proofing

Aesthetics and Personal Preferences

Finally, while practical considerations are certainly important, aesthetics and personal preference also play a role in choosing a case. The case is the most visible part of your computer, so you might want it to match your style. Cases come in various colors and finishes, and some have transparent panels to showcase your components. Some cases also include RGB lighting for a more personalized look.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why should I consider a small ATX case for my compact PC build?

Because these cases provide an excellent balance between size and compatibility. They can house powerful components typically compatible with standard ATX motherboards but in a more compact form factor, making them ideal for space-conscious setups, such as a home office or a living room entertainment center.

2. Does a smaller ATX case mean overheating issues?

Not necessarily. While smaller cases have less space for airflow, many are cleverly designed to optimize cooling. Choosing a case that supports adequate cooling solutions (such as multiple fans or liquid cooling systems), coupled with efficient cable management, can prevent overheating even in compact cases.

3. How can I ensure my components will fit in a small case?

Before buying a small ATX case, measure all your components, especially the graphics card and CPU cooler, as these are often the largest. Check the case’s specifications to ensure these components will fit. Also, confirm that the case has enough space for your power supply unit, RAM, storage drives, and any additional fans or cooling systems.

4. Can I upgrade my PC components later with a small ATX case?

Yes, but with some limitations. These cases typically have fewer expansion slots and drive bays than larger cases. Before purchasing, consider your upgrade plans and choose a case that can accommodate future enhancements.

5. Do small ATX cases come with power supply units?

Some of them come with power supply units (PSUs) included, but many do not. Ensure to check the case’s specifications before purchasing. If the case does include a PSU, make sure it provides enough power for your components.

6. Can I build a high-performance PC with a small ATX case?

Yes, you can. While the compact size can pose some limitations, you can still house powerful components within a small ATX case, including high-end graphics cards, multiple storage drives, and robust cooling solutions. Always check component sizes and case compatibility before building.

Final Words

Buying your ideal small computer case doesn’t have to be an overwhelming undertaking.

With the above cases, you should be able to find your ideal pick that will make a compact yet powerful PC build.

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