Before you start building your dream computer, you need to consider the other purchase components if you have your eye on the small ATX case due to the design or the smaller space on your desk.
You are assembling a gaming computer and want to push the most potent possible configuration into the small ATX case. Fortunately, this isn’t a problem today, as many small cases are designed to accommodate larger graphics cards and powerful processors easily.
First, the motherboard you intend to get must be of a smaller format, Micro ATX or Mini ITX. You must take other components depending on the dimensions of the case.
My advice is to double-check all the specifications of the small ATX case before purchasing.
CM MasterBox Q300L
Thermaltake Core V21
Corsair Crystal 280X
InWin A1 Plus
Table of Contents
1. CoolerMaster MasterBox Q300L
Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L
15.39 x 9.06 x 15
Micro ATX, Mini ITX
1 Included (rear-mounted), 6 Max
One 3.5”, Two 2.5''
The Q300L is a small ATX case with a practical design and a sophisticated look that can easily fit into your interior, whether you are a gamer or a regular user. Although small, it can accommodate ATX power supply units of standard size and slightly larger graphics cards. You can install microATX or mini ITX motherboards.
The manufacturer also offers the Q500L model of marginally larger dimensions to place full ATX format motherboards. Other differences, except in size, are minimal.
You can set the front I/O panel to 6 different positions to find the one that suits you best. The acrylic transparent side panel gives you a clear view of the interior. Still, unfortunately, there was no place to install tempered glass at this price. The disadvantage of the acrylic side panel is the sensitivity to scratches, so be careful when working on the case.
At the top and front, the Cooler Master has installed stylized magnetic dust filters that are easy to remove and clean. There’s a lot of space behind the motherboard bay to hide the cables, and you have room to do good cable management.
In my opinion, this is an excellent purchase if you are aiming for a small ATX case. At a very affordable price, you get a friendly and straightforward design, with valuable and easy-to-maintain magnetic dust filters, the possibility of installing radiators and other cooling fans, and enough space for quality cable management.
If you already have an ATX format motherboard, look at the MasterBox Q500L model, which offers everything like the Q300L but is slightly larger. Finding good competition for this price and what you get is tricky.
2. NZXT H210i
13.7 x 8.3 x 14.6
2 Included (rear and top), 4 Max
One 3.5”, Four 2.5''
The NZXT H210i is the smallest H-Series case designed to support only the mini iTX. The case looks sophisticated and well done. Although small outside, it can boast that you can insert a standard ATX power supply unit and a larger graphics card. Thanks to a well-executed cooling system, everything you put in it will be well-cooled.
The case has two pre-installed 120mm fans for the rear and top. You can install four 120mm fans (two at the front, one at the back, and one at the top). You can place two 120mm or two 140mm fans on the front. As for water cooling, you can place a 240mm radiator on the front or 120mm on the back.
The case has many features, like the larger one, including excellent cable management and a tempered glass panel that mounts with a single screw. From the front, I commend the insertion of the USB Type-C port, a handy addition for connecting the latest smartphones or external memory.
Implementing the V2 smart device with a CAM drive in the H210i offers intelligent digital fan control. It provides plenty of room to expand the built-in RGB lighting and control it via the NZXT CAM application.
With all of the above, the NZXT H210i is a small but powerful case where you can pack great and powerful gaming components without compromising on cooling. In addition to the excellent build quality, you also get two no RGB fans.
3. Thermaltake Core V21
Thermaltake Core V21
13.2 x 12.6 x 16.7
Micro ATX, Mini ITX
1 Included (200mm front), 14 Max
Three 3.5’’ or 2.5” , Three 2.5’’
Core V21 is a cube small ATX case of the modular type because you can combine several such cases into one whole. Who mentioned the movie Cube? It reminds me of such an approach, but it’s undoubtedly a well-thought-out upgrade concept. You can stack Core V21s on top of each other, so only your imagination is the limit of what you can and want to do.
Let’s say you fold two housings and extend the liquid water cooling system in the upper ones. Also, the upper cube can be a solution for storing or even creating a double system. The possibilities are various, and the concept is exciting and original.
You can rearrange the sides of the V21 according to your taste, which gives you free rein when building your gaming configuration. For example, if you don’t like the case’s acrylic window on the right or right side, you can move it to the top.
The Core V21 has a 200mm fan on the front, under the mesh, with a lower rpm, but it cools sufficiently. The mesh is a good solution because more air enters, unlike the housings, with a front panel made of glass or solid plastic without openings. Instead of a 200mm fan, you can place two 120 mm or two 140mm to improve cooling.
Thermaltake Core V21 is a desirable small ATX case, wholly subordinated to your needs, thanks to its concept and functionality. My warm recommendation for a great invested and earned relationship.
4. Corsair Crystal 280X RGB
Corsair Crystal 280X RGB
15.7 x 10.9 x 13.8
Micro ATX, Mini ITX
2 Included (120mm front), 6 Max
Two 3.5’’ or 2.5” , Three 2.5’’
The Corsair 280X RGB is a well-made small ATX case with a pleasing design in which you can place strong gaming components with good ventilation. The case is steel made with tempered glass plates on the upper, front, and left sides. The upper and front part of the case is divided into two parts (two chambers), where tempered glass plates occupy 2/3.
The unique two-chamber design allows you to separate the power supply, discs, and cables into a dedicated rear chamber. This design leaves you with a clean and tidy main space to place the essential components.
The tempered glass side panel is attached to the housing with four screws. You must be careful when handling the panel so that it doesn’t accidentally fall out because there are no additional holders from accidental falling out.
The Corsair has provided the possibility to install up to six 120mm fans for cooling. Corsair planned to install a 240 mm radiator on the front, top, and bottom case.
Two LL120 RGB fans with 32 individually adjustable LEDs are already coming from the front, controlled by the included Lighting Node PRO digital RGB lighting controller. You need to set up the iCUE software to adjust the RGB lighting.
A cheaper version of the case without an RGB fan is on the market, which leaves you room to purchase more affordable lighting solutions. Otherwise, you can get this small case in black or white.
Overall, Corsair Crystal 280X RGB is a well-designed small ATX case, and the only thing that can distract you from it is the price. But if you are a fan of quality Corsair products, this is a case you must have on your radar when shopping.
5. InWin A1 Plus
InWin A1 Plus
10.7 x 8.8 x 14.1
2 Included (120mm), 4 Max
InWin A1 Plus is one specially designed small ATX case supporting only mini ITX motherboards. It looks exquisite, compact, and has an exciting set of advanced features. First, this small ATX case comes with a pre-installed 650W power supply, which will save you the effort and hassle of purchasing and installing a compatible power supply.
The power supply unit is 80+ Gold certified. It can power even the most demanding ITX configurations with more potent graphics cards. On the other hand, the A1 Plus will not accommodate more robust water cooling or many storage disks due to its design and size. The A1 Plus supports CPU heatsinks up to 160 mm high and accepts graphics cards up to 320 mm long.
An exciting addition to the top of the case is the integrated wireless charger for smartphones, which is handy to charge the phone effortlessly. InWin A1 Plus relies on a tinted transparent stand with RGB lighting, which gives a wow effect.
In addition to the stand lighting, the A1 Plus comes with two Sirius loop ASL 120 RGB fans with ring lighting that is the same on both sides. Therefore, RGB lighting is present on both sides of the fan. A good plus is synchronizing the RGB lighting with your motherboard. To use this function, ensure your motherboard is compatible (Asus Aura Sync, Gigabyte RGB Fusion, etc.)
InWin A1 Plus small ATX case will surely catch curious glances, so no one will be immune to it when they see it on your desk. The only problem you may have is the limited space for expansion. Don’t hesitate if you are ready to set aside a little more money for this small quality case. Remember that you get a great power supply unit, RGB stand, RGB fans, wireless charger, and exceptional design in the set.
Small ATX Cases Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why should I choose the small ATX case?
Whether you choose a Micro ATX or Mini ITX case for your PC build, they differ significantly in design and offer innovations compared to standard ATX cases. Don’t start building a computer based on a small ATX case if you don’t have any experience, time, or patience to complete it.
Suppose you still decide to make a gaming platform based on a small ATX case. In that case, the result will be the pleasure of packing powerful components in a small space. Such a computer can match the gaming configurations packed in bigger cases.
A helpful thing is the portability of the mini PC platform to a gaming session with a friend or a LAN competition. It’s also not insignificant that such small cases take up less space on your table and look very decorative.
You can be pleasantly surprised by how advanced the technology is and what powerful components you can push into a small space without any problems in operation or cooling.
Is it better to choose a bigger ATX or a small ATX case?
When considering whether your next pc build will be based on a small ATC case, you need to know the limitations that can hold you back. First, you need some experience and prior knowledge to build a PC based on midi or bigger ATX cases.
Suppose you don’t have experience and plan your first PC gaming build. In that case, my friendly advice is to assemble some configuration into a classic ATX case. A small ATX case puts you ahead of a big challenge in good planning and choosing compatible components that you can assemble in a small space.
What hardware can I install in small ATX cases?
There’s usually no space for more graphics cards, hard drives, or SSDs in small ATX cases. You must constantly look after the cables and do good cable management for proper airflow and better cooling. Small motherboards usually don’t have much space to expand, so you have to think about that detail. Also, installing higher quality water cooling is desirable to have no problems overheating the components.
More powerful graphics cards cause most heating problems in such a cramped space, so you must remove all that heat from the case. Suppose you have already decided to do a pc gaming build based on Micro ATX or mini ITX case. In that case, a little planning and reading aren’t out of the question, and you can already decide which is the best small ATX case for your needs.
Given your needs, desires, and possibilities, it’s not difficult today to find a great small ATX case and pack a strong gaming configuration. If you are a beginner in this field, I recommend making a gaming PC based on a standard ATX case. Here you can see my instructions on building a PC gaming computer in a typical ATX case.
Otherwise, If you are brave, curious, and have the will and prior knowledge, you have my support to deal with a small case. You can take a cheaper case like the MasterBox Q300L and have minor trouble building a gaming configuration. Of course, other small cases are great little masterpieces in innovation, functionality, and design.
In this review of mine, just read what you can expect from each small case, and I am sure you will make the right decision for yourself.
If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.