The Smallest ATX Cases Money Can Buy

Updated September 5th, 2018 by Headshot Jacob Tuwiner

Smallest ATX Case Header

Here’s the deal:

If you’re looking for the best (and the smallest) ATX case money can buy, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve procured the ultimate “smallest ATX case” list so you can make the best decisision when purchasing your next case!

Let’s get started:

Smallest ATX Case Options

When it comes to building a gaming PC, choosing the right case is incredibly important.

Not only are they tasked with protecting your precious components, they must also provide adequate airflow, not to mention they have to look cool!

Finding the smallest full size ATX case in 2018 can be challenging. In an effort to make your life easier, here are the best and the smallest ATX cases:

Case Image Benefits Shop
Corsair Carbide Series 400C
  • Clean Design
  • Superb Airflow
  • Spacious
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Corsair Carbide Series Air 540
  • Compact Case
  • Space Saving Design
  • Fantastic Cable Management
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Cooler Master HAF XB II EVO
  • Small Case, Plenty of Space
  • Perfect for Travel
  • Supports Full-Size CPU Coolers
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NZXT H400i
  • Beautiful Case Design
  • Ships with Three 120mm Fans
  • Constructed with Aluminum Alloy
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Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC
  • Low Profile Case
  • Dual Tempered Glass Side Panel
  • Easy to Use
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Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1 TG
  • Lightweight
  • Tons of Space
  • Sleek Design
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Thermaltake Core G3 Slim ATX Case
  • Slim ATX Case Design
  • Side Panel Window
  • Full-Size with Low Profile
View Lowest Prices

Corsair Carbide Series 400C - $90

The Corsair Carbide Series 400C features an elegant case design and is the smaller, non-inverted version of the Carbide 600C ATX case.

The $90 pricepoint is well placed, especially when compared to other cases of this quality. The 400C looks sleek and refined – even though it’s a smaller case, the interior still supports up to E-ATX motherboards.

Corsair decided to remove the 5.25” drive bays, completely doing away with cutouts for optical drives on the ATX case’s front panel.

If you’re looking for a sturdy case to protect your PC’s components, the 400C should be on your radar. Constructed with a steel exterior, the case is quite sturdy.

Moreover, the large side-panel window allows you to show off the components in your PC. Despite having a minimalistic design, the case is still very attractive.

The case’s dimensions are 18.3 by 8.5 by 16.7 inches, and the case weighs in at 18 pounds (8.16466 kg). Inside the case is spacious, with room for up to three 2.5-inch drives and two 3.5-inch drives.

Despite being a simple case, it still leaves plenty of room for customization. The massive panel window does a great job showing off the internals, not to mention any LEDs you decide to add to your PC.

Overall, it’s a wonderful case manufactured by a reputable company. If you’re looking for a small ATX case, the 400C is a strong contender. At the end of the day, it may simply come down to whether or not you desire 5.25” bays or not – for most (myself included), the lack of 5.25” bays is not a problem.

Corsair Carbide Series Air 540

The Air 540’s cube shaped design definitely sets it apart from other cases.

The chasis was constructed with optimal airflow in mind – those looking to overclock and push their system to its limits should definitely consider this case, especially if they want their components housed in a low-profile case.

The case has a wide outer shell with two side-by-side chambers inside to provide the best airflow possible.

One chamber is for your motherboard and 3.5” drive bays, while the other chamber houses the power supply, solid state drives, and 5.25” bays. Both chambers streamline airflow to provide the best possible cooling solution.

The front of the Air 540 is made of high-quality ABS plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. In fact, the case’s build quality is pretty good for a case in this price range. The interior is constructed from steel.

As far as size goes, the case is 332mm wide and 458mm in depth.

Despite its small form-factor, the case can house motherboards from E-ATX to Mini-ITX, as well as six drive trays in total. Its ability to house a lot of drives and varying sizes of motherboards goes to show how spacious the case is on the inside, despite being smaller overall.

The case has three 140mm case fans – one is an exhaust fan in the rear of the case. The other two 140mm fans are in the front and serve as the case’s intake. The intake/exhaust configuration draws cool air in, passes it through the case and exhausts it along with any hot air produced by the components.

What’s the bottom line here?

This case seems compact on the outside yet is spacious inside, with superb airflow. Lastly, the case makes it easy to manage cables, making for a truly professional and presentable gaming PC optimized for the best cooling performance.

Cooler Master HAF XB II EVO - $85

Cooler Master’s HAF XB II EVO is a versatile, compact case that is easily converted into an open air test bench.

The case has two 5.25-inch drive bays, two 3.5-inch drive bays, and six 2.5-inch drive bays. The case also has one front-facing 120mm fan, one rear 120mm fan, and one top-mounted 200mm fan.

Similarly to the Air 540, the HAF XB II EVO has two cooling zones optimized for airflow. The case’s drive racks, panels and the main body are all made of steel. The front bezel is made of polymer rather than cheap plastic.

The case has a removable motherboard tray that supports ATX, micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards.

HAF XB II EVO
A quick look inside reveals the case's two compartments

The case has carrying handles, making it ideal as a LAN box. The case can also be used as an HTPC, gaming PC, or as a test bench. The case is spacious and versatile, ready to handle whatever you throw at it!

A large cutout on the motherboard tray makes installing CPU coolers with large backplates effortless. Moreover, the case provides flexible cooling options, with plenty of room for radiators.

In my opinion, the case has a great look and feel. Both side panels are removable and both have sturdy handles for easy transport.

Moral of the story?

This case is well-built, has plenty of room that provides great airflow, and is incredibly versatile. Its small form-factor and carrying handles make it a great LAN box. The removable motherboard tray also turns this case into a convenient test bench.

NZXT H400i - $150

It’s no surprise that an NZXT case is being featured on this list of the best small ATX cases. NZXT is a well-respected company known for their quality products.

The H400i micro-ATX case delivers the best of both worlds, a perfect cross between mini-ITX and full sized ATX.

The case has fantastic cooling support and cable management, not to mention its beautiful paint job and intuitive design. I’d recommend this case to new builders because it is easy to work with.

Besides this case’s exemplary design, its cooling potential is one of its most notable characteristics. The 400i has plenty of options to mount radiators and custom fans.

You can fit two 140mm fans in the front and top, in addition to one 120mm fan in the rear.

The case supports five drives, but four of them are 2.5” drives meant for an SSD rather than a mechanical drive. The 400i only has one 3.5” drive bay, one of its main drawbacks and something to keep in mind before purchasing.

This case is quite pricey, so I would not recommend it for budget builders. However, it is an incredibly high-quality case – if you have the money, you won’t regret investing in the 400i.

Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC - $57

The Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC is a cube-shaped case that allows you to customize the panels and cooling how you like.

According to Kit Guru:

The cuboid nature of the Thermaltake Core V21 defies expectations and allows you to rearrange the panels and cooling to your heart’s content. Stripping the chassis bare is a quick process as each panel is held on with two thumbscrews. Once the top, bottom and sides are removed you can see the chassis is a simple framework with a riveted motherboard tray. This highlights how much space you have inside the V21 with clearance for a CPU cooler that is 185mm in height, a graphics card up to 350mm in length and a power supply up to 200mm long when you use a bottom fan in the case.

The case ships with a front-facing 200mm fan. The case is also fitted with multiple dust filters to ensure your parts remain clean and funcitonal.

The case looks clean and refined. It is simple, yet elegant. If you’re interested in displaying the components inside, the V21 also has a sizable side panel window.

Considering the quality of the case and its low price, the V21 simply makes sense – in all honesty, it’s a steal!

Click here for a full review of the Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC.

Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1 TG – $45

The Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1 TG may not be as low cost when compared to ultra budget cases, but it really gives you a great bang for your PC gaming buck.

The case has more room and better features than many of its competitors, which is why I decided to include it on this page. Despite being a micro-ATX case, it still has sufficient space for even some of the largest graphics cards and CPU coolers on the market.

The case looks great – it can support micro-ATX and mini-ITX motherboards, and is constructed primarily of steel and sturdy plastic. The case weighs in just under 9 lbs, making it quite lightweight.

The case doesn’t make any conscious effort to stick out too much, but its simplistic and stylish design still catches one’s eye.

The left side panel is entirely clear, allowing you to show off your components. Although, if you’re not one to properly manage your cables, you probably want to steer clear of this case – on the other hand, poor cable management constricts airflow anyway, so it is best to keep your cables nice and tidy.

It’s no surprise that another case by Cooler Master made the list – this time around, they are providing a fantastic case with a spacious interior and an awesome design, all for an affordable price.

Click here for a full case review.

Thermaltake Core G3 Slim ATX Case - $70

The second Thermaltake case on this list is the Core G3 Slim ATX Case, which is also the second case from Thermaltake’s Core series.

In recent years, Thermaltake has produced many cases that are largely popular, especially their Core series. The Thermaltake Core G3 is no exception!

The Core G3 is a full-sized ATX case with a slim design, perfect for small spaces. The case supports both ATX and micro-ATX.

Thermaltake’s Core G3 also has a nice side panel window. The front panel has 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports and one HD audio slot.

The case doesn’t include any case fans, which may be seen as a drawback for some – although, it has plenty of room for you to add your own custom fans.

It features four drive bays in total, two of which are 2.5” bays and the other two are 3.5” bays.

This case offers a stylish full sized form factor without being too big and bulky. It’s one of the best (and the smallest) ATX cases money can buy!

Case Buying Guide

Carbide Air 540

If you’re interested in building a gaming PC, it is imperative that you choose the right case. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

In an effort to aid those new to building gaming computers, I’ve created this guide to help you understand everything you need to know when it comes to selecting the best ATX case.

So, what’s the deal with ATX, micro-ATX, and mini-ITX?

The names stem from motherboard size categories. Motherboards are grouped into these three categories.

ATX is the largest, micro-ATX is a bit smaller, and mini-ITX is the smallest.

At the moment, full-sized ATX cases are the most popular form factor for a variety of reasons. ATX motherboards are 12 × 9.6 inches (305 × 244 mm). ATX cases are usually also compatible with micro-ATX motherboards, which are 9.6 × 9.6 inches (244 × 244 mm).

Lastly, mini-ITX motherboards are 6.7 × 6.7 inches (170 x 170 mm), making them the smallest of the three form-factors.

Since cases are responsible for housing motherboards, cases are categorized in the same manner (ATX, micro-ATX, etc.) It’s always important to ensure that the case you want is compatible with your motherboard’s form factor.

A Great Case Is…

1. A great gaming case is strong. Avoid cases constructed with flimsy plastic – after all, your case is supposed to protect your parts and keep them from breaking, right?

A few plastic parts here and there are okay and most cases have some plastic. However, ensure the plastic is strong and of high quality before risking your expensive components.

2. A great gaming case has fantastic airflow. If your case doesn’t have good airflow, your PC could overheat and shut down. Despite being able to handle high temperatures, your parts can become damaged if they are too hot. Airflow is incredibly important!

You may find this PC airflow guide helpful:

3. A great gaming case has room for plenty of quiet case fans! This goes hand-in-hand with airflow. If your case doesn’t have space to add case fans, it’s a no go.

Thermaltake Core G3

Most gaming cases ship with fans included – many of them have cool looking LEDs too. But before you’re fooled by fancy lights, it’s important to make sure your fans are quiet. Noisy fans can be especially annoying if you’re sensitive to noise.

4. A great gaming case has enough room for your components! This may seem obvious, but some cases don’t have enough room for CPU coolers and graphics cards. For example, the first time I built a gaming PC, the hard drive bays in my case got in the way of my graphics card!

5. A great gaming case has good cable management options. This means there is plenty of space for your cables, and they can be run throughout the case in a neat and orderly fashion. Instead of bundling them up inside the case – which is both ugly and bad for airflow – you can run your cables in the back. This keeps your case looking clean and promotes good airflow.

Before you pull the trigger on the case of your dreams, make sure that:

  • Your graphics card will fit inside the case
  • Your CPU cooler will fit inside the case
  • Your case has enough hard drive bays

Otherwise, you’ll be quite disappointed!

Do You Need a ‘Gaming’ Case?

Many companies advertise their cases as “gaming cases”. Just because a case is outfitted with cool LED lights does not necessarily make it a gaming case.

Most uneducated customers will buy a case simply for its looks, without really considering the factors mentioned above. It is more important to find a functional case that provides good airflow and cable management. A good case must also be sturdy and cost effective.

Sure, a good looking case is always nice, but it is not necessary. If you’re on a budget, especially a budget below $500, don’t spend more than $50 on your case. In fact, I’d recommend spending $40 or less.

Case Reviews

This is the part of the article where I go a bit more in-depth. I’ll be taking a closer look at each case, talking about the pros and cons of each one, any notable features, the design, and why I decided to include the case in this list.

Corsair Carbide Series 400C

Pros:

  • Style
  • Compact
  • Supports E-ATX motherboards
  • Several dust filters
  • Side-panel window

Cons:

  • No optical drive bays
  • No fan controller

In today’s day and age, people are consuming their media much differently than they used to even a few years ago. Optical drives are becoming less common, as most of the data you’d need can be downloaded directly to your computer’s hard drive, which have also grown in storage capacity.

Moreover, rather than popping your favorite movie into the DVD player, most people choose to watch movies and TV shows via their favorite online streaming service, such as Netflix or Hulu.

Corsair has taken note of this shift, and decided to remove 5.25-inch optical drive bays entirely from this case. Although some people may be disappointed by this decision, in my opinion, it’s actually a good choice. The case doesn’t have optical drive bays, which frees up space for other things, including case fans, multiple GPUs, radiators, and extra space between hard drives which results in cooler temperatures. Moreover, the interior of the case is more spacious, which promotes better airflow. Lastly, the case can accomodate motherboards as large as E-ATX, which is pretty awesome.

back of corsair carbide 400c

Image courtesy of PC Mag review

The 400C has a clean, modern, and minimalistic design with an entirely steel exterior. The overall design of the case feels sleek and refined. It has a nice black finish with a large side-panel window, allowing you to peek inside and take a look at your components.

Although it’s not flashy, when you step into the room, the case has a presence. Its minimalistic design is almost graceful in a way – its visual points of interest are subtler compared to other flashy cases with bright lights that are dying for attention. This case, on the other hand, knows its good-looking, and doesn’t have to show off to get the attention it deserves.

On a more serious note, I’d like to talk about the actual design features of the case.

The 400C measures 18.3 x 8.5 x 16.7 (HxWxD) and weighs in at around 18 lbs. It’s a smaller version of it’s big brother, the 600C, but the case doesn’t feel cramped. The outside of the 400C is mostly steel, but the door handle, feet, and ventilation dividers are made of plastic. Overall, the case is of a solid construction.

It comes with a pre-installed 140mm fan in the front. If you wish, you can remove the 140mm fan and install three 120mm case fans instead. You can even add another two 120mm or 140mm fans in the top of the case, or mount a water cooling radiator up to 360mm in size.

The case supports up to five storage devices, two of which are 3.5-inch drives and two 2.5-inch drive bays for SSDs.

There is more plastic inside of the case. The power supply and the removable 3.5-inch drive cage are both protected by overlapping plastic shrouds. When the plastic shrouds are there (they’re removable), they hide most of the case’s wiring, giving it a cleaner look and feel.

The case also has several cable cutouts, which are lined with rubber. There are three next to the motherboard tray. If you’re installing a Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX board, you may find it difficult to use the cutouts all together. It really depends on the length of your cables.

Corsair 400C inside

The 400C isn’t a flashy case, but it’s still a classy case with a low-profile. Despite its slightly smaller size, the case can hold a lot, thanks to Corsair’s decision to get rid of 5.25-inch drive bays. The case doesn’t have any fancy LED lighting, a common trait among gaming cases. However, it does ship with a nice side-panel window, and you can always add case fans with LEDs if you wish.

I’d like this case a bit more if its cable cutouts were placed differently, as it’s somewhat difficult to use them unless you have an ATX or E-ATX motherboard. However, it’s not the end of the world, and they get the job done.

What’s the moral of the story here?

If you’re hunting for the best smallest ATX case, the Corsair Carbide 400C should be a strong contender on your list of possible candidates.

Corsair Carbide Series Air 540

Pros:

  • Dual-chamber design
  • Cool temperatures
  • Spacious interior
  • Cable management
  • Design
  • Supports EATX
  • Price

Cons:

  • USB 3.0 cable length

The Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 has taken second place on our list. It’s an ATX Cube chassis, meaning the motherboard, CPU and GPU were compartmentalized from the rest of the build. In order to achieve this feat, Corsair had to widen the chassis.

In the other section of the case, you’ll find the HDD and optical drive bays, the power supply, and plenty of extra space for wiring. On top of the compartmentalized interior, Corsair has also left room for water cooling compatibility and HDD bays with back planes.

Despite being a small ATX case, the Carbide Air 540 is very well designed. It’s two compartments keep cables and components neat and tidy, which promotes airflow, thus keeping the entire rig looking good and staying cool.

The case is mostly constructed of steel on the inside, but Corsair decided to use ABS plastic and steel mesh to give the cube ATX case a unique and good-looking style. The case measures 415 x 332 x 458mm (HxWxD). Surprisingly, this case can house motherboards as small as Mini-ITX all the way up to full-sized E-ATX boards, and has eight expansion slots in the back.

Corsair Air 540 Side

It can house two 3.5-inch drives on the floor, and has a drive rack in the back which supports up to four 2.5-inch drives as well. It even supports two 5.25-inch drives. This is the smallest ATX case on our list, yet its interior seems more spacious than most mid-tower ATX cases on the market, thanks to Corsair’s ingenious design.

Beneath the ODD bays, you’ll find two USB ports in addition to the HD Audio jacks. The case ships with three AF140L 140mm fans, one near the rear of the motherboard compartment which serves as the exhaust, and the other two are up front, mounted behind a dust filter. They serve as the case’s intake fans. Together, the fans intake cool air and exhaust the case’s warm air out the back of the case.

The left side of the case has thick plastic lines seperated by mesh, with a Corsair logo in the center. The right side of the case has flat textured plastic, where you’ll find a pair of 5.25-inch bays and the front I/O panel. The left side of the case is mostly a tempered glass window, allowing you to see inside the case. The glass is lined with steel, ensuring the panel is sturdy.

Air 540 Interior

Behind the glass panel, you’ll find the motherboard tray which can house anything up to Extended ATX motherboards, with nine cable management cutouts, eight of which have grommets in them. It also offers five tie points. You’ll even find an incredibly large access hole for sockets on the EATX boards.

The rear of the case is well ventilated, allowing air to escape thanks to the 140mm rear exhaust fan.

There are several other companies offering case’s with a similar design, but many of the other options out there are overpriced. The Air 540 is the first case of this style on the market from a reputable company with a reasonable price tag.

The case is aesthetically pleasing, delivers solid acoustic and thermal performance, and its design is truly revolutionary. If you’re looking for an affordable and small ATX case, definitely check out Corsair’s Air 540.

Cooler Master HAF XB II EVO

Pros:

  • Two seperate levels
  • Features
  • Airflow
  • Design
  • Sturdy

Cons:

  • No integrated fan control

Cooler Master’s XB is the newest member of the HAF line of cases. The HAF XB is – unlike any other case on the market – a hybrid between an ATX case and a bench table, with two seperate levels for different components.

The case allows you to put your storage devices and PSU on one level at the bottom of the case. The rest of your components, such as your motherboard, GPU, CPU, etc. are housed on the top level of this two-story enclosure.

What’s the appeal here?

The components on the second story enjoy unobstructed airflow, and at the same time, the heat from the PSU and hard drives are kept in their own enclosure. Moreover, the HAF XB’s top and side panels can all be removed, which means the case could also be used as a test bench.

Cooler Master HAF XB

The case is compatible with all modern tower-style coolers, and can support a 240mm radiator in addition to another 120mm radiator installed at the same time. The HAF XB also offers hot-swapping for two hard drives, and has carrying handles on the sides which make transportation easy.

If you’re looking for a case with exceptional build quality, you can’t go wrong with this chassis. The case is stable, sturdy, and everything sits securely in place without rattling. Even the PCI slot covers are solid, as opposed to the flimsy sheets you’ll find with many other cases.

This case ships with two of Cooler Master’s very own A12025-18CB-3EN-F1 fans, which spin at a rate of 1800 RPM. Unfortunately, they don’t have integrated fan control, which means they generate a bit more noise than I’d like. On the other hand, this case was designed with “High Air Flow” in mind, so it’s clear that cooling performance was Cooler Master’s number one priority. Besides, you can always add your own fan controller if you wish.

haf xb evo

The case has dust filters on just about every air intake in order to combat dust from entering the enclosure and clogging up fans, damaging components, etc.

In summary, the HAF XB has a unqiue design. It can be used as a small ATX case, or as a test bench, or both! The handles on the chassis’ side panels make for a great LAN box, too. Its seperate compartments help regulate internal temperatures, as the motherboard, CPU, GPU, and RAM get to enjoy unobstructed and continuous airflow.

The case also has great cable management options, as you can run wiring through the lower level of the case to the upper level where the second compartment houses most of your components. The case’s form factor isn’t for everyone, but for those looking for a small ATX case, the HAF XB is great. Oh, and you can use it as a test bench, too.

NZXT H400i

Pros:

  • Good-looking tempered glass design
  • Steel construction
  • Included RGB lighting & fan control
  • Price

Cons:

  • Slightly noisy
  • No front-panel USB-C ports
  • Only one 3.5-inch bay

The H400i shares the same overall tempered glass and steel design as its larger big brother, but it’s been stepped down in size to a Micro-ATX Mini-Tower form factor. It’s not technically an ATX case, but its interior is spacious and it comes in a small form factor, so I decided to include it on this list of the 7 smallest ATX cases. It’s an incredibly well designed case, and has won several awards.

NZXT-h400i

Micro-ATX is in an awkward position, in between the two most popular form factors. ATX motherboards are loved by many due to their mainstream practicality, and Mini-ITX is admired because of the engineering ‘wow’ that goes into them. Micro-ATX boards, on the other hand, are somewhere in the middle. Most manufacturers have forgotten about them, instead focusing on ATX and Mini-ITX form factors.

Can you blame them?

That’s where the money is. With all that being said, NZXT’s decision to release a Micro-ATX case seems a bit out of place, but I’m not complaining. The H400i’s design is spectacular, and the case is packed full of clever features.

NZXT decided to do away with 5.25-inch bays altogether – that’s right, this case doesn’t have any 5.25-inch bays. The decision to remove 5.25-inch bays altogether isn’t unusualy these days. Just about anything you could possibly need for your PC can be downloaded directly to the hard drive, which have also become increasingly large and more affordable. Lastly, rather than having to watch a movie with a DVD player, most people choose to stream their digital media via their preferred online streaming service, whether it be Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, etc.

By removing the 5.25-inch bays, NZXT has freed up plenty of space for extra GPUs, fans, radiators, cables, etc. The spacious interior promotes airflow, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

NZXT h400i

The H400i comes in a variety of colors, including black

Cooling potential is definitely the H400i’s strongsuit. Fan mounting and radiator compatibility is superb. You can fit two 140mm fans in the front, two in the roof, and a singular 120mm fan in the rear. You can even include a 280mm radiator in the front and a 120mm radiator in the back, too.

The front panel is perforated with holes along all sides, acting as a dust filter for the two 140mm fans up front (it looks pretty cool, too.)

You can install up to four 2.5-inch drives, but there’s only room for a single 3.5-inch drive, and there aren’t any 5.25-inch bays either.

At the end of the day, the H400i is one of my favorite cases from NZXT. It has a spacious and well thought-out interior despite its small form factor. Its equally functional as it is aesthetically pleasing, and to top it all off, it’s also reasonably priced.

Thermaltake Core V21 SPCC

Pros:

  • Front 200mm fan
  • Low price
  • Side-panel window
  • Lots of dust filters
  • Build quality
  • Thermal performance

Cons:

  • Installing side panels can be tricky
  • Acoustic performance
  • Build quality

Many small form factor cases restrict you in a variety of ways. You may not be able to fit your GPU of choice in the case, you can’t use a full-sized motherboard, cable management may be an issue, and the overall interior can feel cramped. Luckily, I can assure you that the Thermaltake Core V21 won’t restrict you whatsoever.

Thanks to the chassis’ cuboid design, the V21 allows you to rearrange the panels to your liking. The case has clearance for a CPU cooler with a maximum height of 185mm, and a graphics card up to 350mm in length. The power supply can be up to 200mm long when you have the case’s bottom fan installed.

V21

One of the side panels has a huge tempered-glass window, and the bottom of the case has a mesh filter for the power supply to prevent dust from clogging the exhaust fan. The panels are completely interchangeable, and can be installed in any order you choose. The front panel can be rotated and the I/O panel moved to one of the other locations, if you choose to do so. Evidently, the Thermaltake V21 is entirely customizable.

The case has six hard drive bays, so it’s safe to say you probably won’t have any issues with storage space.

Unfortunately, the case only has a singular 20mm fan at the front of the chassis. You could rely on the singular fan, but it’d be wise to install extra case fans to ensure your components get proper airflow. You can install two 240mm radiators at the top of the case or a singular 280mm radiator. Believe it or not, you can actually mount a grand total of eight case fans in this small chassis, which is pretty darn impressive.

V21 taken apart

One of the case’s biggest drawbacks is noise – because it has a fairly open design with plenty of air intakes and dust filters, the noise from the fan isn’t really contained. It’s not unbearably loud, but the fan is definitely noticeable. Once you add additional fans, it’ll be even louder. This issue can be combatted by installing a fan controller, which will help to keep the case fans spinning quietly.

The V21 is an impressive case. You can move the fans, radiators, and panels around to your heart’s content, which gives you a lot of freedom to do as you wish with the case. Moreover, the case is incredibly cheap, especially considering all of the features included in this small form factor chassis.

Cooler Master MasterBox Lite 3.1

Pros:

  • Build quality
  • Price
  • Features
  • Design
  • Looks
  • Spacious

Cons:

  • Only one pre-installed fan

Cooler Master’s MasterBox Lite 3.1 is a budget-friendly Micro-ATX case. It’s not dirt cheap, but it’s definitely affordable, and considering the quality of the case, it’s seriously a good deal.

The case has a side-panel window, which is always a nice touch. Although it is a small ATX case, it supports even the longest GPUs and the tallest CPU coolers, which goes to show how well the case was designed. Most case’s of this size impose inconvenient restrictions on the builder. The MasterBox Lite 3.1 is a good-looking case, and if you want to spice things up a bit, you can always install case fans with cool LEDs to match the rest of your gaming setup.

Masterbox Lite

Unlike many other ‘gaming’ cases on the market, this chassis doesn’t overdo it with flashy lights and features. It’s subtle, yet sleek and refined. It has a minimalistic design with a modern look and feel. It has some accent colors as an added touch (you can choose between red, white, and black.) Cooler Master includes all three trim colors in the packaging, so you can change them depending on your build’s color scheme, or how you’re feeling that day.

The entire side panel is a glass window, so you’ll want to make sure your cable management is on-point. Like many other cases of this size, it doesn’t have an 5.25-inch drive bays, resulting in a far more spacious interior. Instead of having bulky 5.25-inch bays for optical drives that either wouldn’t be installed or hardly used, the MasterBox Lite 3.1 has plenty of room for fans, radiators, GPUs, and CPU coolers.

Masterbox interior

The interior of the case has an all-black finish, which I find quite aesthetically pleasing. It can fit GPUs as long as 380mm and heatsinks as tall as 158mm. Just about every GPU and CPU cooler on the market can fit inside of this case, meaning you can use this case to house any components you’d like, without restriction.

The case’s dimensions are 456 x 208 x 381mm (HxWxD) and weighs in at around 9 lbs. It’s small and light enough to be used as a LAN case, although it’s lacking carrying handles, which would’ve been a nice touch.

I would’ve liked to see more fans pre-installed, by Thermaltake only decided to install one from the factory. However, the case can support up to four fans, and has space for a 240mm radiator on the front of the case and a 120mm radiator on the back of the case.

The PSU is mounted on the bottom of the case, which is ideal for cooling. Most Micro-ATX cases mount the PSU on top, so it’s nice to see this design choice from Thermaltake.

Overall, it’s a case full of features with a modest price. It’s a yes from me!

Conclusion

Don’t be fooled by advertisements and flashy lights. A great case is sturdy, provides good airflow, has a spacious interior, etc.

Of course, the more you pay, the higher quality case you’ll have. Nowadays, there are so many case options to choose from it becomes overwhelming.

It is a way to show off your personality – at the same time though, it’s important to buy a case that’s functional. If you are building a new gaming PC on a tight budget and you have an old computer laying around that you don’t use anymore, don’t be afraid to tear out the old parts to reuse the case!

At the end of the day, the your PC build comes down to your budget, your personal preferences, and what you’re looking to do with your PC. That’s the beauty of PC gaming – you can tailor your PC to suit your needs!