Best Smallest ATX Cases For Compact PC Builds In 2021

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If you are a PC enthusiast, then it is safe to say that building a new PC is one of the most exciting things that one can do, and why shouldn’t it be. After all, you are putting together something that you have been wanting to for a long, long time, and it is finally happening.

Most of the time, it does not matter if you are building your PC or building it for someone else. The fun is always there. Now, if the case is to choose the smallest ATX case, then you have to be careful when making that decision.

The smaller the case, the harder it becomes for a lot of people to work in it; at least, that is what happens to me. Still, these cases are a lot more in demand than you might know, and in this roundup, we are going to explore the best ones.


Smallest ATX Cases Rated From Pro To Starter Compact PCs


Image Name Price Rating Specs
NeoGamr’s Pick Thermaltake Core
G3 
  • Dimensions: 17.9H x 5.5W x 47.6D Inch
  • Drive Bays: 2 x 3.5 or 2.5 Inch
  • Side Panel: Transparent Window
  • Expansion Slot: 2x
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0″ 1x HD Audio Port
Editor’s Pick Cooler Master
HAF XB EVO 
  • Dimensions: 17.4L x 13W x 16.7H inch
  • Drive Bays: 4x 2.5 or 3.5″ 2x 5.25 Inch
  • Side Panel: Mesh or Glass Top Panel
  • Expansion Slot: 7x
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, HD Audio
Overall Best NZXT H500 
  • Dimensions: 18.1H x 8.2W x 16.8D Inch
  • Drive Bays: 2x 2.5 or 3.5 Inch
  • Side Panel: Tempered Glass
  • Expansion Slot: 7x
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 & 1x Audio/Mic
CorsairCarbide
Series Air 540 
  • Dimensions: 16.3L x 13.1W x 18H Inch
  • Drive Bays: 2x 5.25, 4x 2.5, 2x 3.5
  • Side Panel: Glass Windowed
  • Expansion Slot: 8x
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.1 & Audio/Mic
Fractal Design
Meshify C 
  • Dimensions: 16.2L x 8.5W x 17.8H Inch
  • Drive Bays: 2x 3.5 or 2.5 Inch
  • Side Panel: Tempered Glass
  • Expansion Slot: 7x
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x 3.0 & Audio Ports
Corsair 275
Airflow 
  • Dimensions: 17L x 8.5W x 17H inch
  • Drive Bays: 2x 3.5 & 4x 2.5 Inch
  • Side Panel:
  • Expansion Slot: 7x + 2x vertical
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.1 & Audio/Mic Port
ROSEWILL ATX 
  • Dimensions: 16.06H x 7.28W x 17.52D Inch
  • Drive Bays: 2x 5.25, 3x 3.5 & 2x 2.5 Inch
  • Side Panel: Acrylic Side Window
  • Expansion Slot: 7x
  • Default I/O Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0 & Audio In/Out
Thermaltake Level
20 VT
  • Dimensions: 13.7H x 13W x 16.9D inch
  • Drive Bays: 3x 2.5 or 3.5 Inch
  • Side Panel: Tempered Glass (L x R x F x T)
  • Expansion Slot: 5x
  • Default I/O Ports: 2x 3.0 USB, 2x USB 2.0″ 1x HD Audio

Best Smallest ATX Case


Honestly, over the past couple of years, these cases have exploded in the market, which means that you have a lot of options that are waiting to be just yours. You just have to go ahead and make the right buying decision, and you will do just fine.

We are going to walk you through all the cases that we think are the best bang for your money and will serve you the best. You might see an odd choice or two, but in the end, all of these cases are going to be suitable for your builds.


#1 – Thermaltake Core G3


– Specifications:

  • Micro-slim chassis that can be easily placed.
  • Dual placement lawyers.
  • LAN party-ready.
  • Vertical GPU mount.
  • Fully modular design.
  • Can support 2x 120mm front fans and 1x 120mm top.
  • This case also supports a 240mm Radiator.
  • CPU cooler height limit is 110mm.
  • GPU length limitation: 310mm or 12.2 Inch (With Front Fan).
  • PSU clearance limitation: 130mm.
  • Supported motherboard sizes 6.7 x 6.7 (Mini ITX), 9.6 x 9.6 (Micro ATX), 12 x 9.6 (ATX).

– Advantages:

  • You have support for the ATX motherboard.
  • The case uses an SFX power supply.
  • Affordable.
  • Ample dust filtration.
  • Rubber feet for horizontal positioning.

– Drawbacks:

  • The cable management is average at best.
  • The acrylic window gets scratched easily.

Over the past couple of years, Thermaltake has managed to earn a name for themselves in the market for great components overall. Whether we are discussing their coolers, cases, or their power supplies, the company does mean business and have some of the best portfolios that one could ask for.

With that said, their Core lineup is great for anyone who is looking for a minimalistic chassis, and the Thermaltake Core G3 is just what we need for a small ATX build. The case is small enough to fit under your TV or a mounted monitor, but at the same time, provides ample space for you to set it up and be worry-free.

The greatest thing about this case is that it has full support for ATX motherboards. So, what has changed? Well, instead of using the standard ATX power supply, this one uses an SFX unit, which allows the size of the case to be reduced significantly.

The low price is also one of the most attractive features of this case, and you are getting ample dust filtration that allows you to build whatever sort of system you want without having too much worry about the dust.

The window is sized appropriately, and you will not have any problems as far as looking inside your system is concerned. The included rubber feet for horizontal positioning is certainly one of the best things that I have seen lately.

Sadly, there are a few things that are less than optimal; for starters, the cable management could have been a lot better, and Thermaltake could have used a tempered glass window instead of acrylic, which scratches easily.

– Our Verdict:

Honestly, the Thermaltake Core G3 is not my type of the case, but overall, it has seriously impressed me with how easy it is to build in and manage. This is a great product from the company for anyone who is looking for something compact.


#2 – Cooler Master HAF XB EVO


– Specifications:

  • It can transform into a test bench.
  • Comes with two trifle fans..
  • Up to 4 HDDs or SSDs can be installed.
  • Dimension Lenght 17.4 x Width 13 x Height 16.7 inch.
  • Supports any ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX Motherboards.
  • Fans support 1x 200mm top, 2x 120mm or 140mm Front and 1x 120mm or 2x 80mm Fan.
  • Supports an AIO with 240mm or 120mm Radiator.
  • Maximum GPU Length 13.1 Inch.
  • Maximum CPU cooler fan height 7.1 Inch.

– Advantages:

  • One of the best-built cases around in the market.
  • Side handles for easy carrying.
  • The cube shape allows for an easier building experience.
  • Side panels can be removed with ease.
  • Removable motherboard tray.
  • Great airflow and cooling options.

– Drawbacks:

  • At 18 lbs, it is one of the heavier cases available in the market.
  • The plastic tabs on the front panel can easily break.

Cooler Master has built a legacy on creating some of the finest cases in the market. Granted, their new direction is a bit different than it used to be back in the old days, but that does not mean that you cannot access their legacy products, especially if you are looking for something entirely different than what the market has to offer.

The HAF series or High Airflow series has always been one of the pinnacles, and the same goes for the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO as it is one of the odder ones in the market, but at the same time, it delivers excellent value for money.

If you are looking for a case that feels like it is built like a tank, this is the case that you should be going with as it delivers exceptional build quality. You are also getting handles on the side that makes it easier to carry around. The box shape is not conventional, but it works well.

You are also getting access to all the side panels and can easily remove them. Even the motherboard tray can be removed with ease, and you are getting one of the best ventilation and cooling options. The case truly lives up to the name it has created.

Sadly, the case is one of the heavier ones for a small ATX case at 18 lbs, and there are some plastic tabs on the front panel that can break easily.

– Our Verdict:

Overall, if you are looking for a case that not only looks like it is something out of a Transformer’s movie but also a highly functional case, the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO is something that you should be looking at.


#3 – NZXT H500


– Specifications:

  • All steel construction.
  • Optimized for airflow and liquid cooling.
  • Tempered glass panel.
  • Water cooling ready.
  • Fan Support 2x 120mm/ 2x 140mm, 1x 120mm and 1x Rear 120mm.
  • Radiator Support Front 280mm and Rear 120mm.
  • GPU Clearance is 381mm or 15 inch.
  • CPU Cooler clearance is 165mm.
  • Supported Motherboards Mini-ITX, MicroATX, and ATX.

– Advantages:

  • One of the most minimalistic designs.
  • Great pricing.
  • Cable management is super easy.
  • The headphone clamp accessory is nice to have.

– Drawbacks:

There is no front panel mesh for direct airflow.
The reset switch is oddly missing.

For the longest time, NZXT has been a fan favourite for a lot of reasons. Their cases are amazing, and we are all well aware of that. The great thing about the company is that they have cases that are designed with minimalism in mind, and while that might not sit well with everyone, the overall aesthetic is great to begin with.

With that said, the NZXT H500 is the case that we are looking at today, and it is one of the simplest looking cases that you can buy that has some great tricks up its sleeve. So, what is so good about this case to warrant a spot on our list? Well, let’s look.

For starters, you are getting a design that is on the minimalistic side of things, which will make everything look good and neat. Not just that, you are also getting one of the best cases as far as the overall pricing is concerned, and you are getting some excellent cable management, as well.

Not to forget, the added headphone clamp accessory is excellent because it allows you to have a spot for easily managing your headphones.

Sadly, with so much to love, there are some downsides about this case that I have to mention here. For starters, you are not getting access to any front panel mesh, so there is no direct airflow, and at the same time, there is no reset switch either.

– Our Verdict:

If you are truly looking for a case that is minimalist in every sense of the way but still offers a great building experience, then the NZXT H500 is the case that you should be getting as it provides one of the most flexible building experiences and the case manages to look great while doing so, as well.

Granted, the lack of direct airflow and a reset switch might make some people raise their eyebrows, but if you are looking for something good, this is the case that you should be going for.


#4 – Corsair Carbide Series Air 540


– Specifications:

  • Dual chamber design for easy installation.
  • High-performance AF140L fans included.
  • Tons of expansion space for coolers and radiators.
  • Supports motherboards up to E-ATX.
  • The maximum CPU cooler height is 170mm.
  • Compatible Radiator 120mm, 240mm, 280mm, 360mm.
  • Max GPU length support is 320mm or 12.5 Inches.

– Advantages:

  • Excellent support for water cooling and air cooling.
  • It can accommodate many drives with ease.
  • The screw-less and tool-less installation is a breeze.
  • Plenty of space for multiple radiator configurations.
  • Ships with three high quality 140mm fans.

– Drawbacks:

  • The case can get noisy when the fans ramp up.
  • There are no anti-vibration pads.

A list of cases can never be fully complete if you are not including something from Corsair, and that is something that we cannot let happen. Corsair makes some of the finest cases that are available, and you have to be able to get the best one that you want without having to worry much.

The Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 is one of the older cases from Corsair, but if you are looking for something that has a smaller footprint, you can easily get your hands on the best possible case without any issues that might come your way.

Now the best thing about this case is that it is one of the best when you are talking about cooling support. Whether you are talking air cooling or water cooling, there are plenty of options available. You can put plenty of drives in the case, as well.

The tool-less and screw-less installation allows for one of the best experiences, and you are getting loads of space for up to two 240mm or 280mm radiators. You are also getting three high quality 140mm fans right out of the box.

Sadly, the massive interior of the case allows it to be a bit noisy when the fans finally start to ramp up, and for some reason, there are no anti-vibration pads for the power supply, which is not usual when you are talking about higher-end cases.

– Our Verdict:

It is safe to say that Corsair has hit a home run with the Corsair Carbide Series Air 540. It certainly is one of the smallest but at the same time, one of the biggest cases available in terms of interior. Granted, it takes more space due to the dual chamber design but also provides one of the cleanest installation experiences that you can ask for.


#5 – Fractal Design Meshify C


– Specifications:

  • Angular front Mesh panel provides great air intake.
  • Easy-To-Clean filters on top and bottom.
  • Supports any kind of Radiators.
  • Fan support from 120mm to 140mm.
  • Easily supports ATX, mATX, and ITX motherboards.
  • GPU Max length support is 315mm or 12.5 Inches with front fan mounted.

– Advantages:

  • You can simultaneously install a 360mm radiator on the front and a 280mm radiator on the top.
  • All fan filters can be easily removed for easy maintenance.
  • The overall performance is excellent.

– Drawbacks:

  • You will have to remove the 3.5-inch drive cage to install the 360mm radiator.

Fractal Design easily ended up becoming one of our favourite case manufacturers over the past couple of years for their amazing cases, and to be honest, the company is great when you are talking about excellent cases that are full of value and great build quality, as well.

The Fractal Design Meshify C is something that is made for people who are looking to get something that is on the smaller side of things. However, if you want a bigger case, don’t worry, Fractal Design has you covered, but for now, we want to look at Meshify C and see how good it is.

For starters, despite being petite and tiny, the case comes with simultaneous support for a triple-fan radiator on the front and a dual-fan radiator on the top. You are also getting access to front, top, and bottom fan filters, front removal of bottom panel filter, and excellent overall build quality that will put a lot of other cases to shame.

If you are looking for something that allows for an excellent building experience, this is the case that you should be going for because, simply put, the experience is just excellent across the board. The case also has an amazing performance in terms of thermals and acoustic, which allows for a worry-free experience and ensures that you are not going to run into any other problems.

My only concern here is that when you are talking about installing a 360mm radiator, you will have to remove the 3.5-inch drive cage, which seems understandable since most people, including myself, don’t even use it. But it is a cost that you will have to go through.

– Our Verdict:

Overall, it is safe to say that Fractal Design has done a fantastic job with Meshify C. It is not the biggest case in the market, but that is not what it is trying to be. For the size, it does its job good as a matter of fact, better than some of the larger cases. So, you are in safe hands with this case.


#6 – Corsair 275R Airflow


– Specifications:

  • Slatted panel for ample airflow.
  • Clean and modern styling.
  • Comes with top, front, and floor Dust Filters.
  • Includes three 120mm fans with support for 6x fans.
  • Supports Radiators from 120mm to 360mm.
  • Max supported GPU length is 370mm or 14.5 Inches.
  • Max CPU cooler height is 170mm.
  • Supports motherboards from Mini-ITX, Micro-ATX, and ATX.

– Advantages:

  • One of the best design languages.
  • Great value for money.
  • The stock performance is impressive, to say the least.
  • Ample cooling support.

– Drawbacks:

  • Not a lot of cable management options.

We are finally heading towards the end of the list, but we still have some notable offerings that we would want to look at. Again, we are looking at the more affordable offerings from Corsair because, well, they do deliver excellent value for money, and you can easily choose these cases without having to think twice.

The Corsair 275R Airflow is a great offering that comes in either the airflow variant or one with a solid front and no mesh. The choice is yours, of course. This case is packing a lot of punch for the price you are paying, but just how good is it overall? That is what we are going to find out.

For starters, one of the best things about this case is that it brings rather bold styling to a market of cases that have started to look the same for a large part. But that is not all, and you are getting an excellent value for money in this case. I highly doubt that you can do better for the same price elsewhere.

I was confused whether this case is going to perform any better because, again, this does not cost a lot of money, and it is built with very light but sturdy material, but you would be surprised by how good this case is in terms of performance. Even on stock configuration, the case manages to keep an impressive range of thermals.

Not just that, the cooling support also remains excellent to the point that you will not be running into any problems that may come your way.

Honestly, the only thing that I didn’t like about this case is that there are not a lot of flexibilities as far as cable management is concerned, but other than that, you are getting something that is going to run well in all conditions.

– Our Verdict:

The Corsair 275R Airflow is one of the cases that you should be going with if you are looking for something great at delivering good airflow and, at the same time, does not cost a lot of money and has a small footprint.


#7 – ROSEWILL ATX


– Specifications:

  • Tool-less installation.
  • Plenty of airflows.
  • Included 2x 120mm fans.
  • SECC steel construction.
  • Supports up to 380mm or 14.9 Inch GPU.
  • Comes with a Radiator support of 240mm.
  • Supports motherboards from ATX, Micro ATX, ITX, Mini-ITX.
  • Fan support is only 120mm.
  • Max supported CPU cooler height is 154mm.

– Advantages:

  • Solid overall build quality.
  • Decent looks.
  • Good cooling support.
  • Plenty of airflows.
  • Easy to build in.

– Drawbacks:

  • Lacks almost all the modern features.

Indeed, Rosewill is not a company that happens to be as common in the market when you are discussing cases, but over the past couple of years, they have managed to release some of the most impressive cases in the market along with some other offerings. If you are on a budget, these cases are great to look at.

The ROSEWILL ATX (Challenger S) case is one of the affordable cases available, and considering how we are focusing on smaller cases, this one fits the profile just right. But is it any good? Well, that is what we are here to figure out because, again, you are not going to overlook

The moment I looked at this case, I was hit by a lot of nostalgia because it reminded me of the old days of PC gaming, and while I will not call this case bad, it is more of an acquired taste. Thankfully, Rosewill did not cheap out on the components, so the overall built quality is still great, and you are getting good value for money.

There are ample airflow and good support for cooling. Even though the optical drive bays look out of place, the case just has that pleasing look to it that might suit a lot of people. At the same time, you have to understand that the case does not adhere to most of the modern standards, which means that you are not getting a clean front or any tempered glass.

The Rosewill Challenger S is a great case for the price you are paying, but at the same time, you have to understand that this case is not something that a lot of people are going to like. It is truly built for those who are still looking for the classic look that was popular in the yesteryears.

– Our Verdict:

Overall, the Rosewill Challenger S is a good case but largely for those who are not looking for any advanced features but only want to get something that is simple and gets the job is done, and that is the biggest selling point of this case.


Honorable Mention #1 – Thermaltake Level 20 VT


– Specifications:

  • 4mm thick tempered glass panels on all sides.
  • Compact design.
  • Interchangeable panel design.
  • Ample radiator mounting space.
  • Supported motherboard sizes 6.7” x 6.7” (Mini ITX), 9.6” x 9.6” (Micro ATX)
  • Supports fans of 120mm, 140mm, and 200mm.
  • Supports Radiator from 140mm, 240mm, and 180mm.
  • CPU cooler height limit is 185mm.
  • Max GPU length limit is 350mm or 13.7 Inch.

– Advantages:

  • The case is an interesting concept that can work well.
  • The glass panels can be interchanged with ease.
  • Assemble the case the way you want to.
  • Removable drive bays if you wish to.
  • It can be placed the way you want to.

– Drawbacks:

  • Managing cables is easy but hiding them is difficult.
  • The ventilation is not the best.

Trust Thermaltake to make a case that does not look like what others are offering, and it certainly is a good thing because you are getting good product differentiation in the market, and that allows for some excellent case options that

The Thermaltake Level 20 VT is just that, and as a part of the Level 20 series, it certainly is one of the more premium cases. Now, I don’t like small cases, and that is evident from the fact that I own a Level 20 GT myself, so trying out a smaller case is always troubling, but hey, we have to do this.

The case follows an interesting concept that is made with sturdy materials, including interchangeable glass panels. Not just that, you can assemble the case the way you want to, thanks to the modular concept being in the works here. You can remove whatever drive bays you wish to remove, and you can position it any way you want to.

This level of freedom is certainly a great one, but at the same time, it also comes with some restrictions that are associated with it. For starters, you are limited to how you can manage the cables and hide them, considering how the case is glass from all the sides.

Sadly, the case also has somewhat average ventilation mainly because of the large glass panels and how less of space there is between the panels and the mesh filters.

– Our Verdict:

Although the Thermaltake Level 20 VT might look like a case that is not built for a good gaming system, you would be surprised at the potential it has for a lot of powerful builds. As long as you are aware of some of the few limitations, you will do just fine when it comes to building a good PC inside of it.


Buying The Smallest ATX Case: Aspects To Remember


Now that the products are out of our way, the next step is to start looking at all the aspects that you must keep in mind to make the right buying decision. Again, this is very important and not something that you can overlook.


What Are ATX Case Sizes?


The important thing to understand here is that ATX cases are available in several sizes, including the standard ATX cases, mini-ITX cases, and micro-ATX cases.

Different types of PC Cases by NZXT

However, as far as the sizes are concerned, you are also getting E-ATX and XL-ATX, with the latter one not being as common, but these are some of the sizes that are available in the market. All the cases that we have mentioned here are fully compatible with the standard ATX size of motherboards, and some of them are even compatible with E-ATX.

Before you buy a case, be sure that the motherboard does fit so you do not have any issues that may come your way or the installation gets compromised because we don’t want that, to begin with, do we?


Affordability, Cable Management & Quality


When you are buying a new case, there are going to be a lot of factors that might end up influencing your buying decision and could swing it in one direction or other. Whatever the case might be, you have to be certain that you are not looking at something that is not good enough.

Image of a white gaming pc

Affordability is a huge factor that you must understand because, without that, you might not be able to get the right case for you. Another important factor here is the cable management because, again, without proper cable management, you might not be able to get far.

Last but not the least, you are going to need a solid build quality because if you wish to use a case for a longer time, you will need solid build quality as you cannot just go with something that is not built properly or is flimsy.


Proper Dust Filters & Airflow


Moving on, another important factor that you must start looking at is just how good the dust filtration and airflow of the case is going to be. This is not difficult to find out, given how you can easily seek help from reviews, but we’ll tell you why it is important.

Airflow of Corsair Gaming PC Case

For starters, the reason why dust filters are needed is to ensure that the dust is kept out or at least filtered to the point that there is not a desert inside your PC case. The airflow should be good, so your components can breathe with ease without having to struggle with keeping the temperatures low.

High temperatures are never good for any case that is available in the market, and you are only going to run into more issues. Rest assured, finding cases with such properties is not difficult.


Build’s Components & Motherboard Size


The next step is to start looking at the components that are going to go inside your build. We are never going to suggest that you opt for a case that cannot fit the components with ease. The thing is that even if the case is big enough, sometimes the components end up creating some issues.

Person showing tho connect motherboard in pc case

For starters, we sometimes run into issues with factors such as the height of the cooler or height motherboard touching the radiator and other similar factors. Therefore, whenever you are buying a new case, be sure that these things are sorted out beforehand, and do check the specs as well.

Checking the specs out is going to help you determine whether you are looking at the right case or not because, again, this could be an issue otherwise, and we don’t want to run into those issues at all.


Tool-Less Design


While this might not sound like a big deciding factor for a lot of people, but in many cases, having a tool-less design makes life easier as far as the overall building process is concerned. If you are truly looking to be certain that you are not going to spend hours building your PC, get a case that has a tool-less design, and that will help you get the best possible experience.

Image of a White Small ATX PC Case

Finding a good tool-less case is not going to be a difficult process, either. Most of the modern cases do bring that design, so it is easier for you to build your PC.



Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – What is the best smallest ATX case?

Finding the best smallest ATX case is not going to be a difficult ordeal, to be honest. You just have to find the case that fits your requirements, and you’re good to go.

#2 – How big is a mini ATX case?

A mini ITX case can be a very large or a very small case, depending on how it is made. There are a lot of different ways cases can be made. It all depends on the case manufacturer.

#3 – Will Mini ATX fit ATX case?

If you are planning on fitting a mini ATX or a mini ITX motherboard inside an ATX case, you will find the appropriate mounting holes for those form factors, but it is going to look way out of place, and it is better to avoid.

#4 – Should I get a full tower or mid?

It all depends on what you are building. If the components that you are adding require a good amount of place to breathe and you want to be sure that the whole case has the right thermals and acoustics, you can make your decision based on that.

#5 – Is Mini ATX good for gaming?

The form factor is not something that can decide whether a case is good for gaming or not. As long as you are choosing the right components and they are being adequately cooled, you are going to do just fine.


Final Verdict:

I’ll be honest with you; choosing the right case, whether you are building a budget PC or a really expensive one, can be a tedious task. I have been in this situation time and again, and choosing the case is often the hardest because, unlike other components, the determinants on which we judge a case are different

Thankfully, if you are looking for smaller ATX cases, this is the perfect list for you because we have mentioned all the great cases that have come to mind. The criteria here was a lot simpler than one might think. We just had to look at cases that were smaller in footprint and still managed to house a full-sized ATX motherboard.

All the cases have been tried and tested, so you will not be let down by how they perform.

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