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Any major disadvantages to getting an mini-ITX/m-ATX case?

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June 25, 2012 5:04:06 PM

Hi, I'm looking to build my first ever PC and am stuck on an issue regarding cases. My overall budget is £750 (roughly $1100), and I'm interested in building a small form factor PC. However, I'm struggling to work out the difference between mini-ITX and micro-ATX cases, as in which one would be best for the system I'm planning to build.

My planned specs are:

Intel 2500k/3570k

corresponding motherboard, Z77

a 28nm graphics card, either the 7850/7870 or Nvidia's 660 whenever it finally comes out

128gb SSD AND 500gb HD

probably a 500/550W PSU.

Basically, I was wondering what downsides there would be for going with a smaller case (bearing in mind that I have no interest in SLI or Crossfire), and would I be better with a larger case, say, the Fractal R3 (which quite appeals)?

Thanks for looking

a c 164 ) Power supply
June 25, 2012 5:10:04 PM

you want to stick an AMD 7870 in a mini itx case? i would just get the fractal R3.
a b ) Power supply
June 25, 2012 5:22:52 PM

your GPU may not fit in, they tend to have poor cable management so the cables on your PSU may bundle up restricting airflow unless you're getting a modular PSU and shorter cables, and your HDD upgrade may be limited to make room for your GPU. best case scenario, everything fits in very, very tightly.
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a c 111 ) Power supply
June 25, 2012 5:28:44 PM

GPU and cooling may have problems.
a b ) Power supply
June 25, 2012 5:36:58 PM

Why not? I've stuck a GTX670 into a Silverstone SG05. And it's only 7.1/4" high, 8.3/4" wide and 11" deep. Of course ITX has a few drawbacks like very limited motherboard choice and single slot expansion. Beyond that, you can install them in all but the smallest of ITX cases (if you still want a graphics card) through uTX cases right up to full ATX cases and beyond (but the tiny motherboard will look ridiculous in the big cases).

uATX on the other hand has a much bigger selection of motherboards (and cheaper boards too), has more expansion slots, can handle much more memory, but also needs the larger case.

I should say though, my i5-3550/gtx670/SG05 system set me back ~£1100 so you may very well be looking at uATX to keep within your budget.
June 25, 2012 7:02:50 PM

Thanks for the reply guys. I liked the idea of a smaller PC as I'll be trasporting it to France and back again a few times in the coming months, but I could always get an Ipad or one of the new Ultrabooks and leave the PC in one place.

Am I right to think that as a first time builder I might be better off with a full size case so I don't have the stress of squeezing everything in?

And finally, are there any superior alternatives to the R3 at a similar price point? I like the minimalist design and a quiet PC is a big bullet point on my checklist.

Again, cheers for the replies so far
a c 126 ) Power supply
June 25, 2012 7:24:05 PM

I love the smaller cases. I have built two.
In both, the ventilation is very good, plenty for the strongest single graphics card you can buy today.

1) Check my sig using a Silverstone TJ-08E case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2) For a backup pc, I used a lian li Q08 ITX case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It would hold all your parts too. 9" x11" x13".
It is aluminum, so it is not very heavy. But, remember that you would have to transport a monitor too, so I would leave it at home and take a laptop on trips.

All the parts are standard sizes, so there is no problem assembling them. For the Q08, there is definitely a proper order to do things but really no big deal.
June 25, 2012 7:31:10 PM

geofelt said:
I love the smaller cases. I have built two.
In both, the ventilation is very good, plenty for the strongest single graphics card you can buy today.

1) Check my sig using a Silverstone TJ-08E case.

2) For a backup pc, I used a lian li Q08 ITX case. It would hold all your parts too. 9" x11" x13".
It is aluminum, so it is not very heavy. But, remember that you would have to transport a monitor too, so I would leave it at home and take a laptop on trips.

All the parts are standard sizes, so there is no problem assembling them. For the Q08, there is definitely a proper order to do things but really no big deal.



Thanks for the reply, it won't just be short trips, it'll be for 3 or so months at a time, with a monitor already there and other accessories. I think I'll shop around, and compare getting a small case to maybe using the money saved otherwise on a better GFX card
a b ) Power supply
June 25, 2012 7:59:12 PM

Hi :) 

I own computer shops in the UK....

The main disadvantage to a small case for a gamer is HEAT.....big graphics cards produce a LOT of it...and small cases unless extremely well built (expensive) have crap air flow...

I wouldnt.....not if you are a gamer...

All the best Brett :) 
July 13, 2012 7:25:41 AM

Hi Guys,

I'm in the process of building my self a htpc/gaming pc and came over this thread. Fitting a mid/high end gpu into a slim itx case would be very difficult without some modification. It may also be difficult to get this running ok temps.

I've just read an article about a new case from CoolerMaster. It's called Elite 120 Advanced. It is a "cube" but it will actually fit a full sixe atx psu and can house a GTX690. It is stated that it will have a good airflow as well. It will be available in the end of july. So i'm going to wait and read reviews of this before I make up mind.

CM Elite 120 Advanced is not a very "sexy" case but it is estimated to be priced fairly low so it might worth a try..

Just my little tip of the day :) 

July 13, 2012 7:40:01 AM

If you get any aftermarket heatsink/cooler you could have trouble in a case that size as well. I am certain you can find a small one or make it work, but I bought a ATX Mid Tower myself (Elite 334 Nvidia), and I am already buying a new bigger case, because it just doesn't have the space I need, especially for my heatsink/cooler. Go bigger there are few drawbacks to going bigger, pretty much just transportation, and all in all that can be worked out.
!