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Hands-On With Five Mini-ITX Cases
By , Manuel Masiero

This hands-on test clearly shows that Mini-ITX cases cannot be generalized, and that their individual strengths should be matched to your individual applications for best results. Thus, consumers looking for a gaming system might not be too happy with the Luxa2 LM100 Mini, which was designed with HTPC use in mind. On the other hand, SilverStone's SG05, with its 300 W PSU and dual-slot graphics card support, might be simply too large for simple desktop use and tight space constraints.

Users generally looking for a general-purpose Mini-ITX case should consider the Lian Li PC-Q08. Sure, it's the largest Mini-ITX case in this test, but it has the most flexible configuration options. It is also good for anyone who wants to use standard-size components instead of specialized hardware, such as slim-line optical drives or low-profile graphics cards.

For budget-minded customers, the Chieftec BT-02B is the best choice. You have to accept some compromises when it comes to looks and configuration flexibility. There is not much space for large (high) CPU coolers, and graphics cards have to stay within a maximum length of 19 cm.

Users looking for the smallest possible Mini-ITX case should take a look at the Antec ISK 310-150. The size inevitably means that there are some restrictions when it comes to flexibility, but it is suitable for office desktop use. Despite its compact dimensions, the enclosure accommodates low-profile graphics cards, though you should invest in proper ventilation if you go down this road.

The SilverStone SG05 is an excellent Mini-ITX gaming case with dual-slot graphics card support and a powerful 300 W PSU.

Multimedia enthusiasts who can see themselves investing a little more money in a smart HTPC system and who want to control the device with a remote control should consider the Luxa2 LM100 Mini. However, it is not a fully-fledged HTPC, given the small display and limited expansion possibilities.

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