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Compact Mini-ITX Case Round-Up

ID-Cooling T60-SFX

The T60-SFX aims to be a no-thrills, compact gaming case with a modest set of features and simple styling. For a reasonable price tag, the case offers premium materials and an average amount of expandability, all while maintaining a small footprint. Given the mostly enclosed design of the case, it has the potential to be one of the quieter cases we've tested. However, that design may also be its weak point, and with only one fan, the T60-SFX leaves us wondering if it can take the heat.

Exterior

ID-Cooling's T60-SFX is an all-metal case with the outside made of aluminum and certain internal components made of steel. The combined weight of the metal and the sleek, oil-painted finish give the case a premium look and feel. The T60-SFX features removable side panels on the left and right sides, which are held in place by oversize, silver thumbscrews. Additionally, the bottoms of the screws have a special coating, which keeps case vibrations from loosening them, and prevents damage to the case's finish. Due to its small size and footprint, the T60-SFX lacks support for both 3.5-inch and 5.25-inch drive bays. Moreover, aside from the power button / LED, two USB 3.0 ports and the company’s logo, the case's exterior presents a mostly smooth and flowing look. Finally, vents for air to enter the case are punched into the case's front and side panels. Unfortunately, the case lacks dust covers for any of the vents, allowing dust to enter the case unimpeded.

As far as ports go, the T60-SFX features only a single pair of USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case. It's interesting to see that ID-Cooling didn't bother including any front-panel audio ports, considering there is plenty of room for them. Although the lack of front panel audio isn't an outright deal breaker, it will probably be a bit of a turnoff to some enthusiasts. The power button, shaped like the company's logo, also includes the power and hard drive activity lights.

The bottom of the case features four silver feet with rubber bottoms to give the case some grip on hard surfaces and to eliminate noise from any vibrations. The bottom is also stamped with a number of holes, which function as the air intake for graphics cards. Interestingly, there's no support whatsoever for adding fans to the bottom of the case, despite the size of the vent. This air intake also lacks any sort of air filtration to reduce dust accumulation, and as always, we recommend keeping the system above the floor.

 The rear of the case features a single 92mm 3-pin exhaust fan with an external guard, which is of decent quality given the price of the case. As with most enthusiast-orientated cases, the T60-SFX includes two full-size expansion slots to allow for the installation of double-slot graphics card with lengths up to 10.35 inches.

Interior

From the beginning it was obvious that the T60-SFX was a compact case, and once the two side panels are removed it becomes ever clearer that space is at a premium inside this case. The case includes mounting space for two 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs, both of which mount to a vertical bracket that attaches to the bottom of the case and to the 3.5-inch HDD cage at the top of the case via screws. From this view we can also see the power extension and front panel cables, as well as the SFX power supply mount and HDD cage.

At this point, there are a couple of things worth noting. First, if you take a look at the top and bottom of the case where the front panel transitions into the rest of the case, there are two joints where the front panel mounts. With both side panels removed, the front portion of the case moves freely sideways and can be removed for better access to the inside of the case while building. The second thing is that the hard drive cage that mounts to the top of the case is secured with four Torx screws, which makes it a bit harder to remove if you don't have the right screwdriver. The cage serves no other purpose other than to hold a hard drive, so we're at a loss as to why ID-Cooling thought it was necessary to use Torx screws to secure it. We would have liked to remove it to reduce clutter and provide better airflow since we don't have a 3.5-inh hard drive; however, since most people don't have the tools to remove the screws used, we opted to leave it in place for the test.

After removing the SSD holder, we can finally move on to starting the build. There's no cutout or room behind the motherboard for cable management or for access to the back plate on a CPU cooler. There also isn't anything inside the case to assist with cable management, so the use of a modular power supply will be very beneficial.

The Build

The T60-SFX comes with a small packet of screws and motherboard standoffs, as well as a brief instruction manual with instructions in both Chinese and English.

The cable selection for this case is as sparsely populated as the case's front panel. Included is a single USB 3.0 cable, as well as the standard set of front-panel power connections with a split power LED cable for compatibility with both ASUS and standard motherboards.

Building inside the T60-SFX is a bit of a challenge due to the case's compact size and requires a bit of patience. For those who have the option of installing their CPU cooler without access to the backside of the motherboard, installing the CPU cooler last will make working with this case significantly easier. Other than having little room to work with, building inside this case is fairly straightforward and free of surprises. As seen below, there isn't really much space to store excess cables, and as we mentioned earlier a modular PSU will go a long way toward making your build look cleaner.

The only reason why the panel behind the motherboard on this case is removable is so users can install an SFX power supply near the front of the case and so that they can tighten the second set of screws on the 3.5-inch HDD cage. Some users reported issues with getting the power supply fastened to the case with the power cord inserted. We're happy to report that we have not experienced that issue with our power supply, although results may vary.

After the build is finished and everything comes together, the case maintains its modern, minimalist look. Aside from the faint blue glow from the power LED, the case looks just the same as it did before we started.

  • Onus
    Honestly I cannot say I liked this one. Yes, it provides good information on three specific cases, but is missing too much information to be useful as a "Round-Up." I would like to have seen a few more case styles tested, such as one of the InWin BP655 series, a Prodigy or Neutron, and one of the small cheap "breadbox" cases.
    Also, I know time is limited, but another fifteen minutes to install an additional fan in the QBX and test the author's otherwise reasonable supposition would have significantly increased the value of the information provided about that case.
    Reply
  • jtd871
    If the 970 card that you used is that loud and/or annoying, I wonder why you didn't select a larger (although still within standard PCIe dimensions) dual-fan card, instead. Additionally, these cases are relatively large compared to the volume of the components, which is going to make airflow really challenging. The beauty of *really* small cases is that there is less extra volume for hot air to accumulate inside the case (but there needs to be lots of available ventilation for each of the components).

    I didn't read the write-up on the individual cases, but did you try setting the PSU as an exhaust to improve airflow?
    Reply
  • JasonL265
    Was this an older article that was just publish today. They kept on complaining about Lian Li's more expensive price tag and even listed it as a con for the case. But the ID case is like $30 bucks more, and instead they say the ID case has a "decent" price
    Reply
  • jjb8675309
    Would have been nice to see more budget oriented cases geared towards bottom dollar (apu) mini-itx builds.
    Reply
  • cmiconi
    Was this an older article that was just publish today. They kept on complaining about Lian Li's more expensive price tag and even listed it as a con for the case. But the ID case is like $30 bucks more, and instead they say the ID case has a "decent" price

    The ID-Cooling case was selling for just above its MSRP of $79.99 back when the article was written. Since then the price has doubled on Newegg for some reason. Additionally, the charts in the article were made with the case's MSRP and not its current selling price.
    Reply
  • cmiconi
    I also wanted to clarify some of the questions.

    The case selection of the round-up was intended to compare cases of a similar size. When we put out our call for cases, we got almost a dozen cases in two weeks, in all sorts of different designs (and more are still on their way). One thing we didn't get a lot of was budget cases. Once we get through reviewing most of the cases that came in, we might put together another round-up of 3-5 budget mini-ITX cases.

    The mini GTX 970 was chosen so that we didn't have to worry about the graphics card not fitting into any of the cases that we received. We did get some cases in which a regular size card won't fit. So, instead of testing with two different graphics cards, we can use a single card which helps to keep a consistent baseline for the test results across all of the cases.
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    What, no Silverstone cases? They have a good range of mini-ITX cases. The SG05 and the SG13 go for $30-45 USD on Newegg. Surely that's a nicely-priced budget case.
    Reply
  • kyle382
    I have been waiting so long for SFF case reviews from toms. Thank you! I didn't even know about the ID cooling brand until I read this.
    Reply
  • kyle382
    16937276 said:
    What, no Silverstone cases? They have a good range of mini-ITX cases. The SG05 and the SG13 go for $30-45 USD on Newegg. Surely that's a nicely-priced budget case.

    calm down there buddy...more will coming.

    ".. from various vendors including Corsair, Cougar, Deep Cool, ID Cooling, Lian Li and more."


    Reply
  • jjb8675309
    16937054 said:
    Once we get through reviewing most of the cases that came in, we might put together another round-up of 3-5 budget mini-ITX cases.

    That would be awesome. Looking for a $40-60 budget case right now.
    Reply