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Hands-On With Five Mini-ITX Cases

Chieftec BT-02B

With a width of 13.5 cm and a height of 30 cm, the Chieftec BT-02B is a PC tower in miniature form. The case can be operated horizontally or vertically. With its black cover and front panel it does not have much to offer in the way of looks, at least not compared to the other test candidates. The cheap and brittle plastic front panel certainly does nothing to hide the fact that this is by far the cheapest case in the test, with a price of around $60. But then you have to take into account the additional cost of a fan as well, since none is included.

Like most of its competitors, the BT-02B also offers support for regular size 3.5” hard drives and 5.25” optical drives. The two USB ports and audio in/out are pretty much the bare minimum when it comes to connections, but at least they are easy to access at the top of the case. The case comes with a 180 W PSU called Chieftec PSF-180MP.

Motherboard Barrier

Considering its width of 13.5 cm, the BT-02B sure gives the impression of a case well prepared for the installation of Mini-ITX boards with large CPU coolers. However, a quick look inside reveals that even the standard Intel cooler just barely fits. The huge stabilization bar is the problem, as it cuts off some of the available height and makes the installation of hardware more difficult. Mini-ITX motherboards with slightly larger heat sinks cannot fit inside the Chieftec BT-02B. And if you are going to equip the system with an additional card (graphics for example), you must make sure that they do not exceed the maximum length of 19 cm. That is as much space as you get with this case.

Conclusion: Inexpensive, No Configuration Options

The Chieftec BT-02B has its strengths and weaknesses. It costs just $60 and its 180 W PSU is properly dimensioned, but it takes last place among the tested cases in terms of exterior design. Using a Mini-ITX motherboard with a big heat sink is impossible due to the stability bar inside the case. Apart from that, you get a proper and solid case for little money.

Chieftec BT-02
TypeMini-ITX case
Dimensions (W x H x D)135 x 295 x 240 mm
MaterialSteel, front made of plastic
Connections2 x USB 2.0, Audio in/out
PSU180 W
Support for expansion cardsYes, maximum length 19 cm
Drives1 x 3.5" hard drive, 1 x 5.25" optical drive
VentialtionNo fans installed, 1 x 80 mm (front) und 2 x 60 mm (back) optional
Weight2.85 kg
PriceAround $60
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