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Compact Mini-ITX Case Round-Up

Introduction & Specifications

It has been quite a while since we stopped reviewing compact cases, but we're happy to announce that we've started reviewing them again. Over the next several months we'll be reviewing more than a dozen, starting with today's round up.

To get things ready for the new reviews, we put together a brand new test platform just for Mini-ITX and HTPC cases. Then we sent word to vendors that we're looking for review units to test. About two weeks later, one case after another came streaming in, and we ended up with a plethora, from various vendors including Corsair, Cougar, Deep Cool, ID Cooling, Lian Li and more.

For today's round-up we'll be reviewing cases from Cougar, ID Cooling and Lian-Li:

Specifications


MORE: All Case ContentMORE: How To Build A PC

  • 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