Is ITX PC Case good for gaming?

There was a time when going with an ITX chassis was similar to trading compactness for lower performance. But the increase in demand for compact PC parts has put mini ITX cases back into the game. But are ITX PC cases good for gaming builds? And do these compact PC cases deliver the same performance as standard ATX cases? Here’s what we know so far.

Yes, a mini-ITX chassis can be a good option for gaming as long as it is able to hold a full-length graphics card, a bulky CPU cooler, enough fan mounts, and a standard-sized power supply. If you are planning to install high-end components, then make sure there’s enough headroom inside your ITX case for fresh air to circulate properly.

What is a Mini-ITX PC Case?

To understand this in a better way, we will refer the Mini-ITX case to a mini-ITX motherboard. The mini-ITX motherboard is the smallest configuration measuring 70 mm x 170 mm and is relatively meant for building computers that consume less space on your desk. This type of motherboard can easily be installed in a mini-ITX PC chassis.

Mini ITX and other form factors
Source: PCBuildingLab

In simple words, a mini-ITX PC Case offers you limited resources to install third-party PC components. For example, you can install multiple graphics cards on a standard ATX motherboard due to the availability of extra PCIe slots. But in the case of mini-ITX boards, there’s only one PCIe x16 slot on which you can install your graphics card.

So mini-ITX PC cases can easily are natively made for small motherboards. The I/O panels on a mini-ITX and standard ATX PC case are the same. But there as limited PCI Express panels on a mini-ITX PC case than there are on a regular PC case.

And behind all this is the different size of the motherboard that these two form factors are able to accommodate.

Factors to Look in a Mini-ITX PC Case for Gaming

If you have made your mind to go with a compact PC case, then here’s what you need to look at:

Compatibility:

You don’t want to end-up shopping a mini PC case that is unable to accommodate your full-length graphics card. Look for a case that has enough headroom to easily fit in beefy gaming hardware.

It’s better to search for a PC case first, and then look for the parts that can fit in that chassis. Look at the instruction manual to find out the hardware dimensions that your PC case can support.

The most beefy component one could end up installing in a mini-ITX case is the graphics card. CGDirector has written a detailed guide to find out if your graphics card would fit in your case or not.

Also, if your graphics card is longer than your mini case, then it would be difficult to install it. So, you have to measure the width and length around the PCI Express x16 slot to get a better idea.

Also, sometimes it’s difficult to fit in bulky CPU coolers inside a PC case with cramped space. Some liquid CPU coolers with heighted heatsink can exceed the width of a small PC case.

So, look for a mini case that is spacious in terms of width and height to easily accommodate any regular-sized gaming hardware.

Mind the Cooling:

Limited cooling is the down side of many small form factor PC cases available on the market. And if your mini case comes with limited fan mounts, then this may result in building a lot of heat inside your case.

So, it’s better to look for a mini-ITX case that coems with enough fan mounts to pull in and pull out more air.

During our research, we came across Tomshardware which states that the mini ITX cases should have 240mm or 280m AIOs on them for better airflow. But honestly speaking, even 120mm fans can make a lot of difference in cooling if they are mounted on the right position.

It is highly recommend looking for a case that has at least two intake fans at the front and one exhaust fan at the back. We’ve written an entire guide on improving airflow, so don’t forget to check that out.

Design & Aesthetics

When it comes to shop for a PC case, go with the one that you find attractive. Everyone has his own preferences, so take your time to go through various designs available on the market.

aesthetics on a mini ITX
Source: Amazon user

Modern mini-ITX PC cases come with eye-catching aesthetics making them the right choice for gaming builds. Silverstone SG13 is a one of the most attractive cube-shaped mini-ITX PC case with tempered side glass panel and plenty of mesh at the front for rapid airflow.

Similarly, the Hyte Revolt 3 is the most compact mini PC case with wonderful design and top-notch build quality.

No matter whichever design you choose, make sure you don’t compromise on the airflow. Sometimes, a great looking PC case isn’t that great at pushing more air inside your PC case.

Therefore, look for a PC case that promotes high airflow without breaking your bank account. Personally, we’ve found the modern mini ITX PC cases more decent and appealing as compared to the ATX cases.

Some mini-ITX PC Cases to Consider for your Gaming Build

We wont’t be going in detail here, but if here’s a quick look at some of the most recommended mini PC chassis for gamers:

Phanteks Evolv Shift 2

mini itx pc cases to look for
Source: Amazon user

The Phanteks Evolv Shifts 2 consumes a very little space on your gaming desk. It comes with addressale RGB fan and tempered side glass panel to show off your build. There are a handful of useful I/Os at the top of this case to plug-in headphone and other needful devices. On top of all, it’s an affordable mini ITX case for gamers who are eager to put a bigger graphics card in a tight space.

Lian Li Q58

Lian Li Q58
Source: Amazon user

The evolution of Lian Li products in a short time in nothing less than a miracle. We have just one word for the Lian Li Q58 mini-ITX case, and that is “Pure Masterpiece”. For years, I myself have been searching for mini PC cases that combine aesthetics with higher cooling, and here we have it now. Lian Li Q58 is half steel and half glass, giving you the freedom to make it look the way you want it. You can install a 280mm fan at the top of this case to draw more air inside. Spoilers! you can fit in bulky power supply and graphics card within this case without any hassle.

SilverStone Mini ITX Case

Silverstone case
Source: Amazon user

Nothing looks more cool than a mini PC case blooming with RGB lights at the front and sides. SilverStone makes your this wish come true with its spacious mini-ITX chassis. This tiny case supports 120mm or 140mm single fans for tremendous cooling. Moreover, you can fit a regular size graphics card within this case without any alterations. It’s the cheapest mini ITX case to get without putting a hole in your wallet.

Closing Thoughts

Mini-ITX PC cases are a great alternative to go with if you are low on space. Modern ITX chassis can easily accommodate a regular-sized graphics card, CPU cooler, and ATX power supply. Just put your focus on the comaptibitly and airflow whenever you shop for a mini PC case.

FAQs

Will a Mini-ITX fit a 3090?

The Nvidia RTX 3090 is a triple slot graphics card, so you’ll need a mini-ITX case that allows enough headroom room for installing triple slot cards. Small form factor cases like Lian Li TU150 or Lian Li Q58 can easily accomodate an RTX 3090 graphics card.

Does Mini ITX cases decrease gaming performance?

If you install high TDP components inside a cramped PC case without proper airflow, then you can expect lower performance. The overheated components will not be able to deliver the kind of performance as they do on an optimal temperature range.

But if your mini PC case comes with better airflow, then it won’t affect the performance of your graphics card or CPU. Therefore, your gaming performance would be be affected at all.

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