Best Micro ATX Cases

Posted by James I. on 21 oct 2018

The trend of building PCs with smaller chassis’ and more compact form factors are quickly growing in popularity, and with good reason. There are plenty of well-built, good-looking and affordable micro-ATX cases available these days, and with that wide range of choice means that there is plenty of choice when picking a Micro-ATX case.

Micro-ATX builds are typically considered the middle-point between a small form factor PC build (SFFPC), where the volume of the PC case must be below 20 litres, and a regular mid-tower ATX PC build. Micro-ATX PC cases typically are about 25-50 litres in internal capacity, which is not small enough that it can become tricky to fit in a full length GPU or perhaps install a watercooling loop, but not big enough where there is a lot of empty wasted space and not taking up too much precious room on or below your desk. It is surprising just how much PC you can fit in a Micro ATX case, and this is perhaps why they continue to grow and grow in popularity.

In this guide we will overview the top micro ATX case options in 2018/19 that are worth taking into consideration for your next mATX PC build. We will explore low end, budget Micro ATX options, ranging and exploring more premium and high-end PC cases that are compatible with Micro ATX motherboards.


1. Phanteks Enthoo Evolv mATX 'Tempered Glass' Edition

Phanteks

Enthoo Evolv mATX Tempered Glass

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Photo Credit: Phanteks
  • Best in class design
  • Premium build quality
  • Supports up to 360mm radiators
  • Spacious internal room for mATX case
  • Premium price
  • Not great as a portable option - heavy
  • Volume 41.7 L
  • Max Video Card Length 319.0 mm
  • Max Motherboard Size Micro ATX
  • PSU Format ATX
  • Max CPU Cooler Height 192 mm
  • Weight 9.0 kg
  • Score 100
  • See more
    specs…

Hands down the Enthoo Evolv mATX TG edition is our favourite Micro ATX case on the market, and without hesitation would be my case of choice if I were to do a Micro ATX build. The aesthetics of the Enthoo Evolv are heads and shoulders above the competition, with a sleek design and solid build quality, and beautiful tempered glass side window to show off your build.

This micro ATX case also comes in at under 42 litres of capacity, supporting video cards of up to 319mm (slightly less than the Obsidian Series 350D), and CPU coolers of up to 192mm in height, so it means you won’t be limited to opting for just a low profile CPU cooler. Water cooling is also supported, and 360mm radiators will fit – meaning this micro ATX case is perfect for those wishing to water cool their build.

The case is certainly on the heavy side at weighing in at 9 kg, and that is the price to pay when picking a case built with aluminum and tempered glass! In addition, the Enthoo Evolv TG doesn’t have soundproofing or USB type C, but apart from that it’s difficult to flaw this superb Micro ATX case.


2. Corsair Carbide Air 240

Corsair

Carbide Series Air 240

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Photo Credit: Corsair
  • Impressive Cooling Performance
  • Great Cable Management
  • Unique Aesthetics
  • No external drive slots (3.5" and 5.25")
  • Doesn't support taller CPU Coolers
  • Volume 33.0 L
  • Max Video Card Length 290.0 mm
  • Max Motherboard Size Micro ATX
  • PSU Format ATX
  • Max CPU Cooler Height 120 mm
  • Weight 5.6 kg
  • Score 92
  • See more
    specs…

The first Micro-ATX PC case in our guide that is worth a mention is the highly-popular Carbide Air 240 Micro ATX case by Corsair. Released in 2014, this case is aesthetically one of the best looking micro-ATX chassis’ on offer, with an eye catching (although unorthodox) and minimalistic design, this micro-ATX case would look great on any type of desk. The Carbide Air 240 delivers in providing great airflow and satisfy thermals of even the most demanding and extreme micro-ATX builds.

The 33L internal capacity of the Air 240 can support ATX format PSUs, and support for CPU coolers of up to 120mm and video cards of up to 290mm - which means that some of the larger video cards out there won’t fit in this chassis, so be careful. Surprisingly, the Fractal Design Define Nano S, which is a Mini ITX case, can support CPU coolers up to 40mm taller and graphics cards 25mm longer at 315mm - which we thought was quite surprising!

Water cooling is supported in the Air 240 micro-ATX case, with the ability to fit in a 240mm radiator for a AIO CPU or GPU liquid cooled system. In addition to this, there is plenty of room for expansion and cooling potential, with up to 4 full height expansion slots available and 9 fan spaces, with only 3 included with the chassis. Overall, the Carbide Air 240 is a great case to consider for your next Micro-ATX build, and with its impressive build quality, design and internal capacity - it’s hard to go wrong with this case.


3. Obsidian 350D

Corsair

Obsidian Series 350D

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Photo Credit: Corsair
  • Supports up to 280mm Radiators
  • Premium Build Quality
  • Sleek Design
  • Up to 5 Fan Spaces
  • Expensive
  • Volume 41.58 L
  • Max Video Card Length 380.0 mm
  • Max Motherboard Size Micro ATX
  • PSU Format ATX
  • Max CPU Cooler Height 160 mm
  • Weight 7.16 kg
  • Score 88
  • See more
    specs…

The Obsidian 350D is a great option for those wanting to get a rock-solid, capable PC case for their next Micro ATX build. Coming in at just under 42 litres of internal capacity, the Obsidian 350D supports up to video card lengths of 380mm, so more than capable for supporting even the larger cards out there. Water cooling is supported out of the box, with a max radiator length of 280mm able to fit within the frame, as well as 5 fan spaces in total – meaning this case can drive plenty of airflow to keep your micro ATX rig as cool as possible. In terms of design, the Obsidian Series 350D doesn’t try to do anything fancy or stand out, it was built to be a solid, straight-to-the-point PC case that prioritizes function over form.

Features that this PC case lack include sound-proofing and USB type-C on the front I/O. Apart from that, it is really hard to fault the Corsair Obsidian Series 350D, it really is one of the best Micro ATX cases on the market in 2018/19.


4. Fractal Design Define Mini C

Fractal Design

Define Mini C TG

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Photo Credit: Fractal Design
  • Great build quality
  • Supports video cards up to 315mm
  • Good cable management
  • Expensive
  • Volume 33.4 L
  • Max Video Card Length 315.0 mm
  • Max Motherboard Size Micro ATX
  • PSU Format ATX
  • Max CPU Cooler Height 172 mm
  • Weight 6.8 kg
  • See more
    specs…

This Define Mini C chassis by Fractal Design is a highly popular Micro ATX option for those looking for a understated, sleek-looking PC build that doesn’t sacrifice on performance. The Define Mini C is probably our favorite Micro ATX case (along with the Phantek) available in 2018/19, but that is our opinion as we prefer these types of cases over ones that ‘shout’ out too much and are too extreme in design.

This micro ATX case is 33.4L in capacity and uses this space extremely efficiently, supporting CPU coolers of up to 170mm and video cards of up to 315mm (much larger than the Carbide Air 240 mentioned earlier), meaning that this build will support even the larger cards out there.

The Define Mini C has all of the features you would expect, such as USB 3.0 support, water cooling support and even sound proofing - making this Micro ATX one of the best candidates for any quiet Micro ATX build.

Where this chassis could be argued to lack is there is currently no USB Type C support frrom the front I.O. 


5. Thermaltake Core V21

Thermaltake

Core V21

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Photo Credit: Thermaltake
  • Modular design
  • Support for up to 5 radiators
  • Great option for those looking for a liquid cooled mATX build
  • Build quality not comparable to Phanteks/Fractal Design
  • Poor cable management
  • Volume 45.6 L
  • Max Video Card Length 350.0 mm
  • Max Motherboard Size Micro ATX
  • PSU Format ATX
  • Max CPU Cooler Height 185 mm
  • Weight 6.5 kg
  • Score 90
  • See more
    specs…

Of all of the micro-ATX cases we have recommended today, this Thermaltake Core V21 is one of the largest options, with a staggering 45.6L of internal capacity for a micro-ATX case, this option will provide plenty of internal space whilst being smaller than a typical ATX mid tower build. This cubic and modular design looks great in person, and its side window is great for showing off internal components. It’s even possible to stack two of these cases together!

With its large internal capacity, unsurprisingly this means the Core V21 supports practically any size CPU cooler or graphics card available today, with maximum CPU coolers of up to 185mm being able to fit comfortably, as well as graphics cards of up to 350 mm in length. This chassis also makes a great candidate for those looking to watercool their Micro-ATX build, as it is super easy to add AIO systems into the chassis, with radiators of up to 280mm being supported with ease. The modular design even extends to the mounting of radiators, which makes this case a perfect candidate for a micro ATX liquid cooled build in 2019. 

With this case being released in 2014, the Core V21 doesn’t support recent standards such as USB Type C, as well as not having a full toolless design, which is something we would like to see in the next iteration of this case.

Many PC builders have mentioned that mounting the PSU in this system is rather awkward, as well as the lack of access to the rear of the motherboard. With that in mind, we still think the Thermaltake Core V21 is one of the best micro-ATX cases you could pick for your next build. This mATX case surely is a must have.

Useful resources about the V21:

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/505onq/thermaltake_core_v21/
  2. https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/48pasi/any_experience_with_thermaltake_core_v21/

6. In Win 301

In Win

301

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Photo Credit: In Win
  • Solid build quality
  • Side panel design allows for easy access to internals
  • Great flexibility for liquid cooled builds
  • Great value
  • Users have experienced issues with airflow
  • Dust issues
  • Volume 25.38 L
  • Max Video Card Length 330.0 mm
  • Max Motherboard Size Micro ATX
  • PSU Format ATX
  • Max CPU Cooler Height 158 mm
  • Weight 6.57 kg
  • Score 96
  • See more
    specs…

If you’ve already done research on Micro-ATX cases, you would have probably heard about the In Win 301. This is a fantastic case that is arguably underpriced for what you get. With an impressive build quality, making this case feel like a tank, as well as neat ergonomic features that make this mATX case a pleasure to build with (side panels like oven doors), the In Win 301 impresses us at every level.

Coming in at 25.38L internal capacity, the In Win 301 is definitely on the smaller size of Micro ATX cases, for example the Thermaltake Core V21 mentioned earlier is almost double the size at 45L in volume - yet still supports the same motherboard form factor. Max CPU cooler height and video card length don’t appear to be compromised by this small internal capacity, however, supporting coolers of up to 158mm and video cards of up to 330mm in length - as well as water cooling support with radiators of up to 240mm in length. Quite impressive what can be fitted in this micro-ATX case for the size.

Dust filters are included which is a bonus, although there is no fan control or any soundproofing, as well as USB type C connectivity on the front I/O. This is something we would hope In Win to provide in their next iteration of this m-ATX case (for futureproofing the builds). The In Win 301 is a PC builders dream to assemble and really is difficult to criticize, especially at its price level.

When paired with the right fans in the correct position, this micro ATX case is fantastic for keeping temperatures cool and frame rates high. 3 PWM fans on the bottom acting as the intake and 3 fans on the front and back as the exhaust is recommended for the In Win 301 for extremely impressive performance for a Micro ATX case. With a impressive 96% review rating from TweakTown, this is certainly a micro-ATX case worth considering for your next build.

Examples of InWin 301 Buiilds:

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/comments/6ai4e8/in_win_301_build_stoked/
  2. https://www.reddit.com/r/Amd/comments/7kmcfc/in_win_301_ryzen_7_build_xpost_from_pcmasterrace/

What to consider when comparing Micro ATX Cases?

 

1. Internal Capacity

Internal capacity is one of the most important considerations to take when picking a Micro ATX case, since ones with a larger internal volume (measured in Litres (L)) will be able to house larger components such as longer graphics cards and taller CPU coolers - which often correlate with greater cooling performance due to greater fan sizes and heat exhausts/fins.

2. Number of fan spaces

Knowing the total number of fan spaces and the fan sizes that can be accomodated in a mATX case is important to know since the more fan spaces you can fit in the build - given they are setup and orientated correctly to manage heat flow effectively - will result in better airflow and cooler components when under load.

3. Accessibility

A PC case with good accessibility is important in making the PC build as easy and stress free as possible. For example, mATXs with easy access to the rear or the motherboard, or even just screwless design panels will make life far simpler when it comes to building the m-ATX PC.

4. I/O ports and connectivity

Front I/O connectivity is important for those who use plenty of peripherals and need convenient access to them, for example charging or connecting to an external hard drive. Newer PC cases are being equipped with USB 3.1 that has up to 10GB/s of bandwidth, and some cases even feature the newest USB Type-C standard on the front I/O. Having this would be great for a future-proof micro ATX build for years to come.


Click here to view all micro ATX motherboards in our database (over 120!)