Hands-On With Five Mini-ITX Cases

Posted on Feb 10 2011 - 4:36am by Matt Kaludi

Mini-ITX-based systems are attractive because they generally combine low-power operation and decent performance in a small package. But you need a good case to accommodate the restrictions of compact hardware. Today we try five different Mini-ITX cases.

The small dimensions of most Mini-ITX cases don’t always make it hard to fit standard size PC components. In many cases, plenty of standard hardware pieces fit just fine. Almost all of our test candidates simultaneously accommodate a 3.5” hard drive and a standard 5.25” optical drive. More likely is that some CPU coolers and graphics cards will be too large or too long to fit. And things might still be extremely cramped, even if the case is supposedly ready for the installation of discrete graphics cards and components like that.

Mini-ITX systems are much more compact than standard desktop computers. The format revolves around motherboards that measure just 170×170 mm and the standard is now well-adapted. Mini-ITX 2.0 was actually set and defined by VIA back in 2008, but initially created in 2001, and it is perfectly suitable for creating some of the smallest PC platforms thinkable today. Mini-ITX is about 61 percent smaller than full-size ATX, takes less than half the area consumed by microATX, and it is even a third smaller than FlexATX.

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