Should you use an ITX, mid-tower or full-tower PC case?

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Computex 2019 PCSource: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central

Picking the best PC cases for your PC builds is important since it’s not only what you will be building everything inside, but it’s what you will be gazing at the most. Not only does it need to look good, but a chassis also has to be easy to work with and offer plenty of handy features.

There’s also size, which does indeed matter. I’m going to run you through a few options available to you, depending on how big (or small) you want to go with your PC build.

Full-tower

Corsair Obsidian 1000D

Source: Corsair

The Good

  • Spacious internals
  • Supports all motherboard sizes
  • Better thermal performance
  • Great for water-cooling

The Bad

  • Expensive
  • Massive footprint

A full-tower case is usually massive. These are the big daddies of the case market, compatible with E-ATX motherboards and allowing for the installation of multiple expansion and graphics cards with the space to facilitate enough airflow to keep everything cool. Speaking of cool, a full-tower case is ideal for a water-cooling loop.

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You likely won’t require a full-tower, but it would be nice to have if you can afford one that provides plenty of room for expansion. They can also be incredibly expensive, with some of the more premium full-tower cases going for countless hundreds of dollars. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough desk space to fit one.

Corsair’s Obsidian 1000D is a monstrous PC case allowing you to install two full computers inside a single chassis. That’s right, you could have two PSUs, two motherboards, and two of everything else installed inside and still have room to spare. If you want an expansive case with full water-cooling support, this is the pick for you.



Corsair Obsidian 1000D

The Corsair Obsidian 1000D is pretty ridiculous. You can install two PC builds inside, as many radiators as you can purchase, and still have room to spare. It’s also very well designed but comes with a hefty price tag.

Mid-tower

Phanteks Eclipse P350X

Source: Phanteks

The Good

  • Good value
  • Supports most motherboard sizes
  • Plenty of expansion
  • Good for water-cooling

The Bad

  • Similar designs

Mid-towers are the most popular option for PC builds because of the balance of cost, features, and build quality. Most options will allow for up to seven expansion slots, and some may even let you install your GPU vertically. Although smaller than full-tower cases, you can still go wild with a custom water-cooling loop or AIO solutions.

Something like the Eclipse P350X from Phanteks is worth bearing in mind, especially if you’re looking to save a little in the process. It may be more affordable than most mid-tower cases, but this is an excellent option, thanks to E-ATX motherboard support, good thermal performance, and a tempered glass side panel.



Phanteks Eclipse P350X

The best value case you can buy is also one that ticks the boxes for quality, style, and ease of use. The P350X is a dream to build in with superb expansion capabilities and top-notch cable management. It beats a lot of much more expensive cases in every way.

Small Form Factor (ITX)

NZXT H210i

Source: NZXT

The Good

  • Compact
  • Requires imagination
  • Unique designs
  • Small footprint

The Bad

  • Pricey
  • Size restrictions

Small-form factor (known as SFF or ITX) cases are the most compact chassis you’ll find for a build. They’re usually only able to contain an ITX or micro-ATX motherboard and the best graphics card, even full-sized ones if you’re lucky and sometimes imaginative.

While ITX or SFF cases tend to be small in size, they’re usually big on style and price. You can expect to pay more than double that of an equivalent mid to full-tower case, especially if it’s a premium chassis with aluminum and attention to detail. These cases also usually come with up to two expansion slots, which would fit your GPU but nothing else.

The NZXT H210i is a favorite among many for putting together compact systems. It has all the cable management you could possibly ask for, is able to hold up to a 280mm radiator, and isn’t too expensive.



NZXT H210i

The H210i is better than ever, allowing you to put together a compact mini-ITX PC build in a small form factor case with smart features and a solid design.

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