Choosing a PC case can be tough. Some products may be more aesthetic than others, while some could have a galore of excellent features that others could be bereft of. Things related to PCs are always difficult to decide, isn’t that right, boys?
In this article, we are going to look at some of the best micro ATX cases that you can buy for your PC build in 2023. But, before we get to that part, let’s take a look at some basic concepts about PC cases and micro ATX units in specific.
It’s quite possible that you are looking for something entirely different and that you’re mixing up these cases with some other ones. Read through the rudimentary stuff. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two.
In a hurry? Here are our top 3 favorite picks when it comes to the best small micro ATX PC cases in 2023!
What are Micro ATX Cases?
Micro ATX cases are the housing units that are designed especially for holding micro ATX motherboards. Micro ATX motherboards are smaller than the average ‘standard’ size, and they also come with a lesser number of expansion slots.
The dimensions of the standard ATX cases are 305mm x 244mm. Micro cases, on the other hand, have a reduced, square shape viz. 244mm x 244mm.
The main feature of micro ATX cases is that they have a compact form factor. Here’s the thing; you can easily install a micro ATX motherboard in a standard ATX PC case. It is not as if every motherboard needs a specifically-sized case. Micro cases can hold mini ATX boards, whereas standard cases can hold both micro and mini. Get the point?
In other words, you cannot house a standard ATX board in a micro case, but you can do the opposite.
What Are The Advantages of Micro ATX Cases?
Since the standard ATX case can fit all three, i.e., standard, micro, and mini motherboards, why would anyone want to go for a smaller unit?
There are quite a few answers to that question. Let’s look at ‘em one by one.
– Compact Form-Factor
The first benefit that you can enjoy with a micro ATX case is the compact and smaller form factor.
There are many users who have limited space to keep their PC along with all the peripherals. Such users may opt for a smaller monitor and mouse, along with a compact tenkeyless keyboard. In this type of setup, a micro ATX case can be very suitable due to its moderate size.
Lugging around a standard ATX unit can be quite a job. In comparison, moving a micro ATX case from one place to the other can be much easier. If you are thinking of buying a PC in some type of situation where you will have to do a lot of shifting and moving around, then stick to smaller case sizes.
But then again, people normally keep their CPUs in one place. The requirement for the type of portability mentioned above can be rare and unusual. But hey, it’s a benefit nevertheless.
The smaller the case, the lesser the price.
Actually, that should be elaborated a bit.
If you take a simple, black, blocky standard ATX case on the one hand and a flashy, glass-body, RGB-lit, sleek micro ATX case on the other hand, then obviously, the latter will be more expensive.
The price difference relates to a situation in which all the specs and features are identical except for the size. In such cases, the bigger case will have the bigger price tag.
When and When Not to Buy a Micro ATX Case?
Now that we have looked at some of the pros of these cases, let’s talk about when you should opt for buying one and when you shouldn’t.
– Upgrading Plans
If you currently have a micro ATX motherboard with no plans on upgrading to the standard size anytime soon, then you can go ahead with buying a micro case. Because, in such a situation, you won’t be bothered or troubled with the lesser space.
However, if you are using an mATX motherboard just temporarily, and you do have plans to upgrade your rig in the near future, then don’t waste money on a smaller case. Go big from the start.
Secondly, you should take your desk/workstation capacity into consideration. If you have a limited area to place the CPU, you should go for a micro ATX case since they are smaller than the standard ones.
If, on the other hand, you have no trouble with the available space, you should consider the bigger sizes instead. In fact, it is recommended to go for larger cases because in doing so, you don’t lose your chances of upgrading to a bigger motherboard.
Consider it. Once you buy a micro ATX case, you don’t have the choice of upgrading to a standard ATX motherboard…unless you change the case altogether. But with a standard-sized unit, your options remain open.
– Usage Style
Next up, you should think about how you are going to be using your PC. Are you going to keep it placed at one spot, or will you have to carry it around different places like your home or office?
For the former situation, it doesn’t matter which case you choose. You can go big or small without worrying about the weight since you won’t have to lug it around on a regular basis.
In the latter situation, however, smaller cases will be more suitable and appropriate. In theory, you could carry around even a full-sized one, but it would tire you out pretty soon and leave you with little energy to actually do the work for which you had initially fetched the PC.
That is pretty much it for the basics. Let’s get right to the juicy stuff. Here is our list of the top 7 best small micro ATX cases in 2023.
1. Corsair iCUE 4000x – Best Overall
Starting off our list, we have the Corsair iCUE 4000x. Since this is a review and not a product pitch, we will try and stick to being fair and honest.
But even then, there is no getting around the fact that this case right here is one stunning piece. It features a tempered glass side and front panel for a transparent and see-through design.
Apart from giving you a generous view of the interior components, having this visibility can also help you in seeing if something unwanted has managed to get inside your case. You could be worried about your unsightly cables or wires being visible through the panels but don’t worry. The RapidRoute Cable Management system will conceal all that spaghetti and keep the interior clean and minimalist.
The Corsair iCUE 4000x can hold up to six cooling fans. You get three of them by default, and you can buy additional ones as the need develops. The positioning of the fans provides an even and thorough airflow through the components. With two on the top side, three at the front and one at the back, you can create some gusty crosswinds in there. Furthermore, the fans come with custom RGB lighting so that you can add a bit of color to your rig. If you are not a fan of flashy rainbows and sparkles, you could simply change the lighting to a monotonous white or light blue.
There is a lot more that this case comes with but should we go on about each feature, this review will become an essay. Let’s suffice with mentioning the features:
- Dimensions: 17.83 x 9.06 x 18.35 inches
- Item weight: 17.6lbs
- Six total fans supported
- Available in black and white colors
- 2 HDD and 2 relocatable SSD bays
- 1 x USB-A (3.0), 1 x USB-C (3.1) and 1 x audio/mic slot
- RGB lighting support with Corsair software and included iCUE Node CORE.
Why is this the best small Micro ATX case in 2023?
Professionals and intense users can oftentimes run their system to an alarmingly high temperature. Not having a proper cooling system in such cases can cause the components to get damaged.
That is why the iCUE 4000x is good for GPU-intensive rigs. Since it has the capacity of 6 fans (with a removable side panel), it can be a great choice for people who need their system cool while they use it.
2. Cooler Master Silencio S400 – Minimalist Pick
Think of a cinderblock. Then, think of it being hollow from the inside. Then, put some feet under it and add some lines and contours. Does it look like anything similar to the Cooler Master Silencio S400?
Jokes aside, the Silencio S400 is one aesthetic case. The no-frills baring matte body combined with the smooth finishing can be a great choice for minimalism connoisseurs.
A remarkable feature of this case is the sound dampening material used for the construction. If those whirrs and cranking sounds coming from the PC aren’t palatable to your ears, why not just block ‘em out altogether. Yep, that you can do with the Silencio S400.
- Dimensions: 8.27 x 16.46 x 16.06 inches
- Item weight: 15.4lbs
- Sound dampening material used for front, top, and side panels
- Top panel can be removed to increase airflow when required
- Supports 2 x 120mm fans
- SD card reader, audio jack and two USB 3.2 gen 1 slots at the I/O panel
- Can hold four 3.5” and five 2.5” drives
3. Thermaltake Core V21 – Runner Up
The Thermaltake Core V21 is, unlike the others products on this list, cube-shaped rather than the usual rectangle.
The main advantage and perk of having a cube-shaped CPU is the ability to stack. Although this requirement (viz. stacking one case over the other) is not very common, it can nevertheless be quite useful.
Think of an office that has limited space for keeping all the PC units individually. The ideal solution would be to make some stacks of 3 or 4 cases piled on one another. Space-saving, eh?
Or think of a geek running out of space in one of the Core V21’s and deciding to add more components in an identical case stacked above the first. That’s unlikely but very possible.
The Thermaltake Core V21 has a dual-chamber layout. When setting up the interior components, this segregation can help you keep everything organized. Thanks to the large size, you can place your micro ATX board in both orientations: vertical and horizontal.
The flexible options for the installation of the components, as well as the expansive space, make the Core V21 a good option for people who want to go for powerful and heavy builds.
- Dimensions: 16.7 x 12.6 x 13.25 inches
- Item weight: 6.5 kilograms
- Two USB 3.0 slots, one headphone and one mic port
- Comes with a 200mm fan installed (more fans can also be accommodated)
- Can support horizontal and vertical motherboard orientations
4. Thermaltake Versa H15 – Budget Pick
Coming up next on our list is yet another mATX case by Thermaltake. This one is, however, back with the rectangular form factor.
The special and salient feature of the Versa H15 is the airflow regulation. Users can install a maximum of four fans (or two 240mm radiators). One 120mm fan at the back comes installed by default.
The top panel of the case is made of perforated steel. The perforations allow better ventilation and heat dissipation. Even if you are using just one or two fans with your build, the sieve-like design at the top will facilitate an enhanced airflow.
The feet at the bottom are also, as you may have noticed, taller and more pronounced. Having a greater clearance from the floor is also a good way to increase ventilation.
- Dimensions: 16.2 x 7.8 x 15 inches
- Item weight: 9.55lbs
- 4 x expansion slots
- Alloy steel construction
- 2 x USB slots
- Can support 1 x 5.25” and 3 x 2.5/3.5” drives
- Supports mATX only in the absence of DVD ROM.
5. Rosewill Micro ATX Mini Tower FBM – 01
Flashy and glassy case bodies are all awesome and all, but for rough and tough usage, these types of hardy units are way better.
The Rosewill FBM – 01 comes with a plain and simple design, albeit with a host of awesome features. It is a good choice for officers and public places like libraries. The steel and plastic construction makes it durable and hardy – something which is a bit difficult to come by with glass and aluminum cases.
The FBM – 01 comes with two cooling fans pre-installed viz. 1 x 120mm at the front and an 80mm one at the back. The side panel has a mesh window as well. All in all, the cooling system facilitates decent enough ventilation that can be quite enough for light to moderate builds.
- Dimensions: 13.78 x 16.89 x 13.86 inches
- Item weight: 7.8 pounds
- Total number of internal expansion bays: 2
- 2 x USB slots
- Audio in/out port
- 2 fans (pre-installed)
6. Antec Performance Series P5
The Antec Performance Series P5 is, like the Cooler Master Silencio, a good choice for people who prefer to work in a quiet environment. The front and side panels are lined with bitumen and foam, which basically lessens the level of noise coming from the inner components.
Furthermore, the front and side panels are all hinged. Should you need to increase the airflow or do some maintenance, you can simply open the panels. There is also a dust filter behind the front one.
The maximum number of fans that you can install in the Antec is tres (3). Two of them come installed, while you can get an additional one whenever you feel the need. You can also use the fan slots for a radiator instead.
- Dimensions: 15.55 x 7.67 x 18.7 inches
- Item weight: 15.4lbs
- Comes with 7 drive bays (this is an excellent capacity, by the way)
- 4 expansion slots
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports and audio in/out ports
- Comes with dust filters at the bottom and front
- Included 1 to 3 splitter cable
7. InWin 301
Glass side panels are something of a luxury in PC cases. In normal cases, you usually have to spend a considerable amount of money before you get into the category of fancy glass bodies and panels.
But, with the InWin 301, you can enjoy the transparency and interior visibility for just $69.99. This price tag is quite reasonable and affordable as compared to the other products we have looked at so far in this list.
Apart from being an affordable option, the InWin 301 also comes with some nice aesthetics. The neon orange-and-black combo looks great. That, combined with whatever components you plan on using inside, can give your desk quite an awesome look.
- Dimensions: 18 x 10.7 x 17.7 inches
- Item weight: 14.4lbs
- 4 x expansions slots
- Can support a total of five fans (1 x 120mm fan at the rear, 1 x 240mm radiator at the front and 2 x 120mm fans at the bottom)
- 2 x USB 3.0 slots + HD audio
- Removable dust filter at the bottom
How to Choose the Best Micro ATX Case in 2023?
When buying an mATX case, there are a couple of qualities and features that you should look for. Based on these features, you can decide whether a product is worth purchasing or not. Here are some of them:
– Cooling System
The first and most important thing that you should see in a case is the cooling system. You should see how many fans or radiators can the case fit. If it comes with one or two of them pre-installed, then that’s a plus point.
When checking this part out, you should consider your usage patterns and the amount of GPU-intensive work you want to do. Heavy work, like some advanced graphics rendering and detailed engineering jobs, can create a lot of heat inside the unit. If the cooling is not up to mark, the components can get damaged. On the other hand, simple work like surfing and typing (viz. normal office work) doesn’t build up that much heat. For this type of use, you can even suffice with one or two fans.
– Space and Drive Bays
Having a few unused and extra bays/slots can be useful since you will be able to keep your upgradation options open. If you have already purchased and arranged all the drives and devices, you should still buy a case that will leave you with some unused capacity. Once again, this depends on the type of use that you intend to put your PC through.
– Dust Filters / Soundproofing
Both these features can be something of a necessity depending on your situation and condition.
If you want to place your PC somewhere where there are a lot of chances of dust and dirt getting accumulated, you should buy a case that has a sufficient number of dust filters. Obviously, no one will willingly put their PC in a dusty and grimy spot, but places like underneath desks can generally be prone to getting dirty quickly.
Similarly, soundproofing is also something that you should opt for if you tend to get disturbed by the sounds made by the computer. Many people may not mind it. In fact, some people may prefer to have a bit of noise in the background.
– Design and Appearance
If you are spending money buying a new case, why not go for something a little aesthetic and stylish?
However, when considering the looks, you should always keep them as a secondary priority. For example, suppose you have your eyes on two cases that have the same price tag. One of them has better specs than the other, while the other has a much more elegant appearance. In such a case, you should opt for better specs and features rather than looks. On the other hand, for example, suppose you are looking at a product that has just the right specs and all the awesome perks you need, but at the same time, it has a plain, no-frills body. You are given the option of spending a few more dollars and getting a version that has an aesthetic tempered glass side panel instead of the usual metal one.
In such a case, the few extra bucks will be money well spent. In other words, you should go for it.
– Material and Construction
Generally, PC cases can be made with three different materials: glass, metal, and plastic. Metallic bodies can feature elements like aluminum, alloy steel, etcetera.
The glass looks good, but it is dainty and fragile. You should get a glass case (or even a case that a single panel made from it) only if you are confident about caring for it as it needs to be. However, steel, on the other hand, is tough and durable. It can also be quite aesthetic, provided you choose the right product. However, the only downside is that it can be heavy and difficult to carry around.
Plastic is usually incorporated along with other materials. It would be hard to find a PC case totally and only made from plastic.
In the end, our recommendation is that if you can afford it, you should buy the Corsair iCUE 4000x. The thing’s an all-in-one package. You get an awesome cooling system, multiple and sufficient drive bays, aesthetic looks, transparency, and visibility, along with a good cable management system.
However, one thing that you should be careful of is the material. Two of the panels are made from tempered glass. That material is not very thick, and it can break fairly easily. While the functionality of the case won’t come to an end should that happen, it will still be a pretty bad thing to deal with.