what is the best micro atx case for gaming

Top 10 Best Micro ATX Cases For Gaming

Whether you’re building a budget gaming PC or just looking to scale down from a mid tower or full tower case, the best micro ATX mini cases can be very useful. You can fit quite a bit of performance into even the smallest of cases, and our $400 gaming PC build is a perfect example of that.

​So, if you're wondering "What is the best Micro ATX Case for Gaming?", you've come to the right place!

What I love about Micro ATX cases is how easy they are to transport - not to mention how much less space they take up! Any build that uses a micro/mini ATX case is going to be far easier to move from place to place when compared to a mid or full tower build.

I was even able to fit my latest Micro ATX build into a suitcase when I travelled across country on vacation.

However, no case is perfect - each case form factor comes with its own set of trade-offs. Naturally, there's both upsides and downsides to using a mini micro ATX case instead of a mid or full tower case.

Pros And Cons Of A Micro ATX Case


Pros

  • More compact. If you don't have much space on or near your desk, a Micro ATX Case is a perfect choice.
  • More portable. It's significantly easier to stow a a micro ATX rig in a box (Or even in a suitcase) than a mid or full tower rig.
  • Often cheaper. There are exceptions to this, of course, but generally speaking, you can spend less for a Micro ATX case with the same features as a higher-end mid or full tower cases (Which would cost far more).

Cons

  • Fewer motherboard choices. As the name suggests, a Micro ATX case only allows for Micro ATX (And often Mini ITX) motherboards. This can restrict you a bit in higher-end builds.
  • Smaller interiors. Although this isn't always so, Micro ATX cases tend have smaller interiors in at least one dimension (Width or height). This can make it more difficult to put together a PC inside due to less hand room.

What To Look For In A Micro ATX Case


Okay, so we know the pros and cons - how do we know which cases are worth consideration?

Fortunately, I've done the dirty work for you in that regard. But, I'll quickly go over the most important things I looked for when selecting the cases for this list (And the things I continue to look for, for that matter!).

  • Fans: 1x80mm rear, 1x120mm front
  • I/O Ports: 2 USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: two 5.25″, one 3.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX

And that's about it! At least, those are the most important things I look for. There's obviously plenty of other little things I look at (Qualiy control issues, build quality problems in general, etc.), but they pale in comparison to these 3.

What Is The Best Micro ATX Case For Gaming

Top 5 Best Micro ATX Cases


Important Note: Prices on Amazon are prone to change and fluctuation. All prices listed in this article were accurate as of the time and date the article was published, but may or may not be accurate when you read it. Please take the prices listed throughout this post as mere guides.

#1 - Thermaltake Core V21

Thermaltake Core V21
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x80mm rear, 1x120mm front
  • I/O Ports: 2 USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: two 5.25″, one 3.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX

Thermaltake makes a lot of awesome stuff – Cases, case fans, CPU coolers, etc. The Core V21 is really no different. It’s well-built, and it looks pretty badass. Despite the small size, the V21 is surprisingly spacious on the inside. Just like Harry Potter, the V21 is bigger on the inside.

I like the design of the case a lot! The mesh construction both looks cool and allows for ample airflow (With a dust filter on the top). The included 200mm fan on the front should be adequate for most rigs, and I haven’t tried including any additional fans yet.

There’s a separate compartment on the bottom for the PSU (This is really awesome and somewhat unexpected), allowing for plenty of space to assemble the rest of the build.

Another really neat feature is the ability to completely swap the top, bottom, and side panels at will. Don't like the current placement of your side window? No problem! Feel that the top panel's airflow capabilities would be better served on, say, the side of your case? Go for it!

I didn't realize how much I wanted a feature like that until I actually used this case. Because I'm a right-handed guy, I typically only have room on my desk (For my PC tower) on the left side. Because most cases have only left-facing side windows, that means I hardly ever got to see my fancy LEDs!

#2 - Rosewill FBM-01

Rosewill FBM-01
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x80mm rear, 1x120mm front
  • I/O Ports: 2 USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: two 5.25″, one 3.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX

This is a great budget case. In fact, we use it as the recommended case in our $400 gaming PC build.

Sitting right around $25 currently, this is definitely the best value you can get in a micro ATX case right now. It won’t blow you away with awesome features, designs, or cooling potential but it’s a very solid case overall. It feel sturdy and its easy to use.

The one complaint I have with this case is that the interior is a bit difficult to work in compared to some of the other cases on this list. Things can get pretty cramped when you start putting in your RAM, HDD, and video card.

One reviewer (Appropriately named "Sir Stinky") on Amazon suggested installing your HDD and CD/DVD drives first, if possible, as this helps considerably with maneuverability.

However, this case more than makes up for its few shortcomings with its two included fans (Granted, one is an 80mm) and ​surprisingly solid durability - especially given its super-low price tag.

The fans aren't revolutionary, of course - you'll still want to go with aftermarket case fans, budget permitting - but they do the job for the price.​

Honestly, this case is probably one of THE best cases you can possibly get for the price. It really doesn't get much better than this for under $30. Just be smart about how you install your components, and you're good to go.

#3 - Corsair Carbide Air 240

Corsair Carbide Air 240
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x120mm top, 2x120mm front
  • I/O Ports: 2x USB 3.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: 3x 3.5″ and 2.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX or Mini ITX

Yup, more Corsair cases, but they just happen to make some of the best cases on the market! Sorry, but it’s true. They make freaking amazing cases and other peripherals (I’m absolutely in love with my K70 RGB mechanical keyboard), with a strong commitment to quality.

The 240 is an awesome Micro ATX case with very few problems to speak of. You can fit a full size video card and water cooling systems in this bad boy.

The build quality is outstanding, which you'd expect from a high-end case such as this one. The side window doesn't scratch easily and looks fantastic, and the case itself doesn't feel flimsy at all. It's obviously built to last, and built to eliminate heat (Which can also wear on cases over time, if it gets really bad).

There’s plenty of cooling and airflow potential (With three included 120mm case fans) in this case, mostly due to its overall focus on airflow.There's plenty of grates for air to pass through, and the fans are installed in such a way that they'll directly cool your important components (CPU, GPU, etc.).

This thing can hold not one, but two 240mm radiators with a Mini-ITX motherboard, or one 240mm radiator with a dual-GPU Micro-ATX rig. Not bad for a compact case like this one. Doing so will naturally create a more cramped environment for your hands to maneuver in, though, so be aware of that before opting for the radiator route.

My only real complaints are that there's not a lot of room at the bottom for extra case fans, nor are there any 5.25" drive bays​. Personally, the lack of 5.25" drive bays is mostly a non-issue, as I download most drivers, software, and games online.

If you're otherwise interested in this case, but the lack of 5.25" drive bays is turning you off, consider grabbing a USB-powered CD drive - like this one. It will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. It's portable, meaning you can plug it in to other PCs/Laptops, and it won't get in the way as much as 5.25" drives might.

#4 - Cooler Master N200

Cooler Master N200
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x120mm front, 1x120mm rear
  • I/O Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 2x USB 3.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: 3x 3.5″ 4x 2.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX or Mini ITX

While theN200 keeps things pretty simple in terms of design, this comes with a purpose – Functionality.

The N200 is perfect for more compact builds, but it can still house the power of a full-sized gaming PC. It can fit a full-sized video card (Well, up to 14″), a 240mm water cooling kit, and 160mm CPU coolers.

The main complaint I (And many others) have with this case is the size. It's interior is very, very compact - even for a Micro ATX case. This is not a problem in terms of functionality or housing larger components, it just makes it more frustrating to work inside the case itself.

However, cable management is very easy​ thanks to some large cutouts in the back of the case, allowing you to run cables through about a inch or so of space easily.

#5 - Corsair Carbide SPEC-M2

Corsair Carbide Spec-M2
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Huge interior
  • Airflow-optimized design
  • Good cable management
  • Front dust filter is a nice addition
  • Tool-free design for side panels & internal bays

Due to my love of the Corsair Carbide SPEC-01, I suppose it’s only fitting that I end this list with a similar case (Albeit pint-sized).

The SPEC-M2 has the same fantastic build quality, cooling potential and minimalist design that the SPEC-01 has, but in a more compact package.

I’m glad they once more opted to use thumbscrews for the side panels with the M2 – This should be the standard for any modern cases. There’s also an included 120mm LED fan on the front, and 5 fan mounts total for maximum cooling potential.

There’s also support for 240mm radiators should you wish to add them, and the interior is pretty generous in terms of space. This is aided by the fact that this case is built like a traditional case, rather than the “Boxy” design you often see with micro ATX cases.’

The SPEC-M2 absolutely deserves its spot on this list, and deserves my nomination for the best micro ATX case. It’s compact, simplistic, and highly functional. It’s high enough off the ground to prevent massive dust build-up, and included dust filters prevent it from coming in through other avenues as well.

The interior is very spacious for a micro ATX case, and the cooling potential is pretty awesome as well. While I don’t like the design of the front panel and I wish there were slot covers for the video card, these are minor complaints.

If you want to check it out for yourself, click the button above and learn more on Amazon!

#6 - Apevia X-QPACK3

Apevia X-QPACK3-GN
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Mesh design promotes airflow
  • LEDs look awesome
  • Compact size
  • Two tinted side windows
  • Multiple color options available

I've used a couple Apevia cases in the case (Most notably the Apevia X-SNIPER 2), and I've never really been disappointed. They have some really unique case designs that you just don't typically see from other manufacturers out there.

The X-QPACK3 is an awesome Micro ATX case with a lot going for it. First of all, the top of the case flips open easily, making accessing your internal components a breeze (Without having to remove the side panels).

There's also plenty of mesh all around the case to promote airflow and cooling - always a bonus.

Speaking of cooling, the included 140mm LED fan does a pretty good job on its own - but you have room to expand to two more 120mm fans if you'd like.

Finally, the tinted side windows (Tint color depends on the color you pick for your case) do a great job of giving you an excellent view of your internal components - no matter what side of your case you sit on.

#7 - Thermaltake Versa H15

Thermaltake VERSA H15
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x120mm rear
  • I/O Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: 3x 3.5″/2.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX, ITX, Mini-ITX
  • External Bays: 1x 5.25″

If you've never used a Thermaltake case before, you're missing out! As the name (Sort of) suggests, Thermaltake is big on cooling components. They make a lot of airflow-optimized PC cases and coolers - most of which are pretty awesome.

The Versa H15 definitely fits into that category. With an all-mesh front panel, and rear and top grates, this thing has no problem keeping heat out - though it does result in a little more noise if you have louder fans/heatsinks.

This case is really well-built, with fantastic cable management to boot. My only real complaint with it is that its lacking a side window of any kind - they clearly had room for it, but decided to make it a metal panel instead. Bummer.

But if that's not a dealbreaker for you, this case is absolutely worth looking into! It's capable of fitting just about any high-end system you can come up with.

#8 - Rosewill LINE-M

Rosewill LINE-M
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Flimsy construction - it will dent easily
  • Cable management can be frustrating due to inadequate dedicated cable space

I'm a big fan of recommending Rosewill's cases to anyone on a tighter budget. They're almost all under $40 (Usually under $30), and they offer fantastic value for what you're getting.

The LINE-M is a very budget-friendly case with most of the functionality you'd expect from even a more expensive Micro ATX case. It has good airflow potential (Coming with 2 preinstalled 120mm fans - one front, one rear) and a decent enough design.

If you like really flashy cases, you may be a bit put off from buying this thing, though.

What I do love about this case is the fact that it has not one, not two, but four USB ports - 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0. That's not unheard of, of course, but it's a really nice inclusion for the price.

Though the case is pretty decent all around, people have complained about the pre-installed fans being a bit noisy. This doesn't seem to be too common, but it might be enough to make you reconsider if fan noise is important for you.

#9 - Zalman T1 PLUS

Zalman T1 Plus
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x80mm rear
  • I/O Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: 2x 3.5″, 3x 2.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX, ITX, Mini-ITX
  • External Bays: 1x 5.25″

Holy crap, this case. I'd never even heard of Zalman prior to writing this article, but I'm glad I found them now - this case offers an absolutely insane value for what you're paying (Around $29).

The interior is massive (In fact, the height may be an issue for some people), the case feels relatively sturdy, and did I mention it's only $30?

With cases around this price point you typically see a lot of cost-cutting in the overall build of the case. This means flimsy side panels, crappy fans, etc. It's unfortunate, but a pretty common business practice.

Fortunately, there is no discernible cost-cutting in the physical aspects of this case. It's very well-built for the price, and doesn't feel like it would dent easily at all. The only real cost-cutting measure I could find is the lack of any 120mm fans included by default - there's only 1 80mm exhaust fan.

But, again, for under $30, you really can't beat that value - an 80mm case fan is certainly not a dealbreaker for me, especially with how cheap the best case fans are nowadays.

#10 - Apevia X-ENERQ

APEVIA X-ENERQ-GN
  • TECHNICAL SPECS
  • PROS
  • CONS
  • Fans: 1x120mm front LED (Green), 1x120mm side LED (Green)
  • I/O Ports: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, Headphone, Microphone
  • Internal Bays: 2x 3.5″/2.5″, 1x 2.5″
  • Supported Motherboards: Micro-ATX, ITX, Mini-ITX
  • External Bays: 1x 5.25″

Yup, one more Apevia case! Sorry, but I absolutely love these things. They all look so unique, and have some pretty awesome features included by default. Also, some people prefer the standard "Tower" shape to the "box" shape of the last Apevia case on this list.

Unfortunately, the X-ENERQ does not seem to have to have any alternate color options available just yet, so I hope you like green (I certainly do!).

The ENERQ has a stupid amount of airflow potential, with a top removeable mesh cover, a mesh front panel, and grates on the left side and rear of the case.

Yeah, it's a little ridiculous, but in the best way possible!

The interior is pretty large, and super easy to work in. No complaints there. The exterior looks awesome, and the included I/O ports are easily accessible from the front-top of the case (I prefer front-facing ports, but that's just me).

2 120mm green LED fans are installed by default, which is an absolutely massive plus for a sub-$50 case - seriously, this is just awesome. And, finally, the case is very well-built - as are most Apevia cases.

Unfortunately, though, the cable management could be better. It's adequate, I suppose, but it's just difficult to fit thicker/multiple cables in the space provided.

Conclusion


At the end of the day, the right case is simply the case you like the best - so long as it meets a few minimum requirements. If you like another case that's not listed here better, even if it's simply due to a prettier aesthetic, go for it!

After all, YOU'RE the one who has to stare at the thing for years to come, not me. Why not go with a case you like looking at? 🙂

As always, I look forward to hearing from you - What’s your favorite PC gaming case? Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns?

Let me know in the comments!

Comments

    1. Author

      Great suggestion! I’ll absolutely consider adding it to the list in place of (Or in addition to) the FBM-01.

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