As computers become more powerful, they’re also becoming smaller. That’s the natural result of the fact that you can do more with less; while some users will continue to build gigantic computers with the biggest and baddest components, other people can exchange some of that cutting-edge performance for a small profile.
To do that, however, you’ll need a Micro ATX motherboard and a Micro ATX case. In this post we’re going to look at the five best Micro ATX cases currently on the market. There is a fair range of quality and price here, but all of these cases limbo under $150 dollars, so your wallet can make it through these recommendations relatively unscathed.
Since we’re talking about wallet-friendly options, let’s start this best Micro ATX case list with our least expensive entry, the Rosewill R101-P-BK.
This case from budget component maker Rosewill is as simple as could be. It’s clad entirely in black, standards just why of 14 inches tall and is 7.5 inches wide. Inside you’ll find room for four 3.5″ internal drives and three 5.25″ external drives. The system also comes with one 120mm fan mounted at the rear.
Really, this is as stock-and-standard a case as you’ll find. It has no special features and no distinctive style. But that’s fine, because this case costs just $30 bucks, which is an absolute bargain. If you’re looking for a basic Micro ATX case for a very inexpensive home or office PC, the Rosewill R101-P-BK should be your first choice.
Like the Rosewill, the Cooler Master Elite 341 is a fairly basic Micro ATX case that would serve well in any home or office. However, the Cooler Master Elite 341 has some extra features that also make it use for more powerful systems, like budget gaming PCs and mini workstations.
The cooling, for example, includes 120mm fan mounts both front and rear as well as support for up to two 120mm fans on the left side panel. The Elite 341 also offers tool-free installation for the 5.25″ external drives and for the rear expansion cards. The 3.5″ internal drives are mounted on a removable rack, which should make installation of drives easier after your install the motherboard. Despite these extra features, the Elite 341 is no bigger than the Rosewill R101, measuring about 15.5 inches tall and 7.25 inches wide.
If you want basic, but you also are planning to build a somewhat powerful system, the Elite 341 is a good choice. It’s usually priced around $50, so while it is more than the Rosewill, this case is still a budget option.
It’s hard to argue with Lian-Li’s consistency. This company has been making aluminum PC cases for years, and it has never blinked or changed course. Aluminum, although generally more expensive than the steel used by other cases, has two major advantages – it looks beautiful when properly finished and it is extremely light.
The Lian Li PC-A04B, like all cases from this company, is a real show-stopper. Although clad in black, the brushed aluminum finish gives this case a unique sparkle that changes an shifts depending on the lighting the case is exposed to.
Yet this case is about more than looks. It has two 140mm front fan mounts and one rear 120mm rear fan mount. That creates a fair amount of direct front-to-back airflow, and it should also keep your system relatively quite, since big fans don’t need to spin as quickly to move the same amount of air. This case also has 7 internal 3.5″ drive bays, an impressive number for any Micro ATC case. Although the price of $110 is much higher than the Rosewill or the Elite, Lian Li’s superior design easily makes the PC-A04B one of the best Micro ATX cases currently available.
Silverstone is well known for its premium cases, some of which cost hundreds of dollars. But it also offers some excellent Micro ATX cases in the Sugo series, such as the Sugo SG06BB, an excellent cube-style case for anyone looking to build a small but powerful system.
The strange but genius design of the SG02B results in a case that is just 8 inches high, but 10 inches wide and 15 inches long. Overall, it is significantly smaller in terms of volume than your average mid-tower Micro ATX case. However, because of the dimensions, it is possible to place an expansion card up to 12 inches long inside without problem, and there is also a fair amount of room for mid-to-large CPU coolers. This means that gamers can put in big video cards and overclockers can fit effective CPU coolers.
Th Sugo SG02B isn’t entirely without compromise, however. It can only fit three 3.25″ drives in total, as well as two 5.25″ external drives. In addition, the Sugo is only able to mount 80mm fans, so systems built with this case can be loud. Still, at a price of around $90, this is a great choice.