PC Case Sizes: All You Need To Know [2023]

PC Case Sizes All You Need To Know

Do you feel overwhelmed by the myriad of sizes available when it comes to choosing a PC case?

In fact we were asked the same question by someone who wished to build a new PC last week!

We understand how confusing this can be, especially if you are unfamiliar with hardware and components.

Here’s some insight that will help; All computer cases come in four standard sizes – small form factor (SFF), mini towermid tower, and full tower

This blog should provide users who are new to the concept of PC cases with a comprehensive guide on finding the right size for their needs.

So let’s unpack what all these terms mean!

Understanding Different PC Case Sizes

The four main desktop computer case sizes available on the market include small form factor (SFF), mini tower, mid tower, and full tower.

Small Form Factor (Mini-ITX Case)

PC cases make an important contribution to the performance of a gaming system, so it’s essential to choose the right one.

Small form factor (Mini-ITX) cases are lightweight and compact, making them perfect for those who need their PCs to be portable or take up minimal space.

Mini ITX cases have limited capacity but can comfortably house all necessary standard components such as motherboards, graphics cards, CPU coolers, and hard drives.

They also usually have only one 5.25″ drive bay for optical drives and additional cooling fans.

This makes them great choices for home theater PCs due to their small size and low wattage draw that won’t overheat your living room even when running multiple high-performance games at once!

Great portability options coupled with these helpful features make mini ITX cases convenient choices of gaming case sizes that pack enough power while saving on wallet receipts during purchase time: an ideal choice if you’re looking for both economy and convenience!

Mini Tower (MicroATX Case)

Mini towers come in the mid-range of PC case sizes and are by far the most popular. Their affordability, compatibility with standard-sized components, and versatility in placement make them an attractive option for many users.

They are often used by gamers due to their ability to support high-end graphics cards that require better air circulation than what’s found in smaller cases. There is generally space for a couple of 5.25″ drive bays that can accommodate optical drives or fan controllers for additional cooling solutions if needed.

Cable management options tend to be decent as well, allowing optimal airflow throughout the system while preventing dust buildup from too many stray cables. For those on a budget but still require ample internal space and good cable routing capabilities, mini towers offer plenty of bang for your buck.

Mid Tower (ATX Case)

Mid towers have become the preferred size of PC case for gaming and power users due to their support for larger, high-end graphics cardssuperior cable management options that improve air circulation while reducing dust buildup, and multiple drive bays (2-5 5.25″, 6-8 3.5″ and 0-10 2.5″).

The mid-tower offers a great balance between cooling capability, size, and design allowing users to fit standard-sized ATX components with extra space for expansion. It is also capable of safely supporting overclocking as long as sufficient cooling is provided.

These factors make the mid-tower an ideal choice for power-hungry gamers who demand both excellent performance and good aesthetics from their PCs!

Full Tower (EATX Case)

Full towers are a great option for power users, server admins, overclockers, and hardcore gamers, as they can fit larger server motherboards and provide excellent cooling arrangements.

Not only do full towers offer exceptional capacity for higher-end components to support extreme performance levels for gaming with 4K resolution across multiple screens but also have the right setup for ultimate airflow configurations.

Additionally, there is ample space in these cases to fit multiple graphics cards while also allowing efficient cable management.

Overall, Full Towers deliver the very best of all worlds; the spaciousness needed to house all types of components from high-end processors and chipsets while still providing more than enough room even with an extensive array of additional internal accessories and peripherals installed.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a PC Case Size

PC Cases

When selecting a PC case size, consider factors such as available space, cooling capability, compatibility with chosen specifications, portability requirements, and budget. 

Space

When considering a PC case size, it’s important to assess the available space you have. The amount of room and type of components needed will directly affect your decision on what case is best for you.

If you are working with limited space or want something that will fit easily into home theater setups, then smaller form factor cases like Mini-ITX can be great options. These usually support fewer components but offer portability and a more compact design than other larger PCs.

On the other hand, if you build custom PCs often or require lots of expandability and air circulation for high-end gaming rigs then bigger sizes like full tower EATX would be able to accommodate those needs better due to their improved cooling capabilities from being able to hold large fans and having good airflow throughout.

Cooling capability

When choosing a PC case size, it’s important to consider cooling performance as well as component compatibility.

Small-form factor cases, such as Mini-ITX or MicroATX models, provide less potential for air circulation than larger mid-tower or full towers designs.

As such, users should make sure they are not compromising the efficiency of their systems by opting for smaller card sizes if gaming or intensive computing is the goal. On the flip side, small form factor cases can be an ideal choice when space constraints prevent more spacious options from being considered.

Similarly, mini tower cases offer good cooling and compatibility with standard-sized components while still offering improved portability over larger counterparts.

Mid towers typically have enough room to accommodate large graphics cards and powerful CPUs; they also come with added cable management customization capabilities that improve airflow from fans and other ventilation appliances inside the case – this in turn helps regulate temperature on demanding systems during extended use scenarios like gaming sessions or movie streaming marathons.

Purpose

Each type of computer case has its unique advantages and disadvantages based on purpose and space requirements. Small form factor cases are perfect for users with limited space or who need portability due to their lightweight.

They often have fewer ports than larger cases, but still offer room for components required for basic use like an optical drive and a graphics card. Mini towers can save money by allowing smaller motherboards to be used yet still accommodate standard-sized desktop components such as hard disks, graphics cards, and air cooling options.

Mid-tower cases provide better cable management capabilities that improve airflow while making it easier to build a system without dealing with clutter.

Full tower cases provide ample room for multiple high-end GPUs, SLI systems, or servers running multi-CPU configurations as well as provide plenty of space for large water-cooling rigs which require more ventilation compared to air cooling solutions.

Compatibility with chosen specifications

When choosing a PC case, it’s important to make sure that the size of your chosen case is compatible with your desired components and features.

A big case may offer more features but will be less portable, while a smaller one might not have enough room for all the elements you need and require large component upgrades.

When considering your computer system’s capabilities and design requirements, consider items such as motherboard sizegraphics card length requirements, and cooling fans’ placement options for adequate air intake/exhaust airflow in the enclosure.

Consideration should also be given to what other peripherals and accessories you plan on connecting (e.g., Liquid Cooling Systems or multiple drives).

Too small of a form factor can lead to limited space for cables & connections which significantly impacts performance and stability; too large of an enclosure results in wasted space which increases cost unnecessarily over time.

Portability requirements

For those who need to transport their PC frequently, choosing a case that offers easy portability is essential.

After all, having the right size and weight for your environment is just as important as any other factor.

Small form factor cases are lightweight and often come with handles or even wheels for easier transporting of the unit when you’re on the go.

Additionally, consider what features it might have to make transportation more secure or comfortable such as padded corner guards. You may also want to check if there are additional accessories that provide extra protection during transport like laptop bags specifically designed for small form factor towers or if there are specific options available in terms of handle placement – top mounted versus front facing handles found on larger full tower cases.

Budget

Cases come in different sizes and can cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars or more. Small form factor (SFF) cases tend to be the cheapest, costing between $40 – $100.

Mini towers are also generally affordable, ranging in price from around $50-200 depending on features like drive spaces and integrated fans. Mid-tower cases start at about $60 and go up in price depending on premium features such as modern styling cues, tempered glass panels, or RGB lighting options.

Full towers usually range between $90-350 but some very pricey models exceed this range when extensive customization is possible.

If your budget is limited it may limit your available case size options significantly; smaller budgets often mean fewer upgradeability options for components as well as a lack of space for additional fans which can hinder cooling capabilities if not adequately addressed with other measures during PC construction as well as pre-purchase research phase.

Cable Management

Cable management is an important element when it comes to building PCs as it can help maximize airflow and minimize dust, improving performance while increasing the life of your components.

clean cable layout inside a case helps to direct airflow in the right direction, allowing air to pass more easily so that any fans or heat sinks can do their job properly.

Fortunately, many cases come with several points of attachment for straps or zip ties which makes organizing cables much easier and neater.

Depending on what is needed for your system build, there are various tools available such as velcro straps, zip ties, and cable clamps that can be used for easy installation and removal of cabling.

Additionally, many motherboards have several handy features such as cutouts near sockets which make routing cables around specific areas less problematic.

There are tamperproof grommets specifically designed to keep wires secure while allowing them enough flexibility and not messing with other components within the PC case itself.

Size and Design

When it comes to choosing the right PC case size, there is no one-size fits all answer. Each type of case has pros and cons related to space, cooling capability, compatibility with specifications, portability needs, and budget constraints.

Small form factor (SFF) cases are lightweight and compact options that are ideal for users who need portability or have limited workspace. Mini towers offer a great balance between cost and performance but may not be suitable for high-performance systems due to limited air circulation.

Mid-tower cases provide more room for components such as liquid cooling systems, more fan options for better airflow management, and support larger graphics cards compared to mini-towers.

Full towers are favored by power users looking for superior customization options; they can fit large server motherboards as well as multiple graphics cards if needed without sacrificing venting capabilities or cable management features.

Pros and Cons of Different PC Case Sizes

Explore the varying benefits and drawbacks of each size to uncover the ideal case for your needs.

Advantages and disadvantages of small form factor cases

Small form factor cases are perfect for users who need to move around a lot, such as those attending LAN parties with their PCs.

These compact cases are also great if you have limited space at home or in the office since they can fit into tight spaces where other larger PC cases wouldn’t go.

On the flip side, small form factor cases usually don’t come with many drive bays and may not be compatible with all standard-sized components. Depending on your needs, this might limit what hardware you’re able to install in them.

Additionally, poor cable management may lead to decreased airflow and overheating issues inside the case due to cramped quarters which comes aggravated when high-power components like GPUs are installed.

Advantages and disadvantages of mini towers

Mini tower PC cases are an affordable way to build a custom system and provide versatile placement options. They can fit on a desktop or floor, allowing you to free up desk space or place it in areas with limited room.

In addition, they are the most common type of case compatible with standard-sized components like motherboards and graphics cards. The downside is that mini towers typically have fewer drive bays than larger cases, which limits storage capabilities.

This means users must carefully select their components for powerful systems if they don’t want to be held back by storage limitations. Additionally, some compact designs may not support full-size GPUs or CPU coolers either due to their shape or cable routing details so proper research should be done before settling on a specific model for your gaming system.

Advantages and disadvantages of mid towers

Mid-tower cases are the most popular of the PC case sizes due to their ability to support high-end graphics cardsbetter air circulation, and plenty of space for cable management.

Mid towers usually have two to five 5.25” drive bays, six to eight 3.5” drive bays, and zero to ten 2.5” drive bays—more than enough storage options needed for gaming or basic computing needs.

They are also compatible with ATX and micro-ATX motherboards so both budget gamers and enthusiasts can find a motherboard that fits within their chosen case size without sacrificing on features or components like RAM slots and PCIe connectors.

With regards to cooling capabilities, mid-tower cases often come with up to 7 additional fans although liquid cooling is still possible if you can afford it since there’s more room in these cases compared to mini towers or small form factor models for large radiators and reservoirs.

Advantages and disadvantages of full towers

Full tower cases offer significant advantages over smaller form factors in terms of cooling capabilities, spaciousness for extra hardware and components, and compatibility with larger server motherboards.

These are all features that make it the ideal choice for power users, server admins, overclockers, and hardcore gamers looking to run higher resolutions on multiple monitor setups or build a rig capable of playing the newest AAA titles.

With increased space inside a full tower case comes more options for additional cores, storage drives (both HDD & SSD), RAM stacks as well as improved compatibility with multi-GPU configurations.

The extra room also allows PC enthusiasts to provide better ventilation for their rigs by adding more fans or custom water cooling solutions. On the flip side, full towers can be quite large and heavy making them difficult to transport anywhere other than your desktop area if needed.

How Big Are You Willing to Go?

When choosing a PC case size, it is important to consider the necessary components and their placement inside the case. If you’re looking for more portability, then investing in a smaller form factor case such as an SFF or mini-tower will be ideal.

For those limited in space but still need enough room to fit standard components, a microATX or mid-tower may fit all your needs. As far as power users are concerned–those who require servers with multiple graphics cards over 4K resolution gaming on triple monitors–a full tower becomes essential.

Ultimately though, the decision depends on your specific requirements and how big (or small) you’re willing to go when it comes to PC cases. You must take into account your budgetpurpose of use, and available space constraints before selecting which type of computer case—small form factor, mini-tower, mid-tower, or full tower—best suits your needs and preferences.

From cooling capability and compatibility with chosen specifications down to portability requirements: each size can have its variables—so make sure you do your research wisely!

PC Case Size Comparison Chart

We’ve prepared a comparison chart that details the various PC case sizes, their dimensions, and their compatible motherboard sizes. This overview provides a quick reference guide to help you understand the differences and similarities between the different case sizes.

PC Case Size Dimensions (approx.) Compatible Motherboard Size
Small Form Factor (SFF) 8.2″ x 8.0″ x 3.2″ Mini-ITX
Mini Tower 15.74″ x 7.28″ x 14.96″ MicroATX, Mini-ITX
Mid Tower 20.2″ x 8.1″ x 18.5″ ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX
Full Tower 22.5″ x 9.3″ x 22.0″ EATX, ATX, MicroATX, Mini-ITX

 This chart provides a visual representation of the range of sizes for the various PC case formats.

As you can see, the size of the case directly influences which motherboard sizes are compatible. This makes the choice in size crucial when planning your PC build, especially if you already have a particular motherboard in mind. For instance, if you have a Mini-ITX motherboard, you can choose any case size, whereas an EATX motherboard mandates the use of a full tower. 

How Are Computer Case Sizes Linked to Motherboards?

Computer case size directly affects what type of motherboard can be used.

Small form factor cases (such as Mini-ITX) are compatible with smaller motherboards while mini towers are designed to fit MicroATXmid towers favor ATX and full towers support the largest motherboard types such as EATX.

Which Case Size is Best for a Gaming PC?

Mini towers such as MicroATX cases tend to offer great value for money when compared with larger cases and can accommodate standard-sized components. While these do provide improved airflow over smaller SFF cases due to having both top fan mounting options as well multiple rear exhaust vents; expansion ports may be limited meaning only basic graphics cards with lower output will fit within these boxes if need be.

Nonetheless, it’s still possible to build yourself a decent budget rig within one of these which may be all you need depending on what type of games you plan on playing!

Mid towers such as ATX models provide excellent cooling capabilities due to their spacious inner compartments making them ideal candidates for heavier gaming rigs between casual and hardcore machines.

Most mid towers also come with handy cable management features allowing airflow around the interior thus further boosting temperatures in extreme conditions while providing even higher compatibility levels than most mATX casings; unfortunately, however, support 4K resolution grids becomes infeasible given there simply isn’t enough room available although 1080P resolutions run smooth like butter under majority circumstances through triple/quad monitor setups – just bear price tags in mind if tackling this front head on!

Finally, full tower EATX models generally have the largest internal compartment sizes thereby offering near unrivaled component compatibility fitting even high-end GPU dual SLI configurations along taller heatsinks without compromise – furthermore, adequate acoustic insulation helps keep environmental impact at minimum

Does PC Case Size matter?

The size of your PC case can play a major role in the performance and functionality of your computer, and it is important to choose one that best suits your needs.

Mini towers are often more affordable than their larger counterparts and can accommodate standard-sized components as well as graphics cards if budget allows. Mid towers offer better cable management options, allowing improved airflow which helps reduce dust buildup while also enabling higher overclocking capabilities.

Full tower cases are designed with power users in mind – they house huge server motherboards, numerous expansion cards, multiple hard drives, and more cooling fans plus plenty of room for liquid cooling systems.

Since full tower cases have significantly more internal space than other sizes do, they tend to provide the most efficient heat dissipation characteristics that will ensure optimal temperature ranges no matter how demanding an application may be.

Bigger PC case mean better cooling?

Yes, a bigger PC case usually gives you more cooling. Larger cases provide additional space to accommodate larger fans and heat sinks which can help keep your components running cool and quiet.

Another benefit of a larger PC case is increased airflow because it features more vent openings than smaller cases, allowing for better circulation of air between components.

This observation also holds with full towers as they have the most space out of all sizes, thus providing ample room for added ventilation equipment or custom-designed builds with multiple fans/radiators.

Finally, since bigger cases offer more interior volume in comparison to their smaller counterparts, they give off less heat because there’s less exposure among hot and cold air sources within their walls so temperatures are kept relatively low inside the chassis even when components reach higher operating temperatures.

Can a full ATX motherboard fit in a mid-tower?

mid-tower case can typically fit a full ATX motherboard. As the name “mid-tower” indicates, it’s smaller than a full tower but still large enough to accommodate the majority of gaming and workstation hardware with ease.

Many models also have optimal cooling, cable management, and other features that make centralizing all components possible. However, the size and layout of a PC case determine which parts you will be able to install on your motherboard.

Be sure to check its dimensions before purchasing any new hardware for compatibility reasons as some ATX motherboards may be too long or wide for some mid-sized cases. You should also consider whether you intend to overclock or use multiple GPUs and if so how this will affect your thermal considerations when selecting what PC case works best for you.

Which is better for airflow: Big Or Small Case?

When it comes to air circulation, size does matter. While bigger cases tend to be far more effective in cooling and ventilation due to the ample space for fans and heat sinks, smaller form factor PC cases are typically lightweight and semi-portable.

Small form factor cases usually have one 5.25″ drive bay dedicated to optical drives, fan controllers, or extra cooling fans but offer limited room for additional components which can lead to bottlenecks in airflow.

Mid towers are also great at preventing overheating on higher-end hardware since they often offer better cable management options that improve airflow patterns while reducing dust buildup within the case.

Full towers provide an exemplary level of cooling potential with plenty of room for additional water-cooling equipment as well as graphics cards running multi-monitor setups at 4K resolutions.

So whether you need full portability with a small mini ITX build or want the coolest ultimate gaming setup possible using a full tower case, the size of your PC case is just as important when it comes to choosing what kind of computer will fit your needs perfectly!

Whats the airflow situation in smaller PC cases?

From small form factor (SFF) to full towers, PC cases come in a range of sizes and each offers its advantages and disadvantages. Smaller cases are often favored by home theater enthusiasts or those who have limited space because they allow users to save on physical space.

However, one issue that must be addressed when considering a smaller case is airflow. Although most SFF cases try to maximize their cooling capability, the truth is their size limitations can make it harder for them to achieve optimal air circulation compared with larger cases.

Compact mini-ITX and microATX PCs need efficient cable management as well as good ventilation options to reduce the amount of dust buildup inside the case which could restrict air circulation even more.

Some manufacturers employ features like mesh panels designed specifically for better airflow while others may include specialized fans or use quieter components to avoid disrupting the system’s thermal performance due to excess noise levels, all having an impact on cooling efficiency when using a small form factor case.

Other considerations include choosing low-profile GPUs that generate less heat than higher-end models as well as avoiding packing too many components into a cramped enclosure to promote internal airflow within the PC’s interior environment allowing it to operate at peak performance without overheating.

Can smaller PC cases overheat?

Smaller PC cases are more susceptible to overheating due to their lack of space for air circulation. With limited room for fans and ventilation slots, plus poor airflow within the case itself, heat can become trapped with nowhere to escape.

This can lead to a rapid increase in temperature, eventually resulting in components warping or even melting down if left unchecked. Furthermore, small form factor PCs struggle with accommodating larger hardware components such as bigger graphics cards or multiple GPUs.

Multiple powerful components usually emit large amounts of heat but have little room within the confines of a compact case – this further compounds the risk of overheating occurring without proper management.

The good news is that by introducing efficient cooling solutions into your system-building process you can minimize the chance of an overheating issue arising. U

sing powerful yet low-noise fans alongside cable management tools to optimize airflow will go some way toward reducing temperatures inside the chassis.

Liquid cooling systems that take up less physical space than bulky fan setups may also be worth considering if available funds allow it; these offer much better thermal performance than regular consumer-level HSF (heatsink and fan units).

Finally, given their cramped dimensions always opt for smaller parts whenever possible; slim profile PSUs provide greater headroom while other parts like motherboards support mini-ITX versions for those who don’t want superfluous ‘bulk’ included in their builds anyway!

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...