When it comes to PC cases, size really does matter. Regardless of whether you plan on making it the crown jewel of your desk or will be tucking it away out of sight, choosing the right PC case for your purposes dictates the rest of your build. In this guide, we’ll cover the differences between a full, mid, and mini tower gaming PC, as well as how to choose which one is right for you.
PC Case Size Chart
14 to 16 inches
17 to 21 inches
22 to 27 inches
The size of the case is generally determined by two factors: motherboard size and the number of 3.5-inch bays for hard drives and solid state drives (SSDs). Sometimes, the expansion slots are also a factor.
The maximum motherboard size for a mini tower case is microATX, which is generally between 9.6” × 9.6” or smaller. It can have between 4 to 5 3.5-inch bays for storage, and can support up to 4 expansion slots.
The maximum motherboard size that can fit inside a mid tower case is ATX. A full size ATX board is 12” × 9.6”, but you can also fit smaller boards inside such as a mini-ATX, which would be 11.2” × 8.2”. It can fit anywhere from 6 to 8 3.5-inch bays, and can support anywhere between 7 to 8 expansion slots depending on the configuration.
Finally, the maximum motherboard size you can fit into a full tower case is EATX or extended ATX. This is a bigger version of the ATX motherboard and is 12” × 13”. In this case, you can fit anywhere between 9 to a whopping 13 3.5-inch bays; it supports 9 to 10 expansion slots.
How to choose a gaming PC case that’s right for you
1. How much space do you have? This one’s self-explanatory. There’s not much sense in springing for a case that’s going to take up more space than you have. If you live in a cramped dorm room that you’re sharing with three other people, it may be better to go for a mini tower gaming PC that can easily fit in any corner. If space is not a concern, then it should be perfectly fine to opt for a mid- or full-tower case.
2. How portable would you like it to be? If you enjoy going to LAN parties and playing with your friends, then a mini tower gaming PC would be the right choice for you. The ones from CLX’s Scarab line are as compact as they are competitive, and you can easily take it from your desk to a friend’s house.
3. What’s your budget? If money is no object, then splurging on a mid- or a full-tower gaming PC can be a good idea. With these cases, you’ll be able to fit all of the components you need to run triple-A games. Bigger cases also offer better airflow to cool your system adequately; you could install custom water cooling solutions in them to prevent throttling and overheating issues.
4. What do you plan on putting in it? As described above, you can be severely limited in terms of hard drive bays and expansion slots when you choose a smaller PC case. If you need a lot of space for a beefy graphics card and plenty of storage to store your games or raw video, you’d be better off with a mid- or full-tower PC case.
Whichever size PC case you choose, you can find them all on CLX! Choose any system from their pre-built lines, or visit their Ultimate Configurator page to build your own from scratch.
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