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The 5 Best Portable PC Cases With Handles (Buying Guide)

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Mar 16, 2021

Affiliate Disclosure: When you purchase products through our links, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Lian Li TU150

“Portable” and “desktop PC” don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. You could even say that anyone who needs a portable PC should just get a laptop. But definitions of “portable” can differ; not everyone’s looking to work on their novel at a Starbucks, after all.

Say, for example, that you want something to take to a LAN party or you occasionally shuttle between a few different houses. It doesn’t make sense to sacrifice the power and bang-for-buck of a desktop PC if you’re only moving it a few times a month.

To that end, we’ve listed down the five best portable PC cases perfect for building a rig that you can carry with you from time to time.

Our Picks for Best Portable PC Case

Best Micro-ATX Case: Cooler Master Q300P

Measurements (H x W x L)17.83 x 9.05 x 17.83 inches
Motherboard SupportMicro ATX, Mini ITX
PSU SupportATX
Maximum GPU Length14.17 inches
CPU Cooler Clearance6.25 inches
Expansion SlotsFour
Fans• 2x 120/140 mm (front)
• 1x 120 mm (rear)
• 2x 120 mm (top)
Storage• 2x 2.5” SSD
• 1x 3.5” HDD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/Out

There are many things to like about Cooler Master’s MasterBox Q300P. We think it’s one of the most interesting mainstream micro ATX cases with a handle available right now.

What’s appealing about the Q300P is all the options it gives you. All four of the handles you can see in the photo are removable. The side-mounted I/O panel on the side is also movable, with three possible positions on either side of the case. On top of that, the Q300P is designed to work both horizontally and vertically.

Since the Q300P is a micro ATX case, compatibility is relatively standard. It will accommodate 14.17 inch-long GPUs, more than enough for most high-end cards. CPU air cooler compatibility is a bit compromised, however. At 6.25 inches, you’ll have to go for a slightly smaller unit like the Noctua U-12S. You’ll also be able to use a regular ATX-size PSU.

Building in a micro-ATX portable case means that you’ll have enough space for a CPU AIO, though. The Q300P supports a 240 mm radiator in the front, more than enough to cool even the hottest Intel CPU. If you’re going with air, then the Q300P will fit five 120 mm fans.

Sure, you won’t be building the smallest PC ever in this case. But what you lose in size stakes, you gain in other areas, like wider component compatibility. And it’s still a lot more portable than your average mid tower ATX case, that’s for sure.

Micro-ATX Upgrade Pick: Sliger Cerberus

Measurements (H x W x L)12.57 x 6.78 x 14.09 inches
Motherboard SupportMicro ATX, Mini ITX
PSU SupportATX, SFX, SFX L
Maximum GPU Length13 inches
CPU Cooler Clearance• 5.86 inches (internally-mounted SFX PSU)
• 2.9 inches (rear-mounted SFX PSU)
• 1.8 inches (ATX PSU)
Expansion SlotsFive
Fans• 2x 120 mm (front)
• 2x 120/140 mm (bottom)
Storage• 2x 2.5” SSD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0

If you want to build a portable micro ATX rig in an exceptionally compact and premium case, the Sliger Cerberus might be the case for you. It pulls off the trick of supporting mATX motherboards while also being small enough to qualify as a bona fide SFF case, coming in at 19.64 liters.

Our other micro ATX case, the Cooler Master Q300P, gives you multiple options for handle positions, case orientation, and the location of the I/O panel. On the other hand, the Sliger Cerberus offers you a lot of choices when buying the case itself.

You can choose the finish, the types of side panels you want, whether you want a handle, extra storage and fan mounting options, and so on. You can even choose to bundle in a low-profile AIO CPU cooler, which you’ll need if you want to install a standard ATX PSU in the Cerberus.

example Sliger Cerberus build

Source: Sliger

The Cerberus feels like a really well-thought-out case. It offers multiple PSU mounting options and solid AIO support (from a single 120 mm radiator to a 280 mm dual radiator). What’s more, it has an “infinite vent pattern” that allows you to fit 60 mm to 140 mm case fans “almost anywhere.”

sliger cerberus vents

Souce: Sliger

The Sliger Cerberus also has five expansion ports. That means, with the right parts, you could build a dual GPU rig in the Cerberus if you’re feeling a bit crazy. That’s impressive for such a compact case.

The downside? The Cerberus isn’t cheap. Starting at $265 with a handle, the Cerberus costs a pretty penny compared to our other choices. Free US shipping helps, but it’s still considerably more expensive than the Cooler Master Q300P.

However, the Sliger Cerberus stands out as one of the most exciting, and still relatively accessible, micro ATX cases with handles right now. If you like what the Cerberus offers, there’s not much on the market that can compare.

Best Mini-ITX Case: Lian Li PC-TU150

Measurements (H x W x L)12.28 x 7.99 x 14.76 inches
Motherboard SupportMini ITX
PSU SupportSFX, SFX L
Maximum GPU Length12.59 inches
CPU Cooler Clearance6.49 inches
Expansion SlotsThree
Fans• 1x 120 mm (front)
• 1x 120 mm (rear)
• 2x 120 mm (bottom)
Storage• 2x 2.5” SSD or
• 1x 2.5” SSD and 1x 3.5” HDD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• 1x USB 3.1 Type C
• Audio In/Out

Lian Li is no stranger to making PC cases, being well known for products like the O11 Dynamic and their range of desk PCs. While they’re definitely more focused on bigger cases, they also make the PC-TU150. It’s our pick for the best mini ITX case with a handle that you can buy right now.

The PC-TU150 is a bit too big to qualify as a “proper” sub-20L small form factor (SFF) case, but that comes with some benefits. The PC-TU150 has enough room to fit GPUs up to 12.6 inches long and CPU coolers up to 6.5 inches high.

This means you’ll be able to pick from almost any high-end graphics card on the market now and pair it with a chunky CPU cooler like Noctua’s NH-D15S. You’ll still have to go for an SFX or SFX-L power supply, but that’s a small sacrifice to make for such effortless compatibility elsewhere.

An example Lian Li TU150 build

Source: nickmjhsu on PCPartPicker

The PC-TU150 has some thoughtful airflow features, with perforations down the sides and across the bottom of the front panel. The PSU even gets its own dedicated grate. If you opt for the windowless variant, the case also has a grate specifically for GPU cooling.

Fan-wise, it has four 120 mm fan slots, so you shouldn’t have any trouble feeding fresh air to your components. PC TU-150. There’s enough space to hide your cables on top of or behind the motherboard tray, helping you ensure a clear pathway for the air to flow.

Top it all off with a nice brushed aluminum finish and a retractable magnetic handle, and you have one of the most stylish and practical mini-ITX portable PC cases on the market now. We like this case a lot.

Best SFF (<20L) Case: SilverStone ML08

Measurements (H x W x L)3.43 x 14.96 x 14.57 inches
Motherboard SupportMini ITX
PSU SupportSFX, SFX L
Maximum GPU Length13 inches
CPU Cooler Clearance2.28 inches
Expansion SlotsTwo
FansNone
Storage2x 2.5” SSD
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio in/out

If you want to build a thin SFF case with a handle, there aren’t many better choices than the SilverStone ML08. Coming in at a dainty 12 liters, the ML08 is perfect for a portable HTPC that you can take with you on trips. It even has space for a dedicated optical drive, which the Blu-Ray fanatics out there will surely appreciate.

Don’t think it can’t be used for gaming, either. It supports 13-inch GPUs and enough CPU cooler space for something like Noctua’s low-profile NH-L9a or NH-L9i coolers. You’ll definitely have to go with a slightly lower-power CPU. However, it should still be enough for an enjoyable gaming experience.

Remember to keep an eye on the temperatures, though; the ML08 doesn’t have any space for case fans. So, you’ll have to rely on the ventilation and the fans on your coolers to keep things running at decent temperatures.

Example silverstone ml08 build

Source: MountieXXL on Imgur

When you’re building a PC in something this size, though, you’ll definitely have to make more sacrifices than with our other options. On balance, we think the lack of cooling fans isn’t a deal-breaker for HTPC-style builds, especially when the case is this thin.

As a bonus, you can also position the ML08 horizontally, making it perfect for a console-style PC to put under your TV.

SFF Upgrade Pick: Jonsbo T8

Measurements (H x W x L)9.52 x 6.3 x 8.58 inches
Motherboard SupportMini ITX
PSU SupportATX, SFX, SFX L
Maximum GPU Length8.26 inches
CPU Cooler Clearance• 2.6 inches (SFX PSU)
• 1.77 inches (ATX PSU)
Expansion SlotsTwo
Fans1x 140 mm (top)
Storage• 2x 2.5” SSD or
• 1x 3.5” HDD
I/O Ports2x USB 3.0

The Jonsbo T8 is a bit of a left-field choice that can occasionally be a bit hard to get in the US. But in the realm of SFF PCs with handles, it’s quite an interesting choice worth tracking down.

Out of all the cases in this list, the T8 is probably the most restrictive on GPU size. You’re definitely going to need a compact GPU from the likes of Zotac when building in the T8. CPU coolers are going to have to be on the thinner side too. You at least have more options than the Silverstone ML08, and if you install an SFX PSU, Noctua’s NH-L9x65 will just about fit.

jonsbo t8 build

Source: diq9000 on Imgur

CPU cooler compatibility is a bit more restricted if you install a standard ATX PSU. Even then, though, the Noctua L9 coolers we discussed above will fit just fine. The fact that you can squeeze a standard ATX PSU in the T8 is pretty impressive, even if it comes at the cost of CPU power.

8.26 inches might seem a bit small for a GPU, but it’s not that bad. If they’re ever in stock, cards like EVGA’s RTX 3060 Ti XC GAMING or ZOTAC’s RTX 2070 Super Mini will fit in the T8 just fine. That said, we can’t deny that it’ll take a bit of effort to find the right card if you don’t already have one that’ll fit.

The upshot, though, is that you’ll get a really compact case that measures only 8.1 liters in volume. Couple that with a tempered glass panel, and you have the basis for a visually appealing little gaming rig.

Of our two SFF choices, the Jonsbo T8 is definitely more geared towards gamers compared to the HTPC stylings of the SilverStone ML08. Despite the T8 having less volume, the T8’s layout makes it a better choice for building a gaming rig in an SFF mini ITX case with a handle.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even mod it to add a front intake fan, which will help with the airflow and make it an even better gaming case.

How To Choose A Portable PC Case

We’ve done our research and are confident that these five cases are some of the best portable PC cases you can buy right now. But we know that choosing a PC case comes down to personal preference more than anything else, and you may not be that keen on our picks.

So, to help you make your own choice and explain some of ours, let’s run through the most essential characteristics of a portable PC case.

Handles

portable pc cases with handles

Source: Sliger

All the cases in our list feature carrying handles. While you can get by without one, especially if it’s a micro-ATX (mATX) or mini-ITX case, a handle makes carrying your portable rig a lot easier. There’s less chance of it slipping out of your grasp, for one. It also makes it easier to set it down if you need to use both your hands.

If portability is your main concern, we think a handle is really a must-have.

Size

Portable PC case compared to 2L Coke Bottle

Coke bottle for scale. Source: u/Jorgejones96

Let’s get it out of the way: yes, you can get mid and full tower cases with handles. And yes, that technically makes them more portable than similarly-sized cases without handles. But we think they’re still too big to qualify as a legit portable PC case. Do you really want to lug a mid tower, even one with handles, up and down flights of stairs? We guessed not.

That’s why all of our picks here are mATX and smaller. We think you should stick to the same form factors if you’re choosing your own portable case. Cases like the Lian Li PC-TU150 even support full-size CPU air coolers and GPUs, so don’t think you’ll be missing out by going with a smaller case.

Component Compatibility

GPU not fitting a small PC case

Don’t let this happen to you. Source: Tom’s Hardware

There’s nothing worse than buying a case only to realize your components won’t fit. This can happen surprisingly easily, mainly if you’re reusing old parts like a PSU or GPU in a new build. We tried to pick cases with well-rounded compatibility to work with regular parts, saving you that particular headache.

Still, expect to need one or two new parts if this is your first ITX or small form factor (SFF) build. Depending on the case, you might have to get a smaller SFX PSU or a shorter graphics card. So, do your research and budget accordingly.

Airflow and Temperatures

It’s surprisingly easy to end up with a super-hot PC when you’re targeting compactness and portability. So we’ve gone for cases with features, be it fan mounting points or well-placed grates, designed to ensure adequate airflow.

Of course, small cases will almost always run hotter than a roomier mid or full tower. That’s just something you’ll have to accept in a small PC. That said, this can be a problem if you’re a stickler for temperatures or live in a hot climate. If that’s you, then small portable cases probably aren’t the right choice.

Conclusion

Out of the cases we listed here, we like the Sliger Cerberus and Lian Li PC-TU150 the most. Both feature compact size, classy aesthetics, and relatively flexible component support, making for a pair of excellent portable PC cases.

All in all, though, we don’t think you can really go wrong with any of our picks. Some may require more sacrifices than others, but it’ll all depend on what sort of PC you’re building in the first place. Just remember that you’ll be giving up some of the things you may be taking for granted in mid or full tower cases with any of these picks.

But the portability of a micro ATX or mini ITX case with a handle outweighs the sacrifices. As long as you do your research beforehand and confirm that all your parts fit, you’ll be fine. Have fun building!

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