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The 5 Best Micro-ATX Cases in 2021

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Nov 16, 2021

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There are several reasons why you’d want to go for a Micro-ATX build these days. Maybe you’re on a budget and want to save a bit of money with a cheaper mATX board. Or perhaps you want a smaller rig without the “ITX tax” of a small form factor PC. Regardless of your reasoning, you’ll want to know the best Micro-ATX cases if you’re interested in the ecosystem.

We’ve tried to keep the prices down for our picks here, but we couldn’t resist sneaking in a couple of more premium options if that’s more your thing. Either way, we’re confident you’ll find something on our list that works for you. So, let’s get to it.

Our Favorite Micro-ATX Cases

1. Cooler Master NR400

Best Micro-ATX Case Overall

Measurements (H x W x L)16.2 x 8.3 x 16.2 inches
Maximum GPU Length13.6 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height6.5 inches
Expansion SlotsFour
Fan Mounts• 2x 120/140 mm (front)
• 1x 120/140 mm (top)
• 1x 120 mm (rear)
Radiator Support• Up to 240/280 mm (front)
• 120 mm (top)
• 120 mm (rear)
Drive Mounts• 4x 2.5” drives
• 4x 3.5” drives
• 1x 5.25” drive
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/Out

Cooler Master’s NR400 is one of the company’s newest Micro-ATX cases. It’s an all-around solid case focusing on airflow, with enough room to meet most users’ hardware and storage demands.

One of the NR400’s highlights is its ample drive mounting locations. There’s room for four 2.5” and four 3.5” drives, which should be more than enough for even the most ardent storage fiend. Three 3.5” drives are stored in a drive cage underneath the PSU shroud, which can be moved (or removed) if needed.

The version of the NR400 available in the US also comes with an optical drive bay, which might come in handy if you like your physical media. Unfortunately, it does stop you from mounting three front intakes, although we don’t think you’ll need that much intake with a mesh front. The drive bay arguably ruins the front’s sleek look, too, although that’s for you to decide.

On the topic of fans, Cooler Master ships the NR400 with two 120 mm fans; one intake and one exhaust. We’d prefer an extra intake, but it’s hard to really consider it a huge negative given the case’s price. Either way, even with just the two default fans, the NR400 turns in impressive cooling performance.

Bit-Tech tested the NR400 with an Intel Core i5-4670K running at 4.0 GHz and saw a 44 degrees Celsius delta over ambient, which was on par with their open-air test bench. Very impressive.

Cooler Master NR400 temperatures

Source: Bit-Tech

GPU temperatures on an Nvidia GTX 980 weren’t bad either, hitting a maximum of 45 degrees over ambient. Once again, the Cooler Master case turned in numbers essentially on par with an open-air test bench. Looking for the best airflow Micro-ATX case? Check this one out first.

Airflow is definitely the NR400’s strong suit, and it’s great to see an affordable mATX case do so well here. The relatively thin steel panels and lightweight build make it feel less premium than the competition, but that’s not a massive issue in our book.

Overall, it’s the combination of keen price and excellent thermals that make the Cooler Master NR400 the best micro-ATX case in our book.

2. Fractal Design Meshify C Mini

Runner-Up Best Micro-ATX Case

Measurements (H x W x L)15.7 x 8.3 x 15.5 inches
Maximum GPU Length12.4 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height6.8 inches
Expansion SlotsFive
Fan Mounts• 3x 120 mm / 2x 140 mm (front)
• 2x 120/140 mm (top)
• 1x 120 mm (rear)
• 1x 120 mm (bottom)
Radiator Support• Up to 240/280 mm (front)
• Up to 240 mm (top)
• 120 mm (rear)
Drive Mounts• 3x 2.5” drives
• 2x 2.5”/3.5” drives
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/Out

Fractal’s Meshify C Mini is the smallest case in the company’s well-regarded Meshify range of airflow-centric cases. It’s an older case, but it’s still a solid product worth considering for its above-average cooling and premium build quality.

The Meshify C Mini’s main strength is its support for a wide range of cooling setups. Not only does it support seven 120 mm fans, but it also sports room for two 240 mm radiators in the front and top of the case. If you want to run a custom water-cooling loop in a Micro-ATX case, this is one of your best choices.

It’s not too shabby with drives either, with three dedicated 2.5” mounts behind the motherboard tray and space for two 2.5 or 3.5-inch drives in the drive cage. It should be enough for most mATX rigs, but it definitely pales compared to the two Cooler Master offerings on this list.

Fractal Design Meshify C Mini

Source: atomixers on PCPartPicker

The Fractal also loses out to the NR400 in terms of its default fan configuration. While the Fractal’s two fans equal the Cooler Master’s offering, the Fractal’s much higher price makes the lack of a second intake quite disappointing. The default Dynamic X2 GP-12 120 mm fans aren’t all that great, either. They’ll do the job, but you can do better.

Despite our issues with its default fan setup, Bit-Tech found that the Meshify C Mini’s cooling performance was still above average. That said, 48 degrees above ambient on a 4.0 GHz Intel Core i7-4970K isn’t quite as good as the NR400.

Fractal Design Meshify C Mini temperatures

Source: Bit-Tech

The Fractal Micro-ATX case kept GPU temperatures under control as well. The same GTX 980 used in the Cooler Master NR400 test hit a maximum of 47 degrees Celsius inside the Fractal. These are temperatures we’d be more than happy to live with, so we’re still happy to recommend the Fractal Design Meshify C Mini.

Unfortunately, the Meshify C Mini’s price makes it a relatively poor value proposition compared to a case like the Cooler Master NR400. It’s still a great Micro-ATX case, but there are better options if you want bang-for-buck cooling performance.

That said, if you want something with a premium feel and don’t mind spending extra for that, the Fractal Design Meshify C Mini is perfect for you. Just be sure to budget a bit of extra money to upgrade the fans. Arctic’s P12 PWM fans, for example, will be a significant upgrade at a wallet-friendly price.

3. Cooler Master Silencio S400

Best Silent Micro-ATX Case

Measurements (H x W x L)15.8 x 8.3 x 15.9 inches
Maximum GPU Length12.5 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height6.5 inches
Expansion SlotsFour
Fan Mounts• 2x 120/140 mm (front)
• 1x 120 mm (rear)
• 2x 120/140 mm (top)
Radiator Support• Up to 240/280 mm (front)
• Up to 240 mm (top)
• 120 mm (rear)
Drive Mounts• 4x 2.5” drives
• 4x 3.5” drives
• 1x 5.25” optical drive
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1
• Audio In/Out
• SD card reader

Cooler Master’s Silencio S400 wears its influences on its sleeve: the sound-insulated panels, hinged front door, and minimal lines are clearly inspired by Fractal Design’s Define cases. That’s not a bad thing at all, as the Define cases are some of the best silent PC cases you can buy today.

The S400 ticks all the boxes for a silence-focused case. You get the standard noise insulation and padding alongside a couple of Silencio FP120 PWM fans to further reduce noise in general. It works, too, with the S400 measuring a whisper-quiet 30.1 dBA under load in Tom’s Hardware’s testing.

Cooler Master Silencio S400

Source: Gear Seekers

You might be able to guess at the S400’s biggest downside, though. The solid front door and closed-off padding aren’t great for temperatures. As with most silence-focused cases, temperatures are the sacrifice you will have to make in exchange for near-silent operation.

Tom’s Hardware measured 66 degrees Celsius over ambient on the CPU and 58 degrees over ambient on the GPU with the stock fan configuration. That’s not the end of the world necessarily, but it’s far from ideal. Interestingly, moving the exhaust fan to the front and using it as a second intake dropped the deltas down to 63 degrees for the CPU and 53 degrees for the GPU.

Adding an extra 120 mm intake fan is definitely something you should do if you want to use high-end hardware in the S400. There’s also the option of removing the solid sound-insulating panel on the top for extra ventilation and airflow. Of course, that slightly defeats the purpose of the case, but it’s a nice option to have.

These temperatures mean that the Cooler Master Silencio S400 isn’t the case for everyone. While you can reduce the temperatures with a better fan setup, they still won’t be as good as a comparable airflow-focused case.

We’d take lower temperatures any day, but we understand that some of you may prioritize silence over everything else. If that sounds like you, this is the best mATX case to get.

4. Thermaltake Level 20 VT

Best Micro-ATX Cube Case

Measurements (H x W x L)13.7 x 13 x 16.9 inches
Maximum GPU Length13.8 inches
Maximum CPU Cooler Height7.3 inches
Expansion SlotsFive
Fan Mounts• 2x 120/140 mm / 1x 200 mm (front)
• 4x 120 mm / 2x 140 mm (top)
• 1x 120/140 mm (rear)
• 2x 120 mm (bottom)
Radiator Support• Up to 240 mm (front)
• 1x 240 + 1x 280 mm / 2x 240 mm(top)
• 120 mm (rear)
Drive Mounts• 3x 2.5” drives
• 3x 3.5”/2.5” drives
I/O Ports• 2x USB 3.0
• 2x USB 2.0
• Audio In/Out

Thermaltake has a ton of cube cases in its repertoire, so it’s no surprise that they have one of the best Micro-ATX cube cases in the form of the Level 20 VT.

The Level 20 VT is a premium case with tempered glass all around, perfect for showcasing your build in all its color-coded RGB glory. Interestingly, these panels can be swapped around, meaning that you can conceivably place the Level 20 VT on any of its sides. The front I/O can also be unscrewed and moved to either the case’s top, left, or right side.

Beyond the clever modular panels, the Level 20 VT’s big party trick is the amount of room it has for fans or radiators. It comes with a 200 mm intake fan by default, which by itself is a bit limited. But nothing’s stopping you from loading the top panel up with four 120 mm fans or two radiators simultaneously (for example).

Thermaltake Level 20 VT

Source: jdelvall on PCPartPicker

You’ll probably want to take advantage of all the cooling options, too. The tempered glass front panel does mean that thermals and airflow are a bit of a concern in the Level 20 VT. It’s doubly an issue since there isn’t quite enough of a gap between the tempered glass and the fan, so its cooling potential is a bit limited.

Gamers Nexus’ overclocked AMD Ryzen 5 2400G hit a 66.8 degrees Celsius delta, which is definitely on the high side. GPU temperatures aren’t all that great either, with a GTX 1070 hitting a high of 57.1 degrees over ambient. These aren’t horrible, but there’s definitely room for improvement.

Thermaltake Level 20 VT temperatures

Source: Gamers Nexus

Thankfully, there is indeed a lot of physical room for improvement. For one, the Level 20 VT is one of Thermaltake’s “LCS Certified” PC cases. This is an internal certification for PC cases that “have been tested to be best compatible with extreme liquid cooling configurations.”

We suggest you take the hint and make full use of the Level 20 VT’s radiator mounting positions. Chuck a pair of 240 mm radiators in the top, and you should be good to go. Of course, these radiator positions will also accommodate fans, and you can have a maximum of four 120 mm fans in the top.

Overall, Thermaltake’s Level 20 VT is definitely an exciting premium Micro-ATX cube case. We would have loved to see better cooling performance out of the box (especially for the $100 price tag), but there are more than enough fan and radiator mounts to compensate for that without too much headache.

5. Thermaltake Versa H18

Best Budget Micro-ATX Case

Measurements (H x W x L)15.4 x 8.1 x 15 inches
Maximum GPU Length13.8 inches (w/o front fan)
Maximum CPU Cooler Height6.1 inches
Expansion SlotsFour
Fan Mounts• 3x 120 mm / 2x 140 mm (front)
• 1x 120/140 mm (top)
• 1x 120 mm (rear)
Radiator Support• Up to 240/280 mm (front)
• 120 mm (rear)
Drive Mounts• 2x 2.5” drives
• 2x 3.5” drives
I/O Ports• 1x USB 3.0
• 2x USB 2.0
• Audio In/Out

On a tight budget and don’t want to stretch to afford the Cooler Master NR400? You might want to check out the Thermaltake Versa H18, then. It’s one of the cheapest mATX cases you can get without resorting to some no-name Aliexpress special, making it our pick for the best budget Micro-ATX case.

It might be cheap (by case standards), but the Versa H18 isn’t all that compromised. You get an airflow-friendly mesh front panel with enough space for two 140 mm or three 120 mm intakes. You can even chuck a 280 mm radiator there if you need better cooling down the road.

Features like a tempered glass side panel, PSU shroud, and cable management holes are standard now, so it’s not really surprising to see them here. But it’s still good to see that Thermaltake hasn’t skimped on these to try and hit the Versa H18’s aggressive price point.

It does, however, only come with one exhaust fan from the factory. We’d recommend adding at least one intake fan to help with cooling. Still, the mesh panel should make running it with the stock configuration possible; after all, even a fanless mATX case like the InWin 301 can still turn in acceptable temperatures. It’s just not something we’d recommend in the long term.

Another issue with the Versa H18’s budget status is that it hasn’t received much attention from review sites like Bit-Tech and Tom’s Hardware. Thus, we don’t know for sure how well the Versa H18 performs thermally. The mesh panel and open interior layout suggest it won’t be too bad, but we can’t say for sure.

If you want a known quantity, you should save up and get the Cooler Master NR400 instead. But if you’re after something cheap for a low-power system (or have some old 120 mm fans laying around), the Thermaltake Versa H18 will save you a bit of money and still look great on your desk.

The Competition

While we’ve tried to pick the overall best Micro-ATX cases to recommend here, that doesn’t mean that these are the only options you have. Sure, mATX cases aren’t quite as popular as mid- or full-tower cases, but there are still a decent number of products to choose from.

Some of these are definitely good enough to consider, but they weren’t outstanding enough to make our main list.

The Lian-Li Lancool 205M comes highly recommended on Reddit, and it looks like a solid mATX case overall. However, the lack of a mesh front panel (present on the larger 205 Mesh) and lack of authoritative reviews regarding its thermal performance made it hard to include this on our main list.

There’s also the issue of it being a budget case that’s been marked up significantly due to global supply chain issues. It’s way too pricey at the time of writing. However, it’s definitely a strong contender if it ever returns to the $60-70 price range it was selling for in Q2 2021.

If you want a silent Micro-ATX PC case, Fractal Design Define Mini C is a possible alternative to the Cooler Master Silencio S400 in our main list. The main issue is that it’s old and starting to show its age. There’s nothing objectively wrong with the Define Mini C, but we feel it’s worth buying a newer case for a more up-to-date front IO.

So the S400 got our pick for best overall, but the Define Mini C is still a decent buy if you can find it for significantly cheaper than the S400.

If you like the idea of an mATX cube case but don’t want to spend around $100, then check out the Thermaltake Core V21 instead. It doesn’t have the premium tempered glass panels and modularity of the Level 20 VT in our main list, and it looks a lot more old-fashioned. But the internal layout is relatively similar, and you can even stack two of these if you want to go crazy.

Closing Thoughts

If you’re not after anything specific, we think the Cooler Master NR400 is the best choice for a capable mATX gaming rig. We think the NR400’s the best Micro-ATX case overall, and well worth investigating. But those of you who want silence or a more novel cube shape also have solid options in the Cooler Master Silencio S400 and Thermaltake Level 20 VT.

If you’re still undecided on what size case you want, why not check out our guide to choosing a PC case? It has all the info you should need to make an informed decision.

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