If you feel like most mainstream Mini-ITX cases are still too big, you’re not the only one. There’s a burgeoning market for tiny, sub-10 liter Mini-ITX cases perfect for users who want to save as much space as possible. These are some of the smallest ITX cases out there, letting you build diminutive PCs that’ll fit perfectly in even a small backpack.
Of course, many of these cases come with compromises, whether in terms of cooling, component compatibility, or total cost. But if you’re serious about going small, then those are just some of the sacrifices you’ll have to make along the way. Let’s get going.
Our Favorite Small Mini-ITX Cases
1. LZMod DC-M1
|Measurements (H x W x L)||7.1 x 2.2 x 7.5 inches|
|PSU Support||DC-ATX with external power brick|
|Maximum GPU Length||None|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||1.45 inches|
The LZMod DC-M1 comes in at around 1.9 liters in volume, which is absolutely tiny even by Mini-ITX cases’ standards. If you want the smallest ITX case money can buy, this is the case is for you.
Despite its tiny size, the DC-M1 offers 1.45 inches of CPU clearance, just enough for a Noctua NH-L9a or L9i. It’ll be a tight fit, but you should be able to make it work. We’d probably recommend a lower-profile cooler like the ID-Cooling IS-30, though, just to be safe.
As you might expect given the size, the DC-M1 is an APU-only case. This means that you don’t have room for a dedicated GPU and will need to rely on a CPU with integrated graphics from either Intel or AMD. However, that’s not too bad: install an AMD Ryzen APU like the 5600G, and you’ll get playable framerates in casual and esports titles like Rocket League or CS:GO.
Another casualty, so to say, of the DC-M1’s ultra-compact size is the internal power supply. The DC-M1 uses a DC-ATX (also known as Pico PSU) power supply with an external power brick for its power delivery. LZMod recommends a 19-volt setup, so you’ll want a DC-ATX PSU like this RGEEK 200 W unit, combined with a suitable 19-volt power brick. This one designed for Intel NUCs should be a perfect match.
That said, there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason that LZMod recommends a 19-volt unit over the more standard 12-volt setup. Scroll down to our SilverStone Milo 10 review for links to a 12-volt DC-ATX PSU that you can likely use here too.
Overall, the LZMod DC-M1 is a niche product, but one that we can see gaining some popularity. The fact that it takes standard parts with no modification needed (unlike the SGPC K17, another tiny case also on our list) makes it a much easier choice if you need a tiny PC.
2. SGPC K49
|Measurements (H x W x L)||6.9 x 5.1 x 12.04 inches|
|Maximum GPU Length||11.81 / 1.69 inches|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||2.2 inches|
|Drive Mounts||1x 2.5” drive|
|I/O Ports||• 1x USB Type-C
• 1x USB 3.0
The SGPC K49 is likely one of the smallest Mini-ITX cases with room for a full-sized GPU that’s readily available from an online retailer. Unless you want to dive into the world of expensive, limited-run enthusiast SFF cases, the K49 is one of your best bets for high-end gaming in a tiny enclosure.
Despite only being 6.94 liters, the K49’s dedicated GPU compartment means it has enough room for an 11.81-inch, two-slot graphics card. This means cards like the Zotac RTX 3070 Twin Edge or, if you’re lucky, a Founder’s Edition RTX 3080. Impressive, especially for a 7-liter Mini-ITX case.
The K49 furthers its “portable gaming rig” credentials by having room for two handles. It comes equipped with a leather handle on the rear by default, with the option for a plastic top handle if you prefer. We’ve also seen builds with an aluminum handle in place of the leather handle. However, we’re unsure if the aluminum handle comes with the K49 or if it’s an aftermarket option.
SGPC’s decision to make that much space for the GPU in a 7-liter case does mean sacrifices in other areas. For one, the K49 doesn’t have room for fans or radiators. And, unlike some slightly larger competitors, you don’t even get the choice of swapping drive cages for fans; the K49 only has space for one 2.5” drive anyway.
The lack of radiator space means you’re limited to low-profile air coolers like the Noctua NH-L9a or ID-Cooling IS-40X. They’re more than capable of cooling higher-end CPUs, but the lack of additional airflow means that mid-range gaming CPUs like the AMD Ryzen 5600X or Intel Core i5-12400 are probably safer choices.
On a positive note, K49 has optional side panel standoffs that give you an extra 10 mm (0.39 inches) clearance for your CPU cooler. Combine that with the air gap the standoffs provide, and you might get decent CPU temperatures in the K49 even with a low-profile cooler.
Overall, the SGPC K49 is a great, budget Mini-ITX case for anyone after a portable high-end gaming PC. It isn’t perfect, but minor issues such as limited drive space and uneven build quality are relatively easy to overlook if its combination of size and GPU support works for you.
|Measurements (H x W x L)||Standard top cover:
• 2.48 x 7.72 x 8.94 inches
Elevated top cover:
• 3.31 x 7.72 x 8.94 inches
|Volume||• 2.8 liters (standard top)
• 3.7 liters (elevated top)
|PSU Support||External AC adapter|
|Maximum GPU Length||None|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||Standard top cover:
• 1.22 inches (with SSD)
• 1.69 inches (without SSD)
Elevated top cover:
• 1.14 inches (with HDD)
• 1.22 inches (with SSD + ODD without HDD bracket standoff)
• 1.41 inches (with M.2 drive + 120/140 mm fan)
• 1.85 inches (with SSD and HDD bracket standoff)
• 2.48 inches (with M.2 drive only)
|Fan Mounts||• 3x 50 mm (side)
• 1x 120/140 mm (elevated top cover)
|Drive Mounts||Standard top cover:
• 2x 2.5” drives
Elevated top cover:
• 2x 2.5” drives or 1x 3.5” drive
• 1x 9.5 mm slim optical drive
|I/O Ports||2x USB 3.0
For some users, “portable” means that a case has handles to make it easy to carry around. For others, though, “portable” means that the case is small enough to throw into an average-sized backpack. If you’re after the latter, the SilverStone Milo 10 is a Mini-ITX case you’ll want to consider.
The SilverStone Milo 10 is tiny, even compared to other small Mini-ITX cases. It comes in at 3.7 liters with the “elevated” (in SilverStone’s words) top installed and just 2.8 liters with the standard top. That’s less than 1/10th of an average mid-tower case’s volume and is more akin to a thick paperback novel than any computer case.
Of course, with those diminutive dimensions, it’s no surprise that the Milo 10 doesn’t have room for a dedicated GPU. There’s simply no way to make it work, so you’ll be relying on integrated graphics here.
Unless you’re adamant about building the smallest PC possible, we recommend going for the Milo 10’s elevated top. It adds about 0.83 inches to the Milo 10’s height, opening up more drive and cooler options. You can even sneak in a slim optical drive with the elevated top, which might be handy if you need your computer to do double duty as an HTPC.
The Milo 10’s measurements mean that there isn’t any room inside the case for a conventional power supply. Instead, the Milo 10 requires a DC-ATX power module and an external AC adapter to power your rig.
That wouldn’t be an issue, except that SilverStone’s official AC adapter costs more than the case itself! If that’s too rich for your blood, you can opt for this RGEEK 250 W Pico PSU combined with a suitable 12-volt adapter. A unit like this one should do the job.
Yes, there are smaller cases on our list, but the SilverStone Milo 10 is nearly as small as you can go without sacrificing components. So it gets our portable pick, even if it’s not technically the smallest Mini-ITX case here.
|Measurements (H x W x L)||7.4 x 5.5 x 12.6 inches (without TopHat) / 8.4 x 5.5 x 12.6 inches (with M TopHat) / 9.64 x 5.5 x 12.6 inches (with L TopHat)|
|Volume||8.5 liters (without TopHat) / 9.65 liters (with M TopHat) / 11.04 liters (with L TopHat)|
|PSU Support||SFX, SFX-L|
|Maximum GPU Length / Thickness||12 inches / 1.77 inches|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||2.6 inches|
|Fan Mounts||• 1x 120 mm (in place of 2.5” disk tray)
• 2x 120 mm (with TopHat)
|Radiator Support||• Up to 240 mm (with L TopHat)|
|Drive Mounts||• 3x 2.5” drives|
|I/O Ports||• 1x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2
• 2x USB 3.0
• Audio In/Out
The Louqe Ghost S1 isn’t the smallest Mini-ITX case you can buy, but it is one of the most premium cases available. It’s milled out of solid aluminum blocks, giving it a high-end build quality that few Mini-ITX cases can match.
But there’s more to the Ghost S1 than the build quality and materials, as impressive as they are. The Ghost S1 comes with expansion options in the form of what Louqe calls TopHats. These attach to the top or bottom of the case and provide extra room for fans or even water-cooling radiators.
The TopHats come in two sizes, medium and large, although you’re limited to a single medium TopHat if you want to keep your Ghost below 10 liters. Installing a medium TopHat gives you room for two 120 mm fans, which can be useful if you’re running a hot (or overclocked) CPU:
OptimumTech ran an Intel Core i7-8700K overclocked to 4.3 GHz in the Ghost S1, recording 73.3 degrees Celsius with the stock fanless configuration and 64.9 degrees with a medium TopHat and two 120 mm fans.
73.3 degrees isn’t bad, and you can definitely get away with running a hot CPU in a base Ghost S1. But unless you’re hurting for space, we feel that the inch or so of height is worth it for a nearly ten-degree reduction in CPU temperatures.
Unsurprisingly, GPU temperatures will be high in the Ghost S1 due to the lack of ventilation. OptimumTech’s RTX 2080 Ti Founder’s Edition hit 85 degrees Celsius in the default configuration, even with a TopHat installed.
However, swapping the 2.5” drive mounts with a slim 120 mm exhaust (in their case, Noctua’s NF-A12x15) helped drop the GPU down to 83 degrees Celsius. Still high, but those two degrees might help keep your card from thermal throttling in the right conditions.
The Louqe Ghost S1 is a solid, if pricey, choice for a small gaming rig. It’s not quite as compact as the SGPC K49, but the excellent build and expansion options make it the sort of case that you can keep around for the long term. It’ll grow with your needs, more than we can say for most other small Mini-ITX cases.
5. SGPC K17
|Measurements (H x W x L)||10.15 x 1.9 x 7.04 inches|
|PSU Support||Flex ATX|
|Maximum GPU Length||None|
|Maximum CPU Cooler Height||1.18 inches|
If you want to build the thinnest PC you possibly can with standard, off-the-shelf parts, then SGPC’s K17 is the case you want. At just 1.9 inches thick and 2.2 liters in volume, it’s one of the smallest and thinnest Mini-ITX PC cases you can buy.
As you might expect given its dimensions, the SGPC K17 is quite a restrictive Mini-ITX case to build in. Its lack of GPU support shouldn’t come as a surprise, but you’ll also have to give up 2.5” drive mounts in the K17. The 1.18-inch CPU cooler height limit is also tough, limiting you to coolers like the ID-Cooling IS-30. One of those will be enough for a Ryzen APU, but don’t expect to cool a high-end Intel processor with such a tiny cooler.
One less-obvious aspect of the K17 is that it doesn’t support motherboard I/O shields either. So you’ll want to avoid any of the higher-end Mini-ITX motherboards that come with integrated I/O shields. Unless you’re willing to modify it and rip all that stuff out to fit it in the K17, like this user:
Unlike the SilverStone Milo 10 and LZMod DC-M1, the SGPC K17 doesn’t use an external power brick. Instead, it has room for a Flex ATX PSU, making it a wholly self-contained computer. It’s great that the K17 is a “brickless” case, but the downside is that these Flex ATX PSUs can get pricey if you want a high-quality unit with modular cables. FSP’s Flex Guru 300W, for example, costs more than $120.
But we’d argue that it’s worth it; the K17 is so small that you’ll want to eliminate as many unused cables as possible. And considering that you won’t have any SATA drives, PCIe cards, or floppy drives to power up, you’ll definitely have quite a few unused cables taking up space if you go for a non-modular Flex ATX power supply unit.
Overall, saying that the SGPC K17 “isn’t for everyone” is a bit of an understatement. It’s a niche product within the already-niche sub-10 liter Mini-ITX category, with compromises that not everyone will want to deal with. But if you want the thinnest PC possible, the K17 is the case for you.
Before You Buy
We’ve covered most of the essential considerations when buying a Mini-ITX case in our guide to the best Mini-ITX cases, so we won’t repeat any of that here. Instead, let’s quickly discuss a couple of topics that should be more relevant to anyone looking to build a sub-10 liter PC.
One of the main reasons to buy one of the smallest Mini-ITX cases is the space savings they offer. At 10 liters (or smaller), they take up barely any room on your desk and will fit just about anywhere. But building in these cases can be tricky.
There’s little room to work in, cable management is often challenging, and some of them have significant compromises in terms of cooling, storage drives, or other components. If space issues are your primary motivation, there are a few alternatives we think you should consider before committing to a miniature PC.
Is desk or floor space your main concern? If so, one compelling alternative to a small ITX case is a wall-mountable PC case instead. They’re not cheap, and you’ll have to add the cost of a high-quality TV wall bracket, so it’s not the most budget-friendly alternative. But these cases are a great choice if you want to free up desk space while running full-sized components.
If case height is the issue, you could also consider an HTPC case instead. HTPC cases are generally designed for horizontal operation, making them perfect for shelves or height-restricted situations. You can also opt for a horizontal PC case like the Cryorig Taku that can double up as your case and a monitor stand.
Of course, these solutions might not work for every situation. Most wall-mounted or horizontal PC cases aren’t very portable, for example, and won’t work if you want a rig that fits in your backpack. But if your main priority is minimizing the amount of space your rig takes up at home, then these alternatives are at least worth investigating.
We’ve already alluded to the fact that these tiny Mini-ITX cases can be difficult to build in. Cases this small often sacrifice ease of assembly in the name of space, and there are a few tools that you might want to have around to make the building process a bit more painless.
Firstly, a long magnetized screwdriver will come in handy for M.2 drive screws, expansion slot covers, and possibly even mounting your CPU cooler. These are compact cases, and the extra length will help you comfortably tighten and loosen screws without needing to jam your hands into the case itself.
Magnetic screw grabbers are also worth having around to pick up any screws that you accidentally drop in the case. Given how tightly-packed these cases are, you might find it hard (if not impossible) to pick up loose screws by hand. So a screw grabber can be a life-saver when trying to extract a pesky loose screw jammed somewhere between PC components or parts of the case itself.
It also won’t hurt to have some zip ties on hand to help with cable management. Mini-ITX cases generally don’t have much cable management room anyway, and these sub-10 liter cases have even less free space. So anything you can do to tidy up excess cabling and keep it out of the way of fans and CPU coolers is essential.
The smallest ITX cases take the compact, space-saving nature of the best Mini-ITX cases to a whole new level. They’re proof that you can pack a lot of power in a tiny case, even if you’ll have to deal with a few challenges and restrictions along the way.
The SGPC K49 is the case we’d recommend if you want a truly compact gaming rig. There’s something special about running an RTX 3070 and Ryzen 5600X in a roughly 7-liter case, complete with a convenient carry handle. But if you don’t need high-end 3D performance and can get by with an APU, SilverStone’s Milo 10 might be more your speed.
No matter which case you go for, make sure you know what PC components or features you’ll have to compromise on before committing. Have fun!