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ITX vs. mid-tower vs. full-tower: Comparing different PC case sizes

Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2
Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

It's critical to pick the best PC case for your build since it's not only what you will be building everything inside, but it's what you will be gazing at the most. It needs to do more than look good because the chassis should also be easy to work with and offer plenty of handy features. There's also size, which does indeed matter in this case. We'll run through a few options available to you, depending on how big (or small) you want to go with your PC build, and the pros and cons of ITX vs. mid-tower vs. full-tower cases.

Full-tower

be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 rev 2

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A full-tower case is usually massive. These are the big daddies of the case market, compatible with E-ATX motherboards and allowing for the installation of multiple expansion and graphics cards with the space to facilitate enough airflow to keep everything cool. Speaking of cool, a full-tower case is ideal for a water-cooling loop.

You likely won't require a full-tower, but it would be nice to have if you can afford one that provides plenty of room for expansion. They can also be incredibly expensive, with some of the more premium full-tower cases going for hundreds of dollars. You'll also need to make sure you have enough desk space to fit one.

The second edition of the Dark Base Pro 900 full-tower from be quiet! is a monstrous case that impressed us in our review, with only minor issues relating to the PSU mount. It's a premium-quality case with plenty of room for components though, plus some extras you might not expect like a built-in wireless charger for smartphones. Despite its solid front panel, airflow is still decent and the tempered side panel shows off your hardware in all its glory.

Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2

Reasons to buy

+
Spacious internals
+
Supports all motherboard sizes
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Better thermal performance
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Great for water cooling

Reasons to avoid

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Expensive
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Massive footprint

Mid-tower

NZXT H510 Elite

Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Rich Edmonds / Windows Central)

Mid-towers are the most popular option for PC builds because of the balance of cost, features, and build quality. Most options will allow for up to seven expansion slots, and some may even let you install your GPU vertically. Although smaller than full-tower cases, you can still go wild with a custom water-cooling loop or AIO solutions.

Something like the H510 Elite from NZXT is worth bearing in mind, especially if you're looking to save a little in the process. It blew us away in our review and proved to be an excellent option, thanks to its beautiful design, good airflow, and included RGB fans.

It's true that towers at this size don't differ much visually, but some are still very pretty to look at. The internals make more of a difference, especially when considering cable management. Mid-towers can be just the right size for your components without struggling to hide every cable, and are usually the right choice for most builds.

NZXT H510 Elite

Reasons to buy

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Good value
+
Supports most motherboard sizes
+
Plenty of expansion
+
Good for water cooling

Reasons to avoid

-
Similar designs

Small form factor (ITX)

NZXT H210i

Source: RichEdmonds / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: RichEdmonds / Windows Central)

Small form factor (known as SFF or ITX) cases are the most compact chassis you'll find for a build. They're usually only able to contain an ITX or microATX motherboard and an appropriate graphics card, even full-sized ones if you're lucky and sometimes imaginative.

While ITX or SFF cases tend to be small in size, they're usually big on style and price. You can expect to pay more than double that of an equivalent mid to full-tower case, especially if it's a premium chassis with aluminum and attention to detail. These cases also usually come with up to two expansion slots, which would fit your GPU but nothing else.

Our NZXT H210i case review proved it to be one of our favorites for compact systems and we rank it as one of the best PC cases available. It has all the cable management you could possibly ask for, is able to hold up to a 280mm radiator, and isn't too expensive.

NZXT H210i

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
Requires imagination
+
Unique designs
+
Small footprint

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
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Size restrictions