Classifying pc cases according to their size is somewhat ambiguous. The ambiguity results from the fact that the classification of the sizes changes now and then. The designation can make buying a new tower slightly daunting for people looking to set up a rig for the first time. If you’re already someone familiar with PC cases, there’s still a thing or two you could learn by reading through this article.
To explain the difference between the various pc case sizes available it’s easy to categorize them traditionally. Traditionally computer cases fall under three main dimensions. The sizes are mini, mid and full. Each format has its perks, and each volume comes with its disadvantages. Furthermore, each computer case size is made to cater to a different need. If you’re confused about what size you should buy for yourself, then look no further, get ready to take a crash course in PC case sizes.
The Mini Tower Case
The mini tower is the smallest size in PC cases. The mini tower cases typically stand between 13-14 inches tall. The unit holds the room for one micro size motherboard. Usually, a micro ATX motherboard is the one that fits best.
Furthermore, most mini-tower cases have enough space to hold one GPU. There are some mini-tower cases out there with enough space for two. The size is also enough to fit in 4 expansion bays and 2-4 fans.
Advantages of Mini Tower Cases
The mini tower cases essentially target people that have space constraints. These people usually need a compact PC case that won’t take up too much room in their already confined spaces. Additionally, the fact that it takes up such little space makes it easy to work around. You can place the unit on your desk or underneath, regardless of where you put it won’t be a hassle.
Additionally, these units provide an excellent solution for people on a budget. If you’re looking to set up a gaming PC rig but don’t have a lot of money to burn then mini tower will be sufficient enough for you. If you’re looking to create a CPU for home use, then there’s no need to get a larger tower size than the mini tower.
Disadvantages of Mini-tower Cases
While the low price and compact size may be attractive to a particular set of the market, these factors are also the reason behind some of the disadvantages.
The Mini-tower cases don’t have enough size to accommodate enough hardware. If you’re looking to make a gaming rig able to blaze through modern titles, space for one graphics processing unit isn’t enough. You’ll need to have at least room for two or three graphics processing units to play modern games at full capacity.
Furthermore, the lack of fans also dramatically diminishes the cooling ability of the mini tower case. If you want to create a proper gaming rig capable of playing the latest titles, the mini tower won’t suffice. You may be better off preferring mid-tower cases.
Mid Tower Case
Mid tower cases are the most common pc case size that you see gamers or custom builders use. A mid tower case is typically 17-20 inches tall, allowing for enough room for 6-8 expansion bays and offer enough space to hold 2-3 motherboards. The tower also has enough space and cooling to allow for 2-3 GPUs. If you’re using a full-size ATX motherboard, however, most tower cases will only be able to fit one.
Advantages of Mid-tower Case
The mid-tower case is large enough to fulfill the gaming needs of most of the gaming population out there. Modern games typically require two graphics processing units to run smoothly. With room for eight expansion bays, the mid-tower case has enough room to accommodate two or even three graphics processing unit.
Furthermore, the additional space allows for better cooling. GPUs reach temperatures above 90 degrees which is much more manageable in mid-tower case when compared to mini or full-size cases. Allowing for more fans can also help against significant dust build up that can damage your PC.
Moreover, the extra room allows for much easier cable management. When your cables are near each other, it’s easier for them to collect dust. The mid-tower case is probably the perfect size for the majority of the gaming population out there.
Disadvantages of Mid Tower Case
While the mid-tower case affords a lot of room, for some people, it still isn’t enough. For people looking to play games in Ultra hi-definition, the size of the mid-tower case isn’t enough. To run games on 4k graphics, you need a monster PC. You can try fitting in 3 graphics cards into your mid tower case but then cooling become a hassle. The mid-tower case isn’t large enough to incorporate a liquid cooling system either.
Additionally, the cases are much pricier than the mini tower cases. For someone that’s looking to build a budget gaming rig spending a significant amount of money on a CPU, a shell isn’t a viable option. Likewise, for somebody that’s looking for a stable home CPU, the mid-tower case may be excessive.
The mid-tower case seems to serve the right balance between size and performance. If you’re looking for even more performance, there’s another option for you.
Full Tower Case
The full tower case is the largest of the three traditional PC tower sizes. Full tower cases typically stand at the height of 21 inches and above. This tower size can hold whatever hardware you throw at it with room for 7-10 expansion slots. This particular size holds enough room to support liquid cooling as well.
Advantages of Full Tower Case
The full tower case allows enough room for all the PC heads out there to go crazy. Those people that need to play games at 4k resolution, data miners, overclockers whoever is using this PC will have no space trouble.
With enough room to support up to four graphics processing units, the full tower cases have enough room for liquid cooling. Liquid cooling is considerably more efficient and looks incredibly aesthetic as well.
Disadvantages of Full-Tower Case
The main disadvantage of the full tower case is the size. With most PC cases being 21 inches and above placing these cases it can become difficult. Especially for those people that have space constraints; this isn’t a viable option. You may need to dedicate an entire room to your gig if you’re incorporating a full-size tower case.
Additionally, the cooling requirements of such a big tower are massive; you’ll need to invest in a lot of fans or even consider liquid cooling. With so much hardware inside, the PC case can become hot enough to cook eggs if the cooling is inefficient.
Furthermore, the full tower case exists to serve a niche. Mostly hardcore gamers or people that need heavy duty CPUs are going to buy the full tower cases.
Full Tower vs Mid Tower
If you’re going to build a proper gaming rig, mini towers aren’t an option. For a gaming rig, the most popular question is usually mid tower vs full tower. Now this question has several sides to it; hardcore gamers will argue that the performance aspects of the full tower allow it to win no problem. However, the other side of the argument would be that mid tower units are sufficient enough for modern day gaming.
You could go back and forth all day, but ultimately what matters the most is what you need. If you need a massive rig for hardcore gaming or data mining, go for the full tower case. If you need a robust platform capable enough to play modern games smoothly the mid-tower case will be perfect. It’s important to remember that bigger doesn’t always mean better.