In this article we take a quick look at some of the chassis available for those of you basing your computer on an ITX-sized motherboard.
In another article, Top Mini ITX motherboards pricing roundup, we ran through a selection of ITX motherboards that catered for both budget and enthusiast buyers.
ITX-sized computers are becoming more and more important to the mainstream because of their efficient size. Many of them are capable of being mounted to the VESA mounts on the back of your computer monitor, while others simply take up less space on your desk and offer a more efficient layout.
Pricing for the chassis noted here was taken from online retailers Rebeltech, Wootware, Ikonix and Titan-Ice.
|CFI 8989 Cube
|Cooler Master Elite 120||458||505||472||490|
|Lian Li PC-T7||554||570||571||549|
|Antec ISK 110 VESA||844||825||801.31|
CFI A8989 Cube (± R452.89)
CFI is a Taiwanese manufacturer that makes chassis for servers and desktops and occasionally they have an offering for gamers and enthusiasts. It’s very well thought-out and offers room for just the basics, which include the motherboard, a single-slot graphics card, a full-sized DVD drive and one 3.5-inch hard drive.
Its also the only chassis in this roundup which comes with it’s own power supply, a small form-factor 150W unit made by FSP Technologies. This would be a good fit for AMD’s A10-5800K and the ASRock FM2A85X-ITX that we looked at in our ITX motherboard roundup, because it typically has a power draw under 130 watts. Danish-based Hardware Test Portal awarded it “Product of the Year”.
Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (± R482)
Cooler Master’s Elite 120 is the same price as the CFI 8989, but it’s very different internally. It doesn’t come with a power supply but provides enough space to add in your own. You can install any dual-slot graphics card you can find, up to and including the Geforce GTX690. Shoving in a Radeon HD7990 might be a little too much for this tiny, but explosive performer.
In addition, you can mount in a full-sized DVD drive and three 3.5-inch hard drives. It does require the use of the stock or low-profile CPU cooler, but that’s a small drawback to a very versatile chassis. TechpowerUp! awarded it the Editor’s Choice and Great Value awards.
Lian Li PC-T7 (± R561)
The bulk of the best ITX chassis are all under R1,000 and the PC-T7 from Lian Li is one of them. Its an open-air benchmarking chassis capable of daily use. Its barebones, has no cable management, supports only one DVD drive and one 3.5-inch hard drive, but it is completely different from the norm.
Its made out of aluminium and it looks and feels like a premium product, just what you’d expect from Lian Li. It also helps that you can fit any length graphics card onto it. It has a handle at the top, so it’s perfect for dropping some jaws at your local LAN. Modders Inc gave it a thumbs-up and recommends it to anyone looking for a ITX test bench or an unusual ITX chassis.
Antec ISK110 VESA (± R823.43)
Antec’s ISK 110 is the only ITX chassis here that is capable of mounting to the rear of your monitor using VESA mounts. Its a popular choice for system builders and enthusiasts who want the same benefits of All-In-One computers, but can’t afford the high prices of the likes of the Apple iMac or the MSI AG2712.
The ISK 110 also comes with a 90W external power adapter, limiting its use to processors that typically draw less than than 90W from the wall socket, which is applicable to Intel’s Celeron, Pentium and Core i3 dual-core lineup. AMD’s A6-5400K is the only APU capable of ducking under the power envelope as well.
It manages to fit in two 2.5-inch hard drives underneath the motherboard, and for the price its build quality is solid. Anandtech’s Dustin Sklavos reviewed the ISk 110 VESA and recommended it to anyone looking for a small, easily concealable chassis.
Bitfenix Prodigy (± R877.13)
Some say it was born out of the fires of Mount Doom, others say it’s a tribute to the Apple Mac desktop, but the Bitfenix Prodigy is unlike anything you’ve seen before. It can accommodate any length graphics card you’d want, features a removable drive cage, ample space for a full-sized ATX power supply with cable management, a DVD drive bay, and up to five hard drives.
Some people put water-cooling in it. Others fit it with silent 120mm fans and passively-cooled components. Some even fill all the drive bays with 2.5-inch solid state drives and use it for high-end video editing. Whatever your requirement is, there’s certainly a way in which the Prodigy can accommodate that need. And if you’re an Apple fan, it looks like the older, smaller iMac desktops as well. Its won awards everywhere it goes, including TechpowerUp’s Editor’s Choice and Great Value award.