The Best Compact PC Cases to Put on a Desk

madboyv1

Posts: 1,789   +710
Man I remember building in the HAF XB Evo for a friend, that was a lot of fun ha ha.

I understand that this list is 100% catering to cases that support (at least) micro-ATX motherboards, but for the sake of cases that have a "familiar" case layout, I think it would be appropriate to mention the Cooler Master nr200 in addition to the other cooler master cases mentioned in passing at the end. Yes it is a mini-ITX case, yes it is basically a smaller but considerably optimized Sama 01. However from what I've seen and heard, it is an absolute dream to work being spacious and a familiar layout, and supporting most if not all the hardware (motherboard and PSU notwithstanding) that the cases above support. It is price is in parity with the rest of the featured cases at around $115 w/pcie riser at time of comment (making it comparably affordable in relation to other mITX cases) which is an added bonus.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 6,352   +7,070
I haven't had a PC on my desk in 20+ years, do not see the appeal of a bulky box taking up space on my desk, it serves no purpose there whatsoever.

A good case is a medium tower, with good ventilation and sound insulation, one that sits next to the desk, or inside it. The rest is some show-off nonsense. Those cubes are just as bulky and awkward to carry anyway.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,712   +2,514
I have my PC on the desktop because I have a window and there is less dust to clean instead of having it on the floor which I did for many years. Just using a mid tower Fractal Meshify S2

 

BSim500

Posts: 907   +2,139
I haven't had a PC on my desk in 20+ years, do not see the appeal of a bulky box taking up space on my desk, it serves no purpose there whatsoever.

A good case is a medium tower, with good ventilation and sound insulation, one that sits next to the desk, or inside it. The rest is some show-off nonsense. Those cubes are just as bulky and awkward to carry anyway.
Agreed. I remember when the industry wept tears of joy when tower cases and TFT's were invented because of how much desk space we regained vs those beige desktop AT cases with CRT's on top. I suspect it's an "artsy" thing as a MATX on the floor out of the way gives even more desk space than half the "space saving" fat cubes (and USB ports at the top are just as reachable...)
 

Kshipper

Posts: 876   +209
TechSpot Elite
The Rosewill model (NewEggs private brand) before this one had a nice large light-up blue power button in the center that worked great for my business customers and home users alike. This new model moves the power switch to the top and it's smaller and it doesn't light up (bleh). They removed the front 120MM case fan but they retained the rear 80mm exhaust fan. The best change on this model is a new cut-out inside that makes fitting a MATX board much easier than the previous model. They also added USB 3.0 to the front. I find it the best value without looking too cheap:

https://www.newegg.ca/p/N82E16811147296?Item=N82E16811147296
 

Gezzer

Posts: 287   +145
I love the Cool Master HAF XB Evo. So much it's the only case I've used for 4 builds now. It's a bit bulky, and working under the MB tray can be... cramped at times. But while cable management isn't prefect, but those shortcomings are all hidden so it's no big deal. OTOH the air flow is so great that with a basic 240 AiO cooler I can do massive overclocks and still have a nearly silent system. Something that just wasn't possible with any tower I've used.
 

ZackL04

Posts: 843   +645
I feel this missed the mark a bit

There are tons more quality cases with WINDOWS that would be great on a desk.

Why would you purposely put a pc on your desk without a window? Take up real estate for no reason?
 

Q Wales

Posts: 48   +11
Still getting good mileage out of my 10+ year old Antec 900. True I'd like some easily accessible usb 3.0 and USB-C ports on the front but other than than I'm not sure I can see any benefit of changing
 

HofyPC

Posts: 115   +107
You guys really missed the boat on this one. Cooler Master NR200 is where it is at for a desktop case. I have been building m-ITX systems since 2007, so 15 years now. The NR200 is by far the best case I have worked in. BTW I like my system on the desktop because my desk is on wheels so I can pull it out to do cable management and clean. Both are hard to do with a big tower sitting on the floor.
 
All of these cases have a serious problem, they are painted!
All the panels are electrically insulated which breaks the case ground bonding to the PSU and all of the electronics with in.
A real PC case provides an extra ground connection to everything that goes in it and prevents RFI EMI issues as well as safety.
I have a Antec Sonata that is 15 years old and is a bare metal chassis and is bonded correctly.
With out the proper electrical bonding, PC systems will be unstable and prone to failure.
 

Adhmuz

Posts: 2,261   +1,088
All of these cases have a serious problem, they are painted!
All the panels are electrically insulated which breaks the case ground bonding to the PSU and all of the electronics with in.
A real PC case provides an extra ground connection to everything that goes in it and prevents RFI EMI issues as well as safety.
I have a Antec Sonata that is 15 years old and is a bare metal chassis and is bonded correctly.
With out the proper electrical bonding, PC systems will be unstable and prone to failure.
Sure, that's why all the painted chassis cases I've built in, used, over the years, haven't had any such problems you've pointed out. All are stable, think I've seen a single PC with a grounding issue over the years and that turned out to be a bad front panel cable that was replaced and the system ran fine after.

Also any half decent PSU includes screws that are designed to bite through the paint if the chassis is painted to create a bond between the PSU and the chassis. If you are still so determined you can also just file off some of the paint to be sure this bond occurs...
 

Tantor

Posts: 349   +629
Wow. Thanks for this great article!

I like that you point out the importance of USB access. My wife's computer is on the floor and therefore needs top mounted ports, which it has. Mine is on my desk and has front ports.

I understand why you gave Lian Li the top spot. Over the years I've used Lian Li exclusively for my builds. That includes three mini-itx boxes and five mid towers.

I'm still using my old PC-V750, IMHO the best computer case ever made. It mounts the PSU in front, under the drive cage. That makes it lower than most ATX cases. Not quite a mini case, but near.