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How small is too small for a mATX?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:59 pm

Thought that title would get some attention. I have a Ryzen 2600 I'm putting in a smaller case. Downsizing from big towers. I have a couple cases in mind but wonder if 16 x 8 x 16 is going to be too cramped for airflow. Not for parts in the case.

Deciding between the CM NR400 and something similar to an NZXT H500 but with a mesh front. Now that's 18 tall by 8 by almost 17" and there's ample space in it. I'm using a tower cooler, and only 1 HDD tucked under the PSU shroud. Would like dual 140mm fans up front. In the NR400 one would be partially blocked by the shroud b/c I use the ODD up top. I could go with 1-2 of those bays however but really don't want anything taller than 18".

Found something even smaller but it's too tight. I want to be able to go with better cpu's in the future so I plan on a pretty good air cooler. But if the case is too small, even with airflow I figure I'll need something bigger than the NR400. I wish it was 1 inch taller. At 17" x *8 x 17 (or longer) I could fit two 140mm fans under the ODD.

I know you can't OC the 2600 much but I believe 8 cores will need more air, and I don't want to cool with water.

Any input or case suggestions would be appreciated.


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Re: How small is too small for a mATX?

Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:20 pm

AFAIK 2 x 140mm should be plenty for the 2600 on its own. It's not known for running super hot as it is, so you should be fine on that front. The size of the case won't inherently be a problem -- just make sure you don't obstruct the airflow.

The elephant in the room here, though, is the GPU. That would be the component that could make or break having sufficient cooling.
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Re: How small is too small for a mATX?

Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:13 pm

I collected dimensions for a number of micro-ATX cases in this old thread: ... 2&t=116344

Micro-ATX is my preferred form factor for desktop gaming PCs, but there aren't nearly as many different options in this size as there are for ATX. I was quite pleased with a system that I built in a Temjin TJ08-E with a single 120mm radiator and an all-in-one water cooler. To hold the larger radiators that you want, you might consider the Kublai KL06 or Redline RL08. My current system lives in a Define Mini-C. It has plenty of room for water cooling, but there are no 5¼" drive bays.

Mac20nine wrote:
Deciding between the CM NR400 and something similar to an NZXT H500 but with a mesh front.
It appears that NZXT has discontinued the H400i and all other micro-ATX cases. I haven't used this case myself, but it gets positive reviews. Meanwhile, Cooler Master has a decent selection of micro-ATX cases.
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