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Courtenay Smith Published April 30, 2019 Guides

ATX Mid Tower vs. Full Tower: What’s the Difference?

Courtenay Smith Published April 30, 2019 Guides
Courtenay’s love for gaming started when she was handed a Game Boy SP as a child. From there her youthful gaming memories consist of hitting some Donkey Kong bongos and cruising around Vice City listening to 'Take Me to the Clouds Above' at an unsuitable age. Since, she has gained a love for both PC and console games, sometimes even jumping on mobile. Don’t judge! When she’s not writing for the site she enjoys travelling, film, and diving down the rabbit hole that is YouTube.
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In our best mid-tower case review we mentioned how smaller towers are portable, making them easy to transport to LAN parties with a couple of boxes of pizza and enough soda to kill a grown man. But how do ATX mid cases compare to full tower cases? Let’s dive into the pros, cons, and everything in-between.

What’s the Difference Between a Mid Tower and a Full Tower Case?

There are many things to consider before purchasing a case for your high-grade computer hardware, which poses questions such as:

  • How many fans does a mid-tower case hold in comparison to a full-tower case?
  • Will my motherboard fit inside a smaller case?
  • How many graphics cards can I fit into a mid-tower case?

SlotATX Mid-TowerATX Full Tower
MotherboardsMini-ITX, MicroATX, ATXMini-ITX, MicroATX, ATX, EATX
Graphics Cards2-33-4
Fan Support6-710-12
Expansion Slots7-87-10

For this reason, we have created a comparison table to answer these common questions.


ATX Mid Tower

Pros:

  • Shorter than full tower cases
  • Weighs less than a full tower
  • Space conscious

Cons:

  • Requires a smaller motherboard
  • Can’t hold many fans

As we mentioned in our introduction, ATX mid-towers are compact and very lightweight, making them a go-to computer case for Quake and StarCraft 2 LAN parties. Whilst we can’t provide you with all of the snacks you’ll need for a gaming marathon, we can provide you with the information you’ll need to understand the differences between an ATX mid-tower and full-tower case. So, let’s look more into what some of the best ATX mid-tower cases have to offer.four cases atx matx eatxATX mid towers are generally shorter, smaller, and lighter than a full sized case, which in turn means they hold fewer fans, expansion slots, and require a much smaller motherboard. That being said, both mid and full-tower cases can fit standard ATX and micro-ATX motherboards, the most common boards on the market.

Of course, this will vary from case to case, so if you’re thinking of downsizing with an EATX (Extended ATX) motherboard, wave goodbye to dual socket support and hand it over to a pal who’s wanting to upgrade to a larger case.


ATX Full Tower

Pros:

  • Can hold multiple fans
  • Includes more expansion slots
  • Can hold a larger motherboard

Cons:

  • Weighs more than a mid tower
  • More expensive

A full-tower case is like a tower in-and-of-itself, I mean, they are absolutely huge! Measuring in around 24-inches high, they are much taller than ATX mid-tower cases which are around 18-inches tall. For this reason, full-towers are a suitable size for a bunch of graphics cards, case fans, and a sweet water-cooling system with a bunch of LEDs.inwin 303 side pc caseNot to mention how good airflow is right out of the box owing to the amount of space inside a full tower. Oh, and you can even use an extended ATX motherboard inside a full tower case to make sure that you don’t miss out on a bunch of ports and upgradable PC options.

Despite all of the sweet advantages of an ATX full tower, they weigh a lot more than mid towers and often cost more than a smaller case, so you definitely won’t be hauling this thing to any gaming party. You’ll just have to listen in on all the fun your pals are having through a gaming headset.


Final Verdict

ATX mid-tower cases are preferable due to their easy to transport, compact design. Alas, they can’t hold many fans, and they aren’t compatible with many motherboards. On the other hand, full-size ATX towers can support up to 12 fans, 10 expansion slots, and 4 graphics cards for a superior build. They are pretty big, so if you’re thinking of buying one, make sure you have the space to store a full tower PC case.

Finally, if you’re a little short on cash, think about getting some of the best budget PC cases out there before deciding on the size you need.different pc case dimensionsIf you’re curious about the difference between a micro ATX case and a mini ITX case, head on over to our comparison guide to find out more. You may just prefer them over a mid-tower or full-tower case.


Sources:

  1. Types of Computer Cases and Motherboard Factors, November 30th, 2011
  2. PC Case Sizes Explained, TechQuickie, June 18th, 2014
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