The current market of computer cases is filled with vertical tower-style options. Such units come in various sizes and are synonymous with modern computers as they allow for a more accessible layout that’s not only easier to work with but also provides maximum compatibility with all sorts of components and accessories. Though that doesn’t mean horizontal PC cases are completely obsolete.
If you are looking forward to building a compact gaming system or a media center for your living room, you must choose the best horizontal PC case that doesn’t occupy as much space as a standard vertical one. While the market for these cases is relatively niche, you will still come across a dozen of attractive choices from renowned brands.
However, even with such a smaller selection, finding the perfect horizontal case for your needs can seem a bit complex and challenging. Fortunately, you have come to the right place, as we will show you a handful of our picks for the best horizontal PC cases in this guide.
Our Picks For The Best Horizontal PC Cases
After hours of research and going through customer reviews, we have chosen the following horizontal PC cases based on their design, key features, price, and online availability. Hence, let us not waste any more time and jump right to the good stuff.
1. Fractal Design Node 202
- Dimensions: 377 x 82 x 330 mm
- Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX
- Weight:5 kg
- I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x 3.5mm HD Audio
Despite being a couple of years old at this point, we included the Fractal Design Node 202 on this list of best horizontal computer cases for its compact, well-designed chassis. It’s marketed as a centerpiece for capable gaming builds and home theater PCs, which is exactly what you might be looking for.
The all-black Node 202 looks sharp from the outside, with subtle curves on the edges and completely flat panels all around. Unlike most other horizontal desktop cases, there is no external drive bay on the front of the enclosure. The only two white-painted expansion slots are laid horizontally right next to the mini-ITX motherboard tray. A PCIe 3.0 riser card is what reroutes the slot at a 90-degree angle to the motherboard. The built-in rerouted power connector for the PSU also sits next to the expansion slots.
Fractal Design has put a fairly large vent on the top panel, with a smaller strip on the opposite side for airflow. There’s also an opening on top of the case, right above where the CPU cooler will stand.
Flipping the Node 202 also shows two more openings for cool air to enter the chassis. The smaller one is for the included Integra 450W 80+ Bronze SFX unit (which is replaceable with an up to 130mm long unit) and the larger one is for discrete graphics cards. This sort of configuration lets you not only lay the case horizontally but also stand it up vertically. It’s also worth mentioning that the CPU and GPU areas are covered by dust filters for a dust-free interior.
Inside the case, there’s a small bracket that can hold two 2.5” storage drives. The GPU chamber also offers enough clearance for a full-sized, dual-slot graphics card (up to 310mm in length) or two 120mm low-profile cooling fans. The maximum height clearance in this case for a CPU cooler is 56mm, which is more than enough for a low-profile Noctua cooler like the NH-L9a or NH-L9i.
For connectivity, the front I/O only offers two USB 3.0 ports and the usual 3.5mm audio plugs right alongside the power button. The case also comes with a plastic base just in case you want to put your build in an upright position.
For a compact enclosure that has a volume of only 10.2 liters, the Node 202 from Fractal Design doesn’t waste even a millimeter of space. If you are not too concerned about the thermals, this is the best horizontal PC case for you to buy.
|Makes efficient use of space||Mediocre thermals|
|Offers enough space for a GPU of up to 310mm in length||No mounting options for 3.5” drives|
|Included 450W Bronze PSU|
2. Cooler Master HAF XB EVO – Affordable Horizontal ATX Case
- Dimensions:9 x 424.1 x 330.2 mm
- Motherboard Support: ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Weight:2 kg
- I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x 3.5mm HD Audio
The HAF XB EVO is a legendary computer case from Cooler Master, released way back in 2013. PC enthusiasts still recommend it for its exceptional hardware compatibility and thermal performance. It’s also one of the most affordable horizontal ATX cases out there.
This particular chassis boasts a rather dull and dated design for today’s standards, but some may find its industrial look appealing. The unit is made out of solid metal panels, mesh, and high-quality plastic, giving it an overall structurally sound build quality.
The entire bottom half of the case’s front panel is dedicated to four external drive bays, left ones for two 5.25” drives and right ones for up to four hot-swappable 2.5”/3.5” drives. The top half is covered by one large mesh behind which two 120mm fans are mounted.
The rear side has a horizontal cutout for the motherboard I/O panel, along with a large air vent above and two small air vents below for 120mm and 80mm cooling fans, respectively. There’s another cutout on the bottom-left corner for a standard high-capacity ATX power supply, which also has a dust filter underneath protecting the PSU from accumulating dust. For PCIe cards, there are seven reusable expansion bay covers.
The two opposite sides of the chassis look the same, with large air vents for more airflow and plastic grips for easy transportation. The top panel has a mesh cover in the middle, where you can install a 200mm fan to move more air inside the case. Both the top and side panels can be removed by unscrewing a few thumbscrews.
The HAF XB EVO is a rather large unit, so you can easily fit up to a 180mm tall CPU cooler and a 334mm long graphics card inside it without running into clearance issues. It even has support for a 240mm liquid cooling radiator on the front and a 120mm radiator on the rear side, which is rare to find on a horizontal desktop case.
The Cooler Master HAF XB EVO with its unique horizontal layout and spacious interior is a great starting point, especially for inexperienced PC builders. While it’s a bit on the bulky side, the overall features and functionalities of this case are well-justified for the price.
|Supports ATX size motherboards and power supplies||Large for a horizontal computer case|
|Relatively affordable||No dust filter on the intakes|
|Hot-swappable front drive bay||Dated design|
3. InWin B1
- Dimensions: 108 x 302 x 238 mm
- Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX
- Weight:9 kg
- I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x 3.5mm HD Audio
If you are planning to build an ultra-SFF PC for your home theater setup, the InWin B1 is one of the smallest horizontal computer cases you can buy. Not only does the mini-ITX chassis have an extremely small footprint but it also comes in an exquisite design. It makes the typical squarish and rectangular designs of other PC cases look bland.
From the outside, the B1 resembles more a modern sculpture or a Bluetooth speaker than a small form factor computer case. The case’s rounded, ribbed plastic rings gradually slope toward the top, which is covered by a tinted tempered glass panel. The plastic rings do a great job hiding the ventilated area of the case, and the glass panel provides a clear view of the internals. The B1 also comes with four detachable chrome-coated legs, which allows you to place the case in a horizontal layout.
Inside the case resides a pre-installed 200W power supply unit with 80+ Gold certification. It’s a purpose-built PSU that can’t be replaced with even an SFX unit due to the limited space. It should be more than enough to power a top-tier AMD Ryzen APU or one of the latest Intel chips with Iris Xe Graphics.
Speaking of graphics, there’s no room for you to put a discrete graphics card inside the InWin B1, a shortcoming of its unusually compact design. Even the lowest-end, passively-cooled GPUs won’t fit since there are no expansion slots on the case.
Despite being crammed, the B1 can accommodate a mini-ITX board and up to a 60mm tall CPU cooler. There are also two 2.5” drive mounts on the back of the motherboard tray. While this case doesn’t have the best thermals, the included 80mm low-profile side fan with silent sleeve bearing somewhat allows for airflow.
If you can overlook the absence of PCIe expansion, not-so-great thermal performance, and lacking I/O, the InWin B1 is the sleekest-looking horizontal PC case on the market. The fact that it’s a sub-$100 SFF case with a bundled 200W Gold PSU and an 80mm fan also makes the B1 the best option for a budget HTPC build.
|Incredibly compact and attractive||No room for PCIe add-on cards|
|Comes with a 200W Gold PSU||Sparse I/O|
|Can be positioned horizontally or vertically||Managing cables can be a nightmare|
4. SilverStone Grandia GD09B-C
- Dimensions: 440 x 170 x 358 mm
- Motherboard Support: SSI-CEB, ATX, Micro-ATX, Mini-ITX
- Weight:2 kg
- I/O: 2 x USB 3.1 (Type-A + Type-C), 2 x 3.5mm HD Audio
SilverStone is primarily known for its range of high-quality modular power supplies in the PC industry. However, they also offer really good desktop cases, and the Grandia GD09B-C is one of the horizontal layout offerings from SilverStone.
Before going further into any detail, it’s worth noting that the GD09B-C is a 2020 refresh of the original GD09 with a USB-C port on the front panel. However, they both share the same exterior and interior layout, with zero noticeable changes.
The GD09B-C is mainly advertised for HTPC builds, as it’s relatively compact to fit comfortably inside a home theater cabinet just like a bigger AV receiver. Its subtle all-black finish allows it to blend in with other devices on an entertainment stand, plus the lightweight chassis makes moving it around much easier. The enclosure is mostly built out of steel, but the front panel is made of high-quality plastic.
Speaking of the front panel, it’s where the USB and 3.5mm ports reside, along with large power and reset buttons. There’s also an opening for a 5.25” bay for optical disk drives, which you may find useful in an HTPC.
The right side of the case gives you access to two air vents for 80/120mm fans. with their detachable fan filters. The opposite side also has air vents for a single 120mm fan, covered by a single detachable fan filter. Both sides have mounting holes for handles, which lets you mount the horizontal ATX case to a server rack.
There isn’t much going on at the bottom of the Grandia GD09B-C except the four feet. The rear side of the case has openings for the motherboard and two 80mm fans, as well as seven vertical and a single horizontal PCIe expansion slot. The expansion slots are perforated to provide some airflow, and they can be reused. There are also mounting holes for a standard-size ATX power supply.
Despite its relatively compact form factor, the chassis offers support for up to a full-sized ATX motherboard, two 3.5” hard drives, and a single 2.5” SSD. It’s compatible with CPU coolers of up to 138mm in height and graphics cards of up to 309mm in length. The only real caveat of this case is no radiator support.
At its MSRP, the SilverStone Grandia GD09B-C is a formidable choice for a horizontal desktop case. It also includes a single 120mm fan, which does support voltage controls.
|Supports full-sized ATX motherboard and PSU||Lacks AIO support|
|Front I/O includes a USB-C port||No cable routes behind the motherboard tray|
|Comes with a 5.25” ODD bay|
5. SilverStone Milo ML09B
- Dimensions: 350 x 109 x 205 mm
- Motherboard Support: Mini-ITX, Mini-DTX
- Weight:07 kg
- I/O: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x 3.5mm Audio
Lastly, the Milo ML09B is another SFF horizontal computer case from SilverStone. For those who are looking to build a gaming PC or a media hub in a console-sized enclosure, this all-black mini-ITX chassis is a fantastic choice.
The I/O resides on the left-hand side of the case, with two USB 3.0 Type-A ports and 3.5mm headphone/microphone jacks. The front is where you will find the power and reset buttons, as well as an optical drive cover. The top panel offers an ample amount of ventilation, with mounting holes for the single included 120mm PWM fan.
The left side of the chassis also provides airflow into the case, and there are mounting points for two 80mm fans. The rear panel has cutouts for the motherboard I/O and an SFX power supply. Expansion-wise, you get two smaller slots and a single full-sized slot for a low-profile graphics card of up to 175mm in length.
Inside the ML09B, there’s just enough room for a mini-ITX motherboard and up to four 2.5” drives. The slim-line optical bay can be used for an additional 2.5”/3.5” storage solution. Due to the constrained space, CPU cooler height is limited to 70mm, but it varies based on the use of multipurpose cooler brackets.
SilverStone’s official recommendation for a low-profile graphics card for this particular case goes up to a GTX 1650, which provides enough horsepower to run modern AAA games at 1080p with respectable framerates. It means you can build a fairly capable gaming system inside this tiny mini-ITX case. On the other side, stifling thermals can be an issue without adequate airflow.
In total though, we consider the SilverStone Milo ML09B one of the best horizontal PC cases for its small footprint. It’s also the most affordable option on this list, so it’s easily recommendable for any budget gaming or HTPC build.
|Small and lightweight, easy to carry||Thermal performance is average|
|Supports up to four 2.5” drives||Fits only low-profile GPUs|
|Includes a single 120mm cooling fan|
Best Horizontal PC Case F.A.Q
Below are our answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the best horizontal PC cases.
Q1. Why should I choose a horizontal computer case?
When it comes to small form factor PCs, cases with a horizontal layout are the easiest to build into. Although it would still take you some patience and experience to install all the essential components and route cables properly, the end result is a teeny PC that you can place beneath your living room TV or carry in LAN parties.
Or, if you are simply bored of tower-style desktops and want to make efficient use of your desk real estate, horizontal cases are worth checking out.
Q2. Is there anything else to keep in mind when choosing a horizontal PC case?
Most horizontal PC cases are small, so space for hardware is bound to be scarce. Hence, make sure to choose the correct-sized CPU cooler, graphics card, and power supply unit for your build depending on the maximum clearance values of the horizontal computer case you have selected. If you want an easier build process, go for a horizontal ATX case like the Cooler Master HAF XB EVO or the SilverStone Grandia GD09B-C, which supports full-sized motherboards and PSUs.
Generally speaking, most horizontal cases don’t have enough ventilation or room for ample amount airflow, so you may need to underclock your hardware to keep the thermals down. Alternatively, you could invest extra in some to move cool air through the Noctua fan case.
If you plan to add a discrete graphics card to your system, make sure to get one with a blower-style cooler so that it vents all the heat through the expansion slots of the horizontal case.
Q3. What are the best low-profile graphics cards for a horizontal PC case?
There’s no way you can fit a beefy multi-slot graphics card inside an SFF horizontal computer case like the SilverStone Milo ML09B. However, there are a handful of low-profile options available too. We recommend choosing from one of the following models:
- Zotac Gaming GeForce GTX 1650 LP
- MSI GeForce GTX 1050Ti 4GT LP
- Gigabyte GeForce GT 1030 Low Profile 2G
- VisionTek Radeon RX 560 Low Profile
It’s worth noting that the above GPUs don’t require external power.
Related PC Cases Article – Best Pink Computer Cases
That’s pretty much it for this guide to the best horizontal PC cases. Our handpicked selections contain units from renowned case manufacturers like Cooler Master, Fractal Design, InWin, and SilverStone, so you can expect sturdy construction and the use of premium, long-lasting materials on every model listed here.
Whether you are planning for a full-blown gaming rig or a living room computer, the following horizontal computer cases are the best for your needs. We have included both large and small units so that you can pick one depending on your hardware selections. Our buy links will send you straight to the product page.
If you think we missed out on a better unit, please let us know in the comments so that we can check it out too. For other queries, drop us a line and we will reach out to you soon.