In the small form factor (SFF) building community, there are two enclosures that really show what small PC builds are capable of – and these are the Dancase A4-SFX and the Louqe Ghost S1. These mini-ITX cases are high-end, enthusiast grade SFF enclosures for those looking to build elegant, performance systems in the smallest of enclosures – which can fit a full size discrete GPU such as the RTX 2080 Ti (depending on the aftermarket card size, of course – here is a guide with all RTX 2080 Ti card lengths).
The A4-SFX and Ghost S1 certainly aren’t cheap, and aren’t necessarily easy to get hold of, either. These mini ITX enclosures began their inception and production through two highly successful Kickstarter campaigns, and with each case releasing new revisions which built on the flaws of the previous version – we are now seeing these cases perform better than ever before.
Demand isn’t offput by the expensive price-tag, with generally large waiting lists and delivery times expected for those who want to get their hands on either the A4-SFX or Ghost S1 enclosures.
Before 2019, there weren’t many other high-end SFF enclosures that looked so beautiful and were as functional and capable as these two mini-ITX cases, but right now there are beginning to appear many decent alternative SFF cases to the A4-SFX and Ghost S1 that are actually worth considering – if you think the A4-SFX and/or Ghost S1 is simply too expensive, out of your budget or perhaps don’t want to wait so long to get your hands on an SFF case for your next build.
In this guide, we will show you the best Dancase A4-SFX alternatives and Louqe Ghost S1 alternative mini-ITX cases that show similar levels of build quality, attention to detail and capabilities of these two truly stellar SFF cases. Should none of these recommendations be your cup of tea, we have another guide that covers our favourite mini-ITX cases for SFF builds – offering a few more SFF case selections. In addition, for when you pick your next ITX case, we have also produced a guide covering the best SFX/-L power supplies to power your next mini-ITX build.
Lazer3D LZ7 (7.1L)
The smallest SFF PC case on this list, the Lazer3D LZ7 is a great alternative to the Ghost S1 and A4 SFX that focuses purely on cooling performance despite its 7.1L size. A large number of vents and cooling configurations allow this case to run
The LZ7 supports dual slot cards of up to 186mm length, SFX PSUs and CPU coolers of up to 70mm, although below 60mm is recommended – this means the popular SFF cooler – the Noctua NH-L9i – will fit in this ITX case.
Build quality is not compromised for the size, with the Lazer3D LZ7 built in the United Kingdom, and the ability to customise this case to your liking with different side panel types, and colours, means that you really can build
This is the smallest performance-orientated SFF case worth considering if the A4-SFX or Ghost S1 isn’t for you. It’s highly recommended from us.
The Kolink Rocket looks just like the A4-SFX and is slightly cheaper than the original Dancase version – so it makes for a slightly more affordable alternative to people who like the A4-SFX. This ITX case comes in at 9.6L of volume and still retains a decent build quality, and has some benefits over the A4-SFX such as the ability to install an additional 80mm fan over the motherboard and GPU – really helping to improve cooling and thermals within the case. Decent CPU coolers can fit in the Kolink Rocket, too, such as the Cooltek LP53 paired with Noctua’s NF-A9 to help create a mini ITX build with decent thermal performance.
Geeek A50 (9.7L)
The cheapest alternative to the
If you want a high performing case that is easily available, a bargain price and looks great, then it may be worth considering the Geek A50 as a suitable alternative for the A4-SFX or Ghost S1.
Thor Mjolnir (9.7L)
This SFF entry on our list we love the look of has actually yet to be released is called the Thor Mjolnir.
In the footsteps of the A4-SFX and Ghost S1, the Mjolnir has aimed for a high-end premium build quality and drop-dead beautiful design. Simple, elegant and functional – what more could you want. This SFF enclosure is 9.7L in volume, and uses 5mm aluminium panels to make it feel super solid.
What is great about this case is that it supports not just air cooling (of up to 51mm coolers) but also AIO and closed loop water cooled setups, too. RTX 2080 It’s will be able to fit in this case, meaning this will suit the most extreme and expensive of builds. The inclusion of RGB lighting (in the more expensive version) and optional tempered glass panel available with the Mjolnir will show off and help customise any systems build in this mini ITX enclosure.
No word on thermals yet since we are yet to get our hands on it, but looking at the design, fan slots and intake holes we can expect this to similar levels to the Ghost S1.
The Thor Mjolnir is expected to retail for approximately $299 for the version without RGB lighting, and $399 with.
The kickstarter campaign for the Thor Mjolnir can be found here.
Ncase M1 (12.6L)
The Ncase M1 needs no introduction, it is the OG
The build quality of the NCase M1 is excellent – on
It certainly isn’t a cheap alternative to the A4-SFX or Ghost S1, but you get what you pay for – decent build quality, great performance and sleek design.
Should you want to build with the NCASE M1, we have produced an informative guide with part recommendations for NCASE M1 builds.
Streacom DA2 (17.5L)
The last – and largest case on our list is the Streacom DA2 that comes in at 17.5L – so it is still a small form factor (SFF) chassis – and impressively is able to house water cooling builds with up to 280mm sized radiators. With a solid build quality matched with a subtle design, the DA2 is able to hold its own against other higher-end ITX cases such as the Ghost S1 and A4-SFX – as well as not lacking in the cooling performance, too. If you do plan on building a liquid cooled/AIO SFF build – then the Streacom DA2 will offer a solid platform to begin this build – a great alternative to a AIO build in the Ghost S1 w/Tophat.