Uncover the ideal PC case: Mid Tower vs. Full Tower. Dive into performance, cooling, and size considerations for the ultimate gaming or work setup.
In the comparison between Mid Tower and Full Tower cases, the ideal choice depends on individual needs, such as server usage, video rendering, or gaming.
In this article, you will learn about Mid Tower vs. Full Tower PC Cases and which one is best for you.
Full Tower Cases
Typically standing over 20 inches (50 cm) tall, a full tower PC case has space for multiple 3.5-inch drive bays, multiple cooling fans, and enough expansion slots to expansion slots for Extended ATX.
Your choice of full tower case will determine whether it is better suited for cooling or expansion.
Some Full Tower cases can even accommodate a whole secondary PC within the same chassis.
The majority of Full Tower cases prioritize raw performance and expansion over footprint reduction, whilst some cases must make numerous size compromises in order to achieve their objectives.
Mid Tower cases
Typically, a Mid Tower PC case measures less than 20 inches (< 50 cm) in height, more like 17 inches (43 cm).
This often entails having space for four or more 3.5-inch drive bays, three intake fans, and expansion slots that will fit an ATX motherboard.
Even though Mid Towers aren’t as large as Full Towers, they are still quite large in comparison to today’s ever-smaller consumer PCs and smaller form factors.
A select few can even build dual-PC, but if you do that in a mid-tower case, be prepared to spend more on liquid or cooling fans.
Although Mid Tower cases exhibit some compromises in comparison to Full Towers, most consumers need not be concerned about these tradeoffs.
Even Mid Tower may be too much for you if you aren’t using all of your expansion slots or more than one hard drive.
But what Mid Tower excels at is preserving the idea of PC upgradability. Even if you don’t currently use multi-drive or multi-card setups, a Mid Tower allows you to upgrade in the event that you decide to do so in the future.
Furthermore, when it comes to keeping the hardware cool, Mid Tower cases do not have as many restrictions as smaller form factors.
Mid Tower vs Full Tower PC Cases
|Mid Tower Cases
|Full Tower Cases
|Usually under 20 inches (<50cm)
|Usually more than 20 inches (>50cm)
|3-4 3.5-inch, 3-4 2.5-inch
|5 or more 3.5-inch, 5.25 bays for disc drives
|Good airflow, suitable for air and liquid cooling
|Ideal for high-end air and liquid cooling, accommodates large radiators
|Supports multi-slot GPUs with open-air coolers
|Supports three or more GPUs or expansion cards
|Size and Weight
|Smaller and lighter compared to Full Tower
|Larger and heavier than Mid Tower
|Great for gaming, general use, and moderate expansion
|Ideal for extensive storage, high-performance gaming, and complex builds
|Less common but some support dual-PC builds
|More common support for dual-PC configurations
|Generally more affordable than Full Towers
|Tends to be more expensive due to larger size
Reasons Why a Mid Tower Is the Preferred Choice
1. Optimal Drive Storage
Mid Towers typically come equipped with 3–4 3.5-inch drive bays and an additional 3–4 2.5-inch bays, providing ample space for multiple HDDs, SSDs, or a combination of both within a single PC.
For consumers and gamers, this accommodates an ideal internal storage setup. However, for the most advanced storage configurations, particularly for servers, this might still fall short.
2. Effective Cooling Options
Seeking a fully air-cooled PC?
A Mid Tower case stands out as a top choice, particularly for those aiming to maximize airflow. While Full Tower cases also excel in this aspect, the smaller footprint of Mid Tower cases makes it slightly easier to facilitate efficient air circulation. Achieving a positive pressure airflow setup is notably straightforward in a Mid Tower case, especially when compared to smaller chassis alternatives.
Liquid cooling setups, whether utilizing an AIO or custom loop, work effectively in Mid Tower cases. Unlike the potential challenges of implementing custom water loops in Mini ITX builds, Mid Towers offer more space to work with and are compatible with larger AIOs/radiators.
3. Support for 2+ GPUs or Expansion Cards
Despite the decreasing popularity of multi-GPU setups among the majority of users, especially gamers, Mid Towers cater to professionals who may benefit from an additional GPU for enhanced render times. While a single, powerful GPU is often more practical for most users, professionals may find value in the performance boost provided by an extra GPU, especially considering the current era of chip shortages.
4. Compact Size & Reduced Weight Compared to Full Towers
A key advantage of Mid Tower cases is their smaller and lighter build in comparison to Full Tower cases. This becomes especially significant when regular PC movement is required. Maneuvering a Mid Tower or smaller case is considerably more manageable than handling a bulky Full Tower chassis.
Additionally, the cost of Full Tower cases tends to be higher due to the increased raw material requirements, making Mid Towers a cost-effective alternative. Choosing a Mid Tower allows users to save money without sacrificing essential features and performance capabilities.
Reasons Why a Full Tower Is the Preferred Choice
If you’re aiming for a sophisticated multi-drive setup, a Full Tower case is the ideal solution. Particularly beneficial for server builds, Full Towers offer 5 or more 3.5-inch bays, providing ample space for extensive storage configurations.
While 5.25 bays for disc drives and card readers have become scarce in the PC market, Full Towers are more likely to feature these components. For those seeking scalable, RAIDable, and stackable storage solutions, a Full Tower case stands out as an excellent option.
2. High-End Cooling
Opting for a Full Tower case is crucial for those desiring a high-end cooling setup, especially with large radiators or multiple radiators in custom loop configurations. Full Towers are ideal for extreme cooling scenarios, such as custom loop cooling for both the CPU and multiple GPUs. While regular air cooling can still be highly effective, Full Towers may require more case fans than Mid Towers to ensure optimal airflow throughout the entire case and prevent hot spots.
3. 3+ GPUs or Expansion Cards
Although multi-GPU setups have declined in popularity, Full Tower cases remain the preferred choice for enthusiasts or professionals who require such configurations. Full Towers provide the necessary space and compatibility for three or more GPUs or expansion cards, catering to specific high-performance demands.
4. Dual-PC Builds
Many Full Towers support dual-PC builds, offering a unique advantage for professionals and content creators. While some Mid Towers allow for dual PC configurations, Full Towers are more commonly equipped for this feature.
Dual-PC setups are valuable for tasks that benefit from multiple processors, such as pro applications that support parallel processing or content creators, especially gamers engaged in live-streaming.
In a typical dual PC case, users can build a standard ATX or Extended ATX PC while having the option to mount an additional Mini ITX motherboard within the same case. This enables users to allocate a dedicated system for streaming or video rendering without interrupting the primary gaming or editing workload on the main PC.
It’s crucial to note that in such dual-PC setups, enhanced cooling considerations are essential to address the additional heat generated by the secondary PC within the same case.
When is it appropriate to choose a Micro ATX or Mini ITX case over a Full or Mid Tower?
Consider downsizing to Micro ATX if you don’t need numerous drives or GPUs. For those seeking space-saving options and confident in building and maintenance skills, a Mini ITX or other Small Form Factor (SFF) build is an option.
However, be aware that fitting components might be challenging. If you desire the benefits of a Mid Tower but with a smaller footprint, explore small ATX cases, which are more workable than standard Mid or Full Tower designs without sacrificing as much as Micro ATX or Mini ITX options.
Is it necessary to have Mid Tower and Full Tower cases for the greatest performance?
Not necessarily. While a Mid Tower case excels in raw airflow, and a Full Tower case maximizes liquid cooling potential, smaller form factors can still deliver good performance. Optimization becomes crucial in smaller cases. For example, blower-style GPUs are recommended for Small Form Factor (SFF) builds due to their heat exhaust design, which is less reliant on strong airflow than open-air cards.
Does gaming work well with Mid-Towers?
Absolutely. For gaming purposes, a Full Tower case may not be necessary. A Mid Tower case with a well-configured fan setup is suitable for accommodating multi-slot GPUs with open-air coolers. Liquid cooling for overclocking also works effectively in Mid Tower cases.