Whether you’re buying a new computer or moving your PC parts from the old case to a new one, the case size matters the most. Why? Because case size impacts cooling, PC part compatibility, and aesthetics.
You’re probably wondering why we choose a mid and full-tower size. That’s because these two are the most popular and effective case sizes. So, which one wins in the “mid-tower vs. full tower” battle? Well, there’s no definite answer because it depends on your needs.
Both mid-tower cases and full tower cases have their advantages and disadvantages. It is why we’re here. We will break down every little detail, point out the flaws, and help you get the best case for your PC.
- Mid Tower vs Full Tower – Main Differences
- Specifications of Mid Tower and Full Tower PC Cases
- Things You Should Remember Before Getting a Tower PC Case
- Advantages of Using Mid tower
- Disadvantages of Using Mid Tower Case
- Advantages of Using Full Tower Case
- Disadvantages of Using Full Tower Case
- When Should You Get a Mid Tower?
- When Should You Get a Full Tower?
- Some Questions You May Have
- Final Words
Mid Tower vs Full Tower – Main Differences
|Feature||Mid Tower||Full Tower|
|Best for||Work, Office, Gaming PC||Advanced Gaming PC, Servers, Video Editing|
|Size||18-22 inches||22-25 inches|
|Motherboard||mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX||E-ATX, XL-ATX, EEB, HPTX|
|GPU||perfect for single
and dual fan cards
triple fan cards
|Cooling system||7-8 fans||10 to 15 fans|
|Cooling system type||Better for active airflow||Better for watercooling|
|Maximum radiator size||360mm||480mm|
|Storage / drive bays||5-10||10-15|
|Noise||Makes more noise||Super quiet|
The table below illustrates that a full tower can hold more hardware than a mid-tower. In addition, the former is quieter as it can house more fans that do not need to run at maximum capacity. Although both options serve different purposes, let’s explore them in further detail.
Specifications of Mid Tower and Full Tower PC Cases
We can’t just put one pc case against another without letting you know what they are. Before you get into the advantages and disadvantages, you must know what mid-tower and full tower cases are made of, both literally and figuratively. So, without further ado, let’s press the power button.
Mid Tower Case
Medium tower pc cases are the ones you usually see everywhere. From office desks to online popular content creators to casual pc users. This type of case is not too small or too big. Thus, the name “mid-tower.”
If you’re into accurate numbers, medium tower pc cases usually have a height of 18 inches or more. Anything smaller than 18 inches falls under another category of pc cases (which we’ll discuss in a second).
Mid tower PC Case parts compatibility
Now, let’s talk about PC parts compatibility because you wouldn’t want to buy a case and later find out that your GPU or motherboard isn’t supported. Mid tower pc cases support almost all the mainstream motherboards and GPUs.
Again, if you’re a fan of accurate details, medium tower cases generally support mini-ITX, micro-ATX, ATX, and, if you’re lucky enough, E-ATX (extended ATX). It means mid-tower cases support most motherboard types.
Now, what about GPUs? Before we get into that, you have to know what type of graphics are available in the first place. By categorizing them using fans, you get three types of GPUs: single fan, dual fan, and triple fan cards.
A mid-tower case generally supports all of these types of graphics cards. Yep, you can even fit a triple fan GPU in it. However, the catch is that you might have to sacrifice your vertically mounted radiator. You’re all good to go if you’re using a single or dual fan card.
Speaking of radiators (water cooling), a medium tower pc case can fit a 360mm radiator or below. As for the casing cooling fans, medium tower cases provide ample space for 7 to 8 casing fans. Three fans at the front, 3 or sometimes 4 at the top, and 1 at the back side for exhaust.
PCI-E Expansion Slots
Lastly, we have PCI-E expansion slots and drive bays. Mid tower cases usually offer 7 to 9 PCIe expansion slots and 3 to 6 for drive mounting. It includes data SSDs and HDDs.
Full Tower Case
Full tower cases are expensive, so you don’t usually see them in normal places like an office desk or at a casual user’s home. They also look very fancy and aesthetically pleasing. They have an enormous size, which is the reason for the naming.
Full tower pc cases generally have a height and length starting from 22 inches to 25 inches. Yeah, on paper, it’s only a few inches bigger than mid-towers, but the difference is massive in person.
As for the motherboard support, you can fit anything inside full tower pc cases. We’re not kidding. From mini ITX to a full-blown XL-ATX, you can fit every size motherboard. Not only that, even the biggest motherboard will leave enough space for many other components after installation.
PCIe expansion slots
Bigger space means more slots and stuff. A full tower case usually offers 8 to 10 PCIe expansion slots. Running out of Lan card or sound card slots? Pop out an expansion slot and install whatever you want. It also means installing even the biggest GPU and mounting your beefy radiator vertically.
You also get higher drive bays support. A full tower case will give you 10 to 15 drive bay slots. That’s almost double the number of drive bays you get in a mid-tower.
A full tower pc case also supports more casing fans. You can almost install 10 to 15 fans in a full tower pc case. As for the water cooling solutions, you can mount up to a 480mm radiator (the most significant size BTW). It means your PC cooling side is taken care of.
You might wonder why we’re talking about other cases in an article about mid- and full-tower pc cases. It is because knowledge about every type of case is important before purchasing pc components. Who knows, maybe you’d want a mini case instead?
The last type of case is a mini tower, and yes, you guessed it right. These cases are one of the smallest cases out there. They are meant for saving space, so they come in a small form factor size.
Mini tower chassis usually have 6 fan mounting options, limited cable management options, and single to dual fan GPU compatibility. There you go! That’s all you need to know about them in a glimpse.
Things You Should Remember Before Getting a Tower PC Case
Now that you know everything about “mid-tower vs. a full tower,” it’s time to settle for one. But, hold up for a second! Are you sure you know everything? Learning a bit more won’t hurt, right? So, here are a few key things you should remember before settling down for a pc case.
Before you even order your brand new medium tower or full tower case, you must remember what sort of motherboard you currently have or plan on buying. Ask yourself, are you going to buy a micro ATX, regular ATX, or an XL ATX motherboard?
Micro ATX will look very small in medium and full tower pc cases. ATX will be fine for mid towers, and XL ATX will be great for full tower pc cases. However, remember that you won’t be able to fit an XL ATX motherboard inside a mid-tower physically. So keep that in mind before purchasing a motherboard.
As we said earlier, there are three types of graphics cards: single fan, dual fan, and triple fan cards. Technically speaking, both mid-tower and full tower cases will support any type of graphics card you throw at them.
However, things get a bit tricky when you try to install a triple fan aftermarket GPU inside a mid-tower. The GPU will fit very nicely but might come in contact with your vertically mounted radiator. It is why you should use a measuring tape to find out whether things will go nicely or not.
If you’re a person who wants everything nice and clean, cable management is the best way you can achieve that look. It’s the process of hiding all those nasty-looking cables behind your computer case.
All of your cables will hide in the space behind your motherboard. So, naturally, a bigger case will offer more room. A full tower casing will also give you breathing space. What do we mean by this? Managing all the cables is easier in a full tower case.
There are two types of cooling solutions: water and air cooling. Every case supports all sorts of air coolers, so you won’t have to check anything before buying an air cooler. Things get tricky when water cooling comes in. Things get even trickier when custom water cooling loops are involved.
As mentioned, a mid-tower supports up to 240mm water cooling radiators. So, before buying a radiator, ensure whether the size fits. However, you can fit any size radiator in a full tower case without any issue.
A computer is a phenomenal piece of tech. Unlike most devices, you can add or remove components. You can even downgrade or upgrade your current system. So, when getting a case, always keep in mind what plans you have for the future.
Maybe you’ll add more SSDs or HDDs in the future. So, ensure the case you’re getting has extra slots for mounting more storage devices. The same goes for other hardware as well. Maybe you’re using a dual fan GPU, but make sure there’s enough room for a triple fan card just in case you feel like upgrading.
Advantages of Using Mid tower
One of the best things about mid-tower cases is that they are smaller and take up less desk space than full-tower cases. Even a 3 feet table will be more than enough to hold your whole PC setup with a mid-tower case.
Mid Tower Advantages in Short
- Compact size for saving space.
- Supports mini-ITX to ATX motherboards.
- Supports up to two GPUs at the same time.
- Good for both air and water cooling.
- Let’s install 5 to 6 storage devices.
- Good airflow with cheap casing fans.
- Comparatively lightweight, so easy to carry.
- Pocket-friendly pricing.
You have to remember the targeted customers for mid-tower cases. These cases are generally made for casual users and PC gamers. As mid-tower cases aren’t super small nor obnoxiously big, average users and gamers can have plenty of room to fit their desired hardware components.
Please note that casual users and gamers don’t use super expensive and big-sized pc parts, so a mid-tower is perfectly fine. As for the PCIe expansion slots and drive bays, mid towers’ got your back.
Casual users don’t have more than a single HDD, an M.2 SSD, or a SATA SSD. When it comes to gamers, these numbers are unpredictable as games are growing in size every year. Every AAA video game is at least 80GB in size these days. Some even go beyond 100GB.
The best part is that mid-tower cases can be great for both types of users, whether you’re a casual user or a hardcore gamer. Why? Because a mid-tower casing usually offers at least 3 to 4 3.5-inch drive bays and 3 2.5-inch drive bays. You can install 3 to 4 3.5-inch HDDs and 3 2.5-inch SATA SSDs.
The advantages don’t stop there. A mid-tower can fit both air cooling and liquid cooling. Of course, not simultaneously. To make things even sweeter, you can install custom liquid cooling loops inside most mid-tower cases. A mid-tower casing can handle up to 380mm water radiator. You can’t go above this line, but you can certainly go below. Just in case you need something smaller.
Speaking of cooling, a mid-tower PC case can properly cool your whole pc setup even if you have low-quality casing fans. How? All thanks to the size. As the case isn’t that big, your fans don’t have to rotate fast to spread the fresh air or take out the warm air.
Furthermore, low rotation means low noise. So, it’s a win-win situation. You can get away with pre-installed fans and spend the casing fan budget elsewhere.
PCIe expansion slots
Now let’s talk about PCIe expansion slots because, for some gamers, it’s either a deal breaker or a maker. Mid tower casings usually offer 6 to 8 expansion slots. That’s more than enough for even the most hardcore gamers.
How? You can install two GPUs and many other PCIe components to boost your gaming performance. You know how demanding most modern games are, right? Using more than one GPU will certainly give you better performance.
Now let’s talk about portability. Of course, a mid-tower case won’t be as portable as a mini form factor case. However, it still weighs much less than a full tower case. Plus, the size isn’t that big, so you can carry it with you, or at least it won’t be a hassle when you take your pc to service.
Last but not least, we have the cost. Mid-tower computer cases are generally made with less expensive materials than full towers. It means mid towers are cheaper. Of course, this doesn’t mean your case will have a cheap feeling. Most mid towers have a good build quality.
Disadvantages of Using Mid Tower Case
Mid Tower Disadvantages in Short
- You can’t use a triple fan GPU and vertically mount a radiator at the same time.
- The compact space might cause problems when managing cables and repairing them.
The first disadvantage of using a mid-tower computer case is that you won’t be able to install triple fan GPUs and vertically mount your AIO radiator. Suppose you have an RTX 3090 and a good water cooler. All the 3090s are triple fan cards and usually have a length of 13 inches.
So, if you have an 18-inch mid-tower casing, you’ll only have 5 inches of clearance. This will make it almost impossible for you to install an AIO cooler vertically. Not only that, but the GPU will also have a tough time staying cool. Either get a two/dual fan GPU or install the radiator up top horizontally.
Compact Space Might Cause Problems
The second disadvantage is the compact space. Although this won’t be a problem most of the time, it’ll surely cause issues when you disassemble or try to repair your computer. You’ll have to remove most components, if not all. Also, compact space means all the cables will be jam-packed. So, untangling all the cables and then doing cable management again will be a pain in your chest.
Advantages of Using Full Tower Case
Full Tower Advantages in Short
- Supports all types of motherboards.
- 10 to 15 casing fan mounting options.
- More expansion slots for more hardware.
- Vertical GPU mounting bracket.
- Tons of HDD and SSD support.
- You can use two motherboards.
- Solid and tough build quality.
- Enough room for cable management.
- Better airflow with good fans.
- Triple GPU support.
Now we will step out from the realm of casual users and pc gamers to the realm of high-end productivity. Such work requires high-end pc components as well, and usually, these components are very massive in size.
So, it’s obvious that you’ll need a big case to hold all the components. This is where full tower cases come in. as a full tower case has a height and length of 22 inches or more, you can easily fit even the most colossal pc hardware available.
One of the most crucial things for high-end users is storage, especially if you’re into video editing. The same goes for people who want to build a server computer. Such computers need tons of HDDs and SSDs. A full tower case generally offers 10 to 15 drive bays. This means you can have terabytes of storage.
So many HDDs and SSDs also mean tons of power cables, and this brings us to cable management. Managing cable in a full tower computer case is one of the best feelings ever. There’s just so much room to breathe. You can individually manage each cable so there’s no tangling.
Cable management brings us to cool. Full towers are one of the best cases for active airflow. Guess why? You’re right! It’s because of the extra space. The more space, the better the cooling. The extra space also makes custom loop water cooling more efficient.
Furthermore, there’s no limitation in terms of a cooling water system. You can go up to 480mm without any issue. And, no! You won’t have to cut corners when installing GPUs. You can install a triple fan card and put the 480mm radiator vertically.
Triple GPU Support and Vertical GPU Mounting Bracket.
Speaking of GPUs, you can install multiple graphics cards in a full tower case. Three cards, if we’re being accurate. This will definitely boost your modern gaming and productivity performance. The better cooling system only makes things sweeter because now your computer hardware can perform at its fullest.
If you’re a person who cares about aesthetics as much as performance, then you’re in for a show. Almost all the full tower cases come with vertical GPU mounting brackets. Vertically mounting your GPU will help you show off its full beauty.
10 to 15 Casing Fan Mounting Options.
As for the casing fan support, usually, full towers have 10 to 15 fan mounting options. It’s not about whether your case can support fans. It’s about whether you can afford so many. From front to back and top to bottom, your case will produce hurricane-like wind with all those fans.
The fun doesn’t end there, though. Some full tower computer cases can support two ATX motherboards at the same time. Yeah! You can harness the power of two computers with only one case. As for motherboard support, there’s nothing you can’t out inside this bad boy. A full tower can support even the largest motherboard out there.
Lastly, we have the build quality. All the full tower cases have a really strong and solid build quality. Well, it’s not a surprise considering how expensive they are.
Disadvantages of Using Full Tower Case
Full Tower Disadvantages in Short
- The colossal size takes up too much space.
- Very heavy, so not good for portability.
- Needs powerful case fans for good cooling.
- Too expensive for lots of people.
Size and Weight
The very first problem with a full tower case is the size and weight. These bad boys are humongous. If you’re a person who often moves their PC, this case is not for you. A full tower pc setup will be a pain in the arse if you take it for repair/servicing.
Some full tower cases weigh around 10 kilograms or 22 pounds. We haven’t even included all the other components. It’s the weight of only the case itself. Such heavy cases need two people to carry speaking from personal experience. The need for an additional person just to carry the case makes it a deal breaker for so many people.
The size is also a disadvantage as you’ll need a big space just for the case. Overall, full towers aren’t that good in terms of portability. Now let’s move to the next disadvantage, shall we?
Needs powerful case fans
Unless you’re doing a custom loop liquid cooling setup, you’ll need powerful and expensive casing fans to provide enough airflow. As the interior space is really big, cheap fans won’t be able to cover all the spots. Getting expensive fans will make a significant difference.
Last but not least, we have the pricing. As full towers generally have a better build quality and are bigger, it’s not surprising that they cost way more than mid towers. This can be a problem for people who are on a tight budget.
When Should You Get a Mid Tower?
As we’ve said before, both full tower and mid-tower cases have their strengths and weaknesses, and there’s no clear winner. This is why it depends on your needs. So, when should you get a mid-tower case?
Suppose you’re a gamer who wants a mid-range gaming computer. This build will probably include a micro-ATX or a standard ATX motherboard, an air cooler, a few casing fans, and a dual (or maybe triple) fan GPU.
In such a case (no pun intended), you should go for a mid-tower casing. The ATX motherboard will fit snuggly with the case, giving you just the right amount of space to route your cables without making them visible.
Also, there’s always a smaller version of even the most powerful pc hardware. So, even if you’re building a high-end productivity computer, if you lack the space for a full tower chassis, you can get a mid-tower instead.
Lastly, get a mid-tower case if you’re tight on budget. We’ve seen lots of people cut down on their pc hardware budget just to get an expensive case. Don’t be like them. It’s okay to cut down on the case budget instead. Get a functional case with a decent airflow system, and you’ll be all good.
When Should You Get a Full Tower?
So, you want to build a high-end productivity slash gaming computer with beefy hardware and tons of storage? Furthermore, you also have plenty of space for a huge case. In this case (again, no pun intended), you should go for a full tower pc build.
Please do note that we’re suggesting a full tower chassis assuming that you’ll buy full-size hardware. This includes an E-ATX or XL-ATX motherboard, a triple fan high-end GPU, lots of casing fans, 480mm AIO liquid cooler or a custom loop system, and tons of SSDs and HDDs.
Firstly, even if you wanted to go for a mid-tower case, you won’t be able to physically fit all of these components inside it. You only have one option, and that’s a full tower casing. That’s not all. Such monstrous components need excellent airflow. Only a full tower case can provide that.
Secondly, get a full tower casing only if you have a permanent setup or a place. This means that you should place your full tower computer in a place where you don’t have to move anything often. As we have said earlier, moving such a bulky case will be a hellish task.
Lastly, don’t cheap out on a full tower casing. The cheap ones aren’t worth it. Wait for a few weeks, save up a bit, and get the best possible case within your extended budget.
Some Questions You May Have
Yes! You can fit a standard size ATX motherboard inside a mid-tower casing without any issue. However, just to be sure, check the casing manual before making the purchase.
Full tower casings are very lengthy and tall, so many power supply cables might be too short for them. In this case, you can use extension cables. These cables also look phenomenal.
Yes! The size does affect cooling. A tiny case will have less space, which will hamper airflow. A very big case will have too much space, which means you’ll have to use powerful casing fans to ensure sufficient airflow.
From mini to mid to full, all the cases support various types of power supplies. So, the answer is no! You don’t have to check your power supply size. It’ll fit.
Mid-tower vs. full tower battle has always been a debate among the pc builders community. The casual gamers/users suggest medium towers, and the hardcore enthusiasts suggest full towers. So, ask yourself! Why are you building a PC?
It’s a big article, and here’s a quick recap just to jog up your memory. If you have an ATX or smaller motherboard with a few storage devices and a mid-end GPU, get a mid-tower casing.
On the other hand, high-end productivity and game lovers can go for a full tower because it’ll give you guys maximum performance with excellent airflow and storage capability.