It wasn't long ago that Mini-ITX was considered a niche form factor made up of a few motherboards and even fewer cases, but today major e-tailers such as Newegg have more than 60 motherboards listed and well over 150 cases, many of which are quite affordable. While we can't complain about having that kind of variety, it's increasingly difficult to know where to invest.
An enclosure like Cooler Master's new Elite RC-130 lets you cram an enormous amount of hardware into a 1.8L case that weighs just 6.8lbs (3.08kgs) and costs $50. The Elite RC-130 isn't alone in its ability to squeeze high-end hardware in a tiny footprint, but like so many Mini-ITX cases, it's not exactly exciting to look at. Understated designs obviously have their place with a machine that might sit in your living room, but building a Mini-ITX system always feels pretty special to me and working with a boring case just doesn't seem right.
Enter the Nebula by Xigmatek, a striking solution with a neat cube design that offers a 2.2L capacity. It's safe to say the Nebula is unlike anything we've seen before, and that tends to come at a premium. The case is pretty new and pricing isn't entirely clear yet in the US, but it's going for €85 or about $115 in other regions -- over twice the Elite RC-130's price.
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