Best Mini-ITX Chassis Clones

Published Categorized as Chassis
DAN A4 case size comparison with a headphone

For Velka 3 size and layout, check our article about heat sink fan solutions for ultra-small PC chassis as it, even in mere periphery, discusses the Chinese Velka 3 clones. There is no need to discuss the Velka 3 clones further as they are already discussed thoroughly in that post.

Below are the famous boutique mini-ITX chassis and their clones or ripoffs. These are good alternatives if you are with a constrained budget and/or the boutique cases are not available for purchase. All of them are available on Taobao, the China equivalent of Amazon.

If you have “problems” with buying “ripoffs” you can read our rationalization in buying clones or replicas.

Dr. Zaber Sentry 2.0 versus HZmod’s XQ69

XQ69 size comparison with Xbox controller
XQ69 with Takstar Pro 82 and Xbox 360 wireless controller

The Zaber Sentry 2.0 is one of the best small form factor chassis due to its great layout and amazing looks. The PlayStation 5 is much bigger than the Zaber Sentry 2.0, this is a testament to how have times changed. Although the Zaber Sentry is amazing and all, it is very difficult to buy one. If you are able to buy them from their makers, you have to wait for an extended amount of time for the chassis to arrive.

Here comes the HZMod’s XQ69, a blatant ripoff that did not shy away from its outright copying. The XQ69 has all the physical resemblance but differs in some areas like size, the grill design, and the interior layout. Below is the table distinguishing the cases.

CaseSize (WDH)FreebiesCompatibility (CPU)Compatibility (GPU)
XQ69339 x 323 x 69mm 2 Stands / Bag50mm320 x 148 x 55mm
Sentry 2.0340 x 310 x 66mm3.5″ Hard Drive Caddy47mm or 50mm depending on the motherboard layoutCheck this Google Sheet for compatibility
Differences between Zaber Sentry 2.0 and HZmod XQ69

In our tests, there is no noteworthy difference between the cases in terms of thermal performance. The power button cord of XQ69 is suspect in quality though as it seems to be very vulnerable compared to the braided wiring of Sentry 2.0’s. Nevertheless, manufacturer HZmod is easy to communicate with and has the same power cord for sale as well as the replacement for the riser–if such need arises.

Also, a noteworthy difference between the two is the Zaber Sentry 2.0 is not available in white while you can order XQ69 in white. The previous incarnation of the Zaber Sentry had a white version, but the case makers opt not to offer the white version and, in lieu, have a gray version of the same case.

LOQUE Ghost S1 versus Chinese Clones

Loque Ghost S1 is heavily copied in Taobao.
A black with red accent Loque Ghost S1 clone.

LOQUE’s Ghost S1 is one of the best-looking and best-performing mini-ITX cases out there. However, it is also extremely pricy. This is why people are looking for a clone of this beautiful case and the Chinese, unsurprisingly, delivered. There are Ghost S1 clones with no branding, although you can buy those, it is safer to buy those replicators who put their brand name in the wild for better warranty and communication.

Aklla A4 versus Kevcases Ghost S1

Aklla and Kevcase offer Ghost S1 copy with AKLLA A4 and the Kevcase Ghost S1 clone, respectively. The Kevcase copy would not be suitable if you wanted a truly streamlined assembly experience. There is a problem with the side panels, as well as the absence of a user manual and allen keys.

We would certainly recommend it as a cheaper alternative to the Ghost S1 because the build quality is solid and it is the closest copy of Loque’s in terms of looks and functionality.

Furthermore, the top hat support is a bonus because they are manufactured by Kevcases, which ensures compatibility. The case is somewhat thicker than the Original Ghost S1, with the bottom plate measuring 150mm in diameter. The side panels slide, but at the Kevcase’s tophat is subtly different from the original Ghost S1 – and thus incompatible with the latter’s top hat.

As for Aklla A4, when compared to the original Ghost S1, the former has the shortest top hat of the Loque as if it’s built-in while also being fatter. It does not have the look of the Kevcase but it is similar in parts compatibility.

The Aklla 4 supports two configurations, the first is putting on a CPU cooler of up to 75mm like the Noctua NH-L12S allows for greater compatibility of long cards like the GTX 3080. The second configuration allows for a 67mm CPU cooler for a thicker video card compatibility. It follows the Ghost’s very cool magnetic tophat albeit with the exclusion of a pull strap. This makes the tophat incredibly difficult to pull out. Fortunately, the much-expensive Aklla Pro rectifies this glaring mistake.

DAN A4-SFX Clone versus ZS-A4

Let it be known that it pains us to recommend a case at the cost of DAN A4. Speaking of costs, we just cannot ignore our entire ethos of recommending the cheaper product when everything is almost equal. While there is an active SFF enthusiast group prior to the explosion of DAN A4, the DAN A4 put the mini-ITX case on the map. DAN A4 is the default recommendation for anyone out there who wants to buy a case this small. It is currently being updated, it is of precise engineering, and the materials are amazing. The case is for everyone…except its price.

ZS-A4 is the closest to the DAN A4-SFX case:

The case also includes two separate back panels, one that supports thicker GPUs in exchange for losing CPU cooler height, and one that is the opposite for when you have a thinner GPU and want a little more CPU cooling headroom.

Note that the ZS-A4 can only house a fan on the bottom of the case, right below the power supply. It also comes with a mount that can fit two 2.5 inch drives or a single fan up to 120mm.

The ZS-A4 may have the same compatibilities and assembly as the DAN Case but it looks vastly different which may deter any of the potential buyers. ZS-A4 lacks the svelte appearance of the original. It is not ugly in itself, but compared to the original? Well, nothing really beats the DANCASE.

The DAN A4-SFX is the most gorgeous ITX case.

By Kiki Bagana

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