Intel has been a real champion for small form factor computing, recently introducing three new types of mini PC designs in addition to the NUC: the Compute Stick, Mini Lake and 5" × 5", or mini-STX as it is now commonly referred to. One of the first companies to adopt the new mini-STX form factor is MSI with its new Cubi 2 Plus, a tiny 1.3L computer that not only supports a desktop Skylake Core i7 processor but also accept up to 32GBs of DDR4 memory and a high-speed NVMe SSD for good measure.
The Alienware Alpha is a compact living room gaming PC that suits the gamer wanting better graphics, frame rates, and resolutions on a more consistent basis. On top of this, you get the advantages of gaming on a PC, such as a massive game library, cheaper games and the excellent modding community.
Taking advantage of Ivy Bridge's efficient operation, Intel accompanied its third-generation Core processors with a new small form factor platform dubbed Next Unit of Computing (NUC). Unfortunately so far the project has basically amounted to a cool idea hamstrung by poor hardware choices and unattractive prices.
Gigabyte hopes to buck the trend with its own NUC offerings. Their pint-sized "Brix" systems come in four CPU configurations, including the 1.8GHz Celeron 1037U, 1.9GHz Core i3-3227U, 1.8-2.7GHz Core i5-3337U and 2-3.1GHz Core i7-3537U.
For years now we've had the ability to take a compact Micro ATX motherboard along with a high-end GPU and squeeze them into a custom case not much bigger than a shoe box.
We are putting today's top small form factor hardware together in hopes of building an enthusiast-worthy gaming system that you can easily transport, use as a a small workstation or fit comfortably along your living room equipment for HTPC purposes.
The idea behind the Thin Mini-ITX form factor, besides the obvious which is to create seriously compact computers, is also to allow for DIY all-in-ones (think of little PCs you can attach to the back of your monitor). Having that said, we don't fully intend to go the all-in-one route in this article, but are aiming to build a powerful Thin Mini-ITX system that can be used in the office or at home as a media PC.
This is what our finished system should look like: extremely compact, powerful, and near silent operation, as in no-moving-parts silent. For less than $700 including a 256GB SSD, we believe you'll love what the final product will look like.
While full-sized desktop computers are still around, tablets and smartphones have proven that technology has come far enough to essentially cram a fully capable computer into a space that is suitable for your pants pocket, a purse, or a small backpack. This idea of shrinking hardware hasn’t been overlooked by manufacturers as several now feature space-saving designs based on mobile hardware.
Such is the case with Sapphire’s new Edge VS8 mini-PC powered by AMD’s A8 APU. The system is hardly any larger than an external optical drive, while still packing 4GB of DDR3 memory, Radeon HD 7600G graphics, a 500GB SATA HDD, built-in support for Bluetooth 3.0 as well as 802.11 b/g/n wireless and a bevy of rear I/O connections.
Although there are some solid small form factor cases available, none of them are perfect -- at least not if you're Wahaha360 and Necere from HardOCP's forum. Disappointed by popular enclosures such as the SilverStone SG05, the guys teamed up last year to design their...
Although most of the attention Xi3 received during CES came courtesy of its Valve-funded Piston PC, the company also unveiled a nifty palm-sized computer late last week that's only just now cropping up in the enthusiast press. The Z3ro is said to be the company's smallest...
Although we hold the HAF 932 and HAF X with high regard, there's no denying what could be viewed as a major shortcoming: they're massive. Full tower enclosures provide plenty of elbowroom to work with, but they're also a hassle when it comes to attending LAN parties...