The heat in a SFF is no higher than that of a larger case with the same components. The temperatures may be higher, but that's not given either: much depends on the cooling solution.
The mATX maximum specification for a board is 244mm², vs ITX's 170mm², 9.6" on a side vs 6.7" on a side. That's a lot smaller comparatively. Many cases nowadays are already trending to the omission of dedicated space for 3.5" drives and ODD (2.5" drives are super easy to find space for however), but just leaving the space empty or using it for more cooling options rather than reducing size. Additionally, the extra two to three PCIe slots provided by an mATX boards can be very useful yes, but generally are the reason why mATX boards AND cases are larger (Because they have to be), and unnecessary outside specific use add-on cards like a dedicated sound card, capture card, or in larger builds, a second graphics card if you so feel inclined, things that either can be replaced by a USB3/TB external box or just not needed.Is it necessary to go below matx for small form desktops? Now with M2 drives, maybe case designers should start by removing space for hdd/ssd before going immediately to mitx in order to reduce size.
They look great in stylish photos, such cool modern urban living and all that but at the end of the day they're more trouble than they're worth, from sourcing compatible components to having to deal with being on waiting lists for months because all the best SFF cases are from low volume, uber expensive kickstarter type projects.
I wouldn't necessarily say that long ago. Outside the Falcon Northwest Tiki in 2012 (only available at that boutique?) and then the first iteration of the Ncase N1 in 2014(?), there were very few mini SFF cases (I subscribe to the sub 20L definition) that were performance conscious before then, most being mini PC cases that offered at best half height, half length, or both for expansion slots. That was okay for you since you said you don't game with them, and actually okay for me too back then, since my first SFF build back in 2009 was also not for gaming. Since 2015 there have been a ton of gaming minded cases though, SFX PSUs became muuuuuch easier to source, and the mass adoption of 2.5" SSD and the addition of m.2 slots on motherboards has certainly helped reduce internal footprints.Yeah, closer to 8-10 years maybe?!
Thats is why many people never owned a PC in their life. A smartphone and laptop/tablet is all they ever use.A lot of the comments here are implying this is a new thing, (maybe it is to them), but MITX has been around for ages. I have 4 PCs, only 1 is a full size ATX tower, the rest are SFF ITX HTPCs, built many, many years ago. If you don't game, which I don't, then there is absolutely no need for a full size build.
Has the ITX tax come down comparable to cheap MATX? If not I will pass.
A laptop uses low-power components, and does not allow you to freely choose those components. It also comes with a screen and a clamshell, which in certain situations is undesirable.Nowadays, laptops tend to be just as small as an SFF... they’re often cheaper too... I have a laptop for when I want portability.