How can you make a small form factor (SFF) PC unique enough to grab consumers' attention? There are three key aspects that define a SFF PC: internal hardware, size, and thermal/acoustic performance. The Trident 3 Arctic is MSI's attempt at striking that perfect balance.
The Corsair One is the ultimate compact gaming PC. I've looked at several pre-built small form factor systems over the years, and none are as well built or as powerful as this Corsair system. If you have the money and you'd rather not build your own system, the One is genuinely the leading contender on the market.
"Pre-Built" and "Small Form Factor PC" are terms that can strike fear in the minds of hardcore PC gamers. Pre-built systems don't necessarily put quality or performance over costs, while small form factor PCs don't always get high end GPU options or efficient cooling. Origin's Chronos breaks those stereotypes with top-of-the-line, name brand components in a tiny chassis.
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.