Small Form Factor PC Reviews And News

Palm sized or pint sized, PCs are getting smaller, more powerful and more capable. Micro ATX motherboards and mini ITX motherboards for X86 processors, as well as tiny single board computers that run Linux and other open source operating systems, can deliver powerful computing experiences and great performance per square millimeter. Here are the mighty mites.

Intel has embraced small form factor systems for many years. Whether it be high-end mini-PCs like the Hades Canyon NUC, complete with discrete graphics for gamers, or ultra-tiny devices like the Compute Card, Intel has consistently pushed small form factor markets forward, for just about as long as ‘performance per watt’ has been a thing. The Hades Canyon NUC and Compute Card target some rather niche markets, however. For more mainstream, everyday computing applications, Intel’s standard 4"x4” NUC (Next Unit of Computing) systems are much more apropos, and the Intel NUC8i7BEH we’ll be showing you here may just be the best all-around unit yet. The Intel NUC8i7BEH... Read more...
The Intel NUC8i7HVK, codenamed Hades Canyon, is an interesting product for a number of reasons. First, because it’s the most powerful NUC released to date and packs more I/O and connectivity than any of Intel’s previous mini-machines. It also has user-configurable lighting and activity LEDs and an aggressive design-language that looks great, in our opinion. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Intel NUC8i7HVK, however, is that it’s powered by an Intel 8th Generation Core processor with integrated Radeon RX Vega M graphics. More specifically, the NUC8i7HVK is packing a Core i7-8809G with a Radeon RX Vega M GH GPU and 4GB of HBM2 memory, linked together on a single package... Read more...
Intel's first generation Compute Stick turned quite a few heads, including ours, as it was a remarkable thing to consider that a fully functioning PC could be crammed onto a device roughly the size of a bloated USB flash drive. It wasn't especially powerful—Intel pairing an Atom processor based on its Bay Trail-T platform with just 2GB of single-channel RAM and 32GB of onboard storage—but for $149 with Windows pre-installed (or $99 with Ubuntu) it was an intriguing device that could turn any HDMI-equipped display into a full-fledged PC. Knowing that it was on to something, Intel updated its Compute Stick in early 2016 to a version featuring its Cherry Trail Atom platform, faster Wi-Fi connectivity,... Read more...
Intel's successful line of NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PCs have done well for the company, for various use cases where an ultra-small form factor computer might come in handy. In areas where a PC either needs to stay out of sight, blend in with its surroundings or squeeze in places where other, larger computers just couldn't go, a NUC can make a lot of sense. Tiny boxes like the Intel NUC5i5RYK can pack a fair amount of CPU horsepower in their petite, silver 4.5-inch frames, but some users still want more juice and beefier graphics for heavier gaming and content creation workloads.Fortunately, Intel's process technology and CPU architecture marched on at its typical relentless pace and... Read more...
We dug the original Intel Compute Stick that launched last year. If you recall, the original Compute Stick was a tiny, Atom-powered device that could turn any HDMI-equipped display into a basic PC. The low-power nature of the Compute Stick meant it was ideally suited for every-day, less-demanding computing tasks, and wasn’t a replacement for a full-on PC or notebook, but it was a relatively capable device given its ultra-small form factor.The original Compute Stick wasn’t without its issues, though. Last year’s model featured dated 802.11n wireless connectivity built in and had only a single USB port, which meant using a hub and/or dongles, should you want to connect multiple peripherals to the... Read more...
In addition to ushering in a tidal wave of new notebooks and mobile devices, Intel’s Broadwell microarchitecture has also found its way into a plethora of recently introduced small form factor systems. We have already taken a look at a couple of them, like the excellent Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK and Gigabyte Brix S BXi7H-5500.The low-power characteristics of Broadwell simply make it well suited to the tight spaces and constrained thermal envelopes of small form factor systems. But another side benefit of Broadwell is that it also allows manufacturers to cram higher performing parts into the same (or smaller) spaces than previous-gen, Haswell-based parts.Take the Intel NUC5i7RYH we’re going to show... Read more...
We first got an official look at the Intel Compute Stick earlier this year, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In one of those “But wait! There’s more!” kind of moments common at trade shows, one of the good folks at Intel that was previously showing off a few upcoming NUC systems pulled a tiny device from his shirt pocket and revealed the diminutive Compute Stick. If you’re unfamiliar with the Intel Compute Stick, it’s essentially a fully-functional, low-power, Atom-based system—with memory, storage, and an OS--crammed into a form factor not much bigger than a large flash drive. Though Intel has had their hand in similar devices like the MeeGoPad... Read more...
Intel just wrapped up an event at a location adjacent to the Game Developers Conference where the company talked about its vision for the future of gaming, and how Intel plans to further support the industry. Intel discussed some updates to its 5th Gen Core processor line-up, Intel graphics developments, the Intel Hardware SDK, and its various game developer tools. Some walk-on guest were also brought out to discuss a few new partnership announcements and programs designed to bring more diversity to gaming and the game industry.Pete Baker, Vice President in Intel’s Software and Services Group opened things up with some high-level perspective on past products and Intel’s outlook on the future.... Read more...
As Intel (and other chip makers) have been able to shrink its processors, integrate more features, and reduce power requirements over the years, manufacturers have been able to fit them into smaller and smaller form factors. That means notebooks and tablets have gotten thinner, lighter, faster and more portable over the years, of course, but it also means that desktop systems no longer need to be big boxes crammed with numerous components and cooling hardware. In some ways, Intel’s NUC series of products are the epitome of this dynamic. Intel’s NUC systems are ultra-small form factor systems that pack almost all of the features of a full sized desktop, but with minimal expansion options. Intel... Read more...
Intel is readying its latest generation of NUC small form factor systems, based on the company’s recently-released Broadwell-U processors. We got our hands on a Core i5-powered version dubbed the NUC5i5RYK. To be more specific, this little machine is packing a Core i5-5250U processor with on-die Intel HD 6000 series graphics. The system also sports built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, M.2 SSD support, and a host of other features. We’re still readying our full review, but in the meantime we thought you’d like to take a peek at the diminutive Intel NUC5i5RYK to get a sense of what the system can do. As you’ll see, not only is the machine nice and small, but it packs... Read more...
Let's dispense with an emerging myth right now: The desktop isn't dead. Far from it. Rather, the desktop is evolving, and this is an exciting time to be a technophile. The advancements we've seen in just the past 12 months are nothing short of remarkable. Solid state drives (SSDs) are getting faster and cheaper, finally making for a viable alternative to the mechanical hard drive that has ruled the desktop for so long. Memory kits are bigger than ever, USB 3.0 is now commonplace, and architectures like Intel's Ivy Bridge have taken processor and integrated graphics performance to whole new levels. These and other advancements are what make Intel's latest desktop evolution possible. The "Intel... Read more...
The Iwill XP4-G Mini-PC Iwill Enters the SFF Fray... By, Marco Chiappetta June 25, 2003 Small Form Factor, or SFF PCs have been getting a ton of press lately.  In late 2001 Shuttle introduced their SV24, and from then on the market has simply exploded.  Now, a myriad of different OEMs offer mini-PCs that cater to a wide variety of users.  Shuttle has delivered SFF systems for business users (SB52G2) or the performance enthusiast (SB61G2).  MSI has audiophiles covered with their MEGA PC.  Each one of these systems, and many others, offer specific features that are designed to please a specific target audience.  In general, the trend has been to cram as many features... Read more...