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.

Valve’s Steam Machine was all the rage at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, but as we enter 2015, the SteamOS gaming platform (and Valve’s tantalizing Steam Controller) are still works in progress. SteamOS hasn’t been written off, but Dell, which was one of the first PC makers to build a custom console-sized system for SteamOS... Read more...
We first caught wind on the Alienware Alpha in the lead-up to Valve’s Steam Box announcements, prior to the Consumer Electronics Show. If you’re unfamiliar with the Alienware Alpha, it is a sleek, small form factor gaming PC, designed specifically for gamers. Valve is not quite ready with Steam OS or the Steam Controller, so the whole Steam Read more...
When Valve initially revealed its partners for the company’s Steam Machine, Alienware was one of the first on board. However, since the Steam Machine was delayed, Alienware decided to go ahead and re-package the device. Called the Alienware Alpha, the company has started shipping the device out to consumers who pre-ordered the PC console. The Read more...
Until such time as Valve gets its ducks in a row, those of us who want a console-like Steam experience are sticking with DIY PCs, Big Picture mode and a third-party controller. Digital Storm, however, thinks it has a killer system for your living room Big Picture setup (or for use as your main gaming rig if you’re a mouse and... Read more...
The small form factor market has seen a ton of innovation as of late, and while it’s quite nice to have so many tiny PC options that offer generally impressive performance in a package that you can stick just about anywhere (often with price tags that make these machines affordable enough as your second PC), system builders need... Read more...
These are the days of form factors. The PC market is changing rapidly as tablets supplant some laptops, new players such as the Chromebook disrupt the old WIntel model, and innovations in processors and graphics allow for ever-smaller PCs such as Intel’s NUC. Here’s a new one for you: a tiny NUC-style PC that doubles as a video... Read more...
Mini PCs are big business these days, whether you consider devices like Valve's Steambox initiative, ASUS' Chromebox, Zotac's ZBox line or Intel's own NUC (Next Unit of Computing) mini PC. In fact, Intel has gone on record, projecting mini PCs like this have shipped over a million units in 2013 and are projected for strong growth this... Read more...
Google's Chrome OS is an open source operating system that is designed to offer fast, simple, and secure computing for connected devices.  That's not to say the Chrome operating system can't function offline, but connected to the cloud is where users can harness the full power of Google's cloud services and storage infrastructure. ... Read more...
We’ve been hankering to test out one of CyberPowerPC’s new Zeus Mini SFF gaming desktop models ever since we got some hands on time with it at CES, so we were happy to unpack the black and neon green Zeus Mini-I 780 that CyberPowerPC sent us this week. Small form factor (SFF) PCs are something of a trend these days, and frankly,... Read more...
Falcon Northwest is a big name in a very niche market of luxury PCs. The company is known for special touches like custom cases (think FragBox) and mind-blowing, artist-rendered panel images. The company has also built the rest of its reputation on blazing PC performance. Falcon Northwest recently shipped its Tiki to take on the other small... Read more...
If you're a proponent of the desktop, don't worry, the sky isn't falling on your form factor. Yes, we've read the same reports you have, the ones pointing out how traditional PC sales are shrinking in the wake of a mobile revolution that has consumers turning to tablets and smartphones for surfing the web and logging into Facebook. There's... Read more...
Zotac has been making ultra-small form factor systems for quite a while now. You can check out a number of our reviews of various ZBox systems right here. If you read those previous reviews, you’ll notice that most of the systems have been built around low-power platforms like AMD’s E-Series APUs or Intel’s Atom processors.... Read more...
Remember the Twilight Zone episode in which a race of 9-foot aliens descended upon Earth with seemingly benign intentions? They shared advanced technologies with the human race and appeared to live by a code outlined in a book that U.S. government cryptographers figured out was titled, "To Serve Man." The horrifying reveal at the end of the... Read more...
Building a small form factor gaming PC is a tricky business. For one thing, there simply isn’t enough room to fit as many components as you would put in a mid- or full-size gaming PC. Multiple graphics cards aren’t likely, and oversized power supplies (not to mention CPU heatsinks) usually present major challenges. The other issue... Read more...
There’s a lot to love about a mini-ITX gaming PC. Portability is a big draw, of course: carrying your computer through the parking lot to a LAN party is much easier if it happens to be an SFF system. Reclaiming desk space is another reason to go small. And some of us just take a lot of pleasure in knowing that our tiny, unassuming PC... Read more...
Custom PC makers are getting increasingly creative, particularly with small form factor gaming systems. There was a time when the lion's share of the sexiest gaming rigs consisted of high-end components mounted in large, gaudy (but fun) chassis with lots of lights, killer paint jobs, and perhaps a wild mass of liquid cooling tubes... 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... Read more...
Gaming PCs come in all shapes and sizes, but the small form factor gaming rig is not one that you see all that often. When it comes to tablets, notebooks and small form factor PCs, “thin and light” may indicate the latest and greatest in design and mobile components, but when it comes to gaming, a lithe chassis can be indicative... Read more...
Notebook makers aren't the only ones trying to cram big performance parts into little form factors. Desktop system builders are attempting the same thing, and if you require proof, all the evidence you need is packed inside Maingear's Potenza Super Stock (SS) gaming PC. Built around the mini-ITX form factor, the Potenza SS is a small form... Read more...
In addition to building graphics cards, Zotac is one of only a handful companies to fully embrace small form factor and home theater systems. Whether you want to build something yourself from the ground up, quickly assemble a barebones rig, or pick up a fully built HTPC, Zotac has you covered. The company offers a wide array of mini-ITX motherboards... Read more...
A new era of home entertainment is upon us. If you think about how you watch TV today versus 10 or even five years ago, it's probably a completely different experience. Nearly everything is served up in high definition, digital video recorders (DVRs) are now the norm and not the exception, and streaming services are making a big push to be... Read more...
Dell's enthusiast gaming PC division has built a legacy on designing over-the-top desktops and notebooks, that push the boundaries of performance and style with an unmistakable design flair.  We've been pretty impressed with the Alienware systems we've looked at thus far, and though they tend to run a premium in terms of price, performance... Read more...
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