- Jan 11, 2018
Greetings Resetera, I have something to report. There is a lack of information regarding small form factor PC's on this forum and seemingly the internet at large despite me (and as I've noticed several others) having an interest in it. You can find scattered pockets of interested people all over the place and they have questions but very few have the answers. I think having a small stylish computer in your entertainment center is
Alright, now that I have your attention. I've poured more hours into scouring websites for information about these danged things than I'm willing to admit. I've thought about a few ways to break this down but I think I'm going to do it by price and by type.
Also to lay down some ground rules for my listings (feel free to discuss things that are not this but I had to narrow my list somehow)
- Every listed option here meets a minimal level of gaming performance: Esports style games at a minimum 1080p locked 30 (Overwatch, CSGO, Rocket League, etc)
- No laptops and the like: That violates the aesthetic just as bad as a full sized tower.
- I'm not listing a case that can't be purchased new from a reputable source: There are lots of options for cases but the problem is most tend to be quickly discontinued after a short run.
- Max 10 liters
- No used stuff: used prices fluctuate and listing something today it can literally be gone or at a different price tomorrow
- No Intel integrated graphics
- All listed prices are at the time of writing if I find out a change it will be updated accordingly.
- All prices are USD
INWIN Chopin (no GPU slot) $80
Asrock Deskmini A300W (barebones includes A4 Socket (AMD) MOBO, Wifi, and external power no GPU slot) $150
Fractal Design Node 202 (full sized GPU's) $80
Velkase 3 (Supports "half" width GPU's) $80
The budget category. Don't expect anything incredible out of this but at the same time 720p low should be achievable in most games.
ASRock AMD Ryzen Embedded CPU
Hp Pro/EliteDesk (Ryzen)
Lenovo Thinkcentre Tiny (Ryzen)
There are actually some nice options in this range
Intel Nuc Mainstream G (Radeon Mobile GPU barebones)
Hp Pro/EliteDesk (with DGPU)
Lenovo Thinkcentre Tiny (with DGPU)
Zotak MAGNUS EK3105T (barebones needs ram and hdd)
HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation (Nvidia Quadro P600)
"High end" expect to play most games at least medium-high at 1080p 60 or better
Intel Nuc Extreme
Zotak Magnus EN72070V
Zotac MEK MINI
HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation (Nvidia Quadro P1000)
New Intel Compute Unit PC's (Razer, NUC, etc)
Alienware UFO? (As this is a concept a proper docking solution may sway me to include this)
Zotac Zbox Nano (Ryzen)
Feel free to let me know anything that I missed!
Q: What do you consider "small form factor"
A: It's a broad category but I think anything "console sized" or smaller that fits in an entertainment center comfortably. If you want a hard number the Sentry 2.0 at 12L and about about as large as I'm willing to call "small"
Q: Why don't you just put a full sized PC in your entertainment center?
A: What kind of entertainment center do you own oh strawman? Really though, I have seen something akin to this and many people myself included find placing a full sized PC next to our entertainment center at best garish and at worst a horrible tripping hazard. If you can work your full sized desktop into your living room setup more power to you.
Q: Is there really a "tiny PC tax"
A: There isn't a literal tax on it but yes, and it's awful. The smaller the case the more they seem to charge for it and the components that fit in it.
Note: I intend to update every one of these suggestions with specs, price, and a general idea of performance. However, it's going to take a while to properly profile all of these going only off of information available on the internet.
Edit: Done with pictures, prices, and links next going to add spec run down and to come up with workable builds for the cases.