Small Form Factor "Gaming" PC Thread (AKA HTPC)

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Bomblord

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
5,039
Really? Even at a solid frame rate? :O

Recommendations would be much appreciated!
Uhh sure just grab a 4th gen or newer Dell Optiplex Mini with an i5 or better in it. Lenovo Thinkcentre Tiny also is an option again 4th gen i5 or newer. Here's an example, here's another one. HP also makes a version like it but I've heard bad things about thermals in those. Don't expect to do more than 2x res on Gamecube with those particular models though.

Here's a nicer model for a bit more
 
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FinKL

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,499
I've seen cases like that where you have to provide your own Pico Power Supply/converter for a laptop power supply and it's always scared me off. 90% of that is the price (Pico Power supply and a relevant charger adds up) but also I'm worried about voltages or something not matching up (which seems unlikely) and frying components or not providing enough power.
I'm with ya there, but I really wanted to push the envelope of these tiny machines, but I also get scared something will fry. Guess I'll look for a SFX Powersupply mini itx case. It's not like it adds that much more weight/size.

Waiting for these Ryzen 4000 APU's, I know the laptop version comes out Q1 2020. so I imagine mid 2020 we'll get news
 
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Bomblord

Bomblord

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Jan 11, 2018
5,039
I'm with ya there, but I really wanted to push the envelope of these tiny machines, but I also get scared something will fry. Guess I'll look for a SFX Powersupply mini itx case. It's not like it adds that much more weight/size.

Waiting for these Ryzen 4000 APU's, I know the laptop version comes out Q1 2020. so I imagine mid 2020 we'll get news
The laptop component schedule seems disconnected from the desktop space when it comes to AMD. The 4000 series laptop stuff looks awesome but I don't think it's proof they're close to a refresh in the desktop space.
 

Kiyoshi

Member
Apr 4, 2018
29
While it's probably not small enough to really fit the discussion here... what I've been wanting is an HTPC-style Micro-ATX case, but there's hardly anything out there. Just two old Silverstone models and that's it. There are a bunch of Micro-ATX towers of varying sizes, and a handful of shoebox and cube cases, but haven't really settled on any of these.

The Aerocool Playa Slim is kind of interesting, as a very small Micro-ATX case (~11L), though only fits low-profile GPUs. There are finally a handful of low-profile GTX 1650's out there (better than a 1050 ti, worse than an RX 570).

So I'll probably end up going with a small tower (or sticking with an old ATX case I've already got), which is easier for building, but not exactly media center friendly.
I had similar thinking, and couldn't settle for ages. In the end (after over a year of planning a build on-and-off) I went for a Silverstone GD09. I'm not sure if this qualifies as SFF, but I wanted the HTPC profile but with the ability to use an ATX PSU and a m-ATX motherboard.



It's currently hosting a Ryzen 2700x with a Noctua NH-U9S which has an upright profile that doesn't cover RAM slots and is short enough to fit inside the case. It's like a miniature version of their popular coolers used in full size builds, and it's wonderful. My CPU temps are lot lower than the Wraith Prism (which itself wasn't bad) and it's a lot quieter when the fans ramp up. I'm seriously impressed.

For the GPU I'm currently using a Zotac 1070 Mini. I previously had a larger MSI 1070 card which didn't fit in the case (it was too tall) so I switched to one that just about fits. I'm looking at a GPU upgrade in the near future, and I have to be careful I choose the right one.

Here's what it looks like inside...



Here's how it looks in the TV cabinet. PS4 Pro is on the right, for size comparisons. It is still quite large, but fits nicely...

 

Burny

Member
Oct 26, 2017
342
...I went for a Silverstone GD09. I'm not sure if this qualifies as SFF,
...
Here's what it looks like inside...

😂 That's a grownup PC tower lying down - definitely nowhere near "small form factor".

I'm running a similar setup with a HTPC next to my AVR and center speaker, only in a Lian Li PC-C60B case:



That said, I'd love to eventually build a real SFF PC. Since this large case is already integrated into the living room however, there's no real need to. But i still find the notion of a full blown gaming PC in something as compact as a Dan case very appealing.
 
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Kiyoshi

Member
Apr 4, 2018
29
😂 That's a grownup PC tower lying down - definitely nowhere near "small form factor".

I'm running a similar setup with a HTPC next to my AVR and center speaker, only in a Lian Li PC69B case:


That said, I'd love to eventually build a real SFF PC. Since this large case is already integrated into the living room however, there's no real need to. But i still find the notion of a full blown gaming PC in something as compact as a Dan case very appealing.

Yep, definitely not SFF but hopefully still relevant for discussion in the thread :D Thinking back, my original intention was to go for proper SFF but couldn't quite go that far considering I do have the space for the mATX HTPC style one. Maybe in future :)
 

Cheeky Devlin

Member
Oct 31, 2017
123
I followed this build a year ago and it cost me just under £170.


I've been very impressed with it and it works great as a living room PC, especially with a frontend such as Launchbox on it.

Emulation wise it handles everything up to Citra (3DS) really well and I've even managed to get some Cemu (Wii U) out of it, but it has some crash issues. Dolphin (GC/Wii) and PCSX2 (PS2) run really well at high resolutions.

I did go on and add some additional RAM which helped a bit and I recently picked up a Steam Controller when they were getting rid of them.

Well worth a look.

PC Games wise it seems to handle AAA stuff up to around the end of the 360/PS3 era with no issues.
 

Ganondolf

Member
Jan 5, 2018
492
I have a Node 202 case which I really like as it fits in my entertainment unit but cpu cooling is an issue. I was thinking of changing but not sure what will fit in the same entertainment unit space and give me better cooling options.
 

Shikari

Member
Nov 2, 2017
272
The Land of Abaya Babes
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Bomblord

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
5,039
I had similar thinking, and couldn't settle for ages. In the end (after over a year of planning a build on-and-off) I went for a Silverstone GD09. I'm not sure if this qualifies as SFF, but I wanted the HTPC profile but with the ability to use an ATX PSU and a m-ATX motherboard.



It's currently hosting a Ryzen 2700x with a Noctua NH-U9S which has an upright profile that doesn't cover RAM slots and is short enough to fit inside the case. It's like a miniature version of their popular coolers used in full size builds, and it's wonderful. My CPU temps are lot lower than the Wraith Prism (which itself wasn't bad) and it's a lot quieter when the fans ramp up. I'm seriously impressed.

For the GPU I'm currently using a Zotac 1070 Mini. I previously had a larger MSI 1070 card which didn't fit in the case (it was too tall) so I switched to one that just about fits. I'm looking at a GPU upgrade in the near future, and I have to be careful I choose the right one.

Here's what it looks like inside...



Here's how it looks in the TV cabinet. PS4 Pro is on the right, for size comparisons. It is still quite large, but fits nicely...

That's a chonker but technically an HTPC lol. Honestly looks like you could put a VHS tape in it what about that sytle of industrial design makes everything look like a 90's VCR?
 

exodus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,190
It's not particularly small for an ITX case, but I have a soft spot for the Phanteks Evolv Shift. It just looks so good horizontally and feels right at home in a home theater space.

 

exodus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,190
Another tip to anyone looking at a Node 202 build. Most people say the best CPU cooler you can get is the Scythe BIG Shuriken, it can be hard to find. I know I couldn't find it in Canada. Here's a tip: look at the Reeven Brontes RC-1001b. It's officially 2-3mm higher than the supported clearance of a Node 202 case, but it fits just fine. As a plus, the fan rests against the case and is assured to pull in fresh air and has no vibration whatsoever. It makes for one of the best, cheapest, and most silent cooling options for the Node 202. The only thing I will caution is to get an ITX motherboard with low profile VRM heatsinks (AsRock is usually good for this). Unfortunately I was stuck with a Gigabyte motherboard with massive VRM heatsinks so I need to run them bare, but they stay within thermal limits even under Prime 95.
 

ContraWars

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,197
Canada
I have a Node 202 with a SF450 PSU collecting dust.

I also have a spare blue LED Sapphire Nitro+ RX 580 8GB kicking around.

I need to pick ITX board/APU/Ram/storage for it, but I wonder if the GPU would also fit in there and cook me breakfast.
 

JayCeeJim

Member
Jan 3, 2019
150
I have been an HTPC user for more than 10 years and it is wonderful. But add me to the list of those that prefer to stick to micro/ATX and ATX PSU. It's much cheaper, more flexible, cooler, and easier to build and manipulate.

And unless you are extremely short on physical space, there are really good case options that are not that big and look really stylish/discreet. In both horizontal and tower form factor.

Like the Cooltek Coolcube Maxi:



Or the Silverstone ML04:

 

Nzyme32

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,391
How was your experience with the RVZ02's thermals/noise? I've had the case lying around for a while but didn't yet get a hold of all the SFF components needed to get it up and running.

GPU was great, thermals still high at idle, around 45 to 55C, but very good underload, maybe hitting 70C.

Thermals with no load were high for the CPU, around 45 up to 50C. Under load that could go as high as 80, maybe 90 if the filter wasn't cleaned (if you got the filter version like I did). It never throttled though, as the CPU cooler I got, handled it well - it is noisy though when underload most of all. Also noisy at idle, though with a good fan curve, its no problem.
Dust filter is a bit annoying to clean due to the design, but I am always happy to have filters.

I used this Noctua CPU cooler, it JUST fits in the case with the clearance, and did perform better than the low clearance Noctua heat since that is super popular


Worth noting - I was using high end powerful and hot components though - i5-8600k, GTX 1060 at the time, 16gb RAM etc

In the end though, the noise was one of the main factors for me changing up, and the long boi shape was not ideal enough for me.

If you are in the UK, I do still have the case doing nothing, so would be happy to sell. Got the original box and all the screws etc.
I did modify the case to remove the slim disc drive screw pole, so I could fit an extra 3.5inch HDD.
 
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Shikari

Member
Nov 2, 2017
272
The Land of Abaya Babes
Nzyme32 thanks for the detailed reply. I've got the case (filter version here as well), but it's good to know the 65mm Noctua cooler will fit. Was originally considering an i7-9700/RTX 2080 build, but now I'm not sure if that's the way to go, given the CPU load temps you mentioned. I can live with the noise, but an i5 hitting 80-90C doesn't bode well for an i7. May have to stick to my old tower case.
 

Atolm

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,314
So with my main rig pretty much getting no heavy use I decided to jump the gun and buy a preconfigured SFF from China, to use it with lower end games, Retroarch and Kodi. There's huge market there in that country for those.

It has a hexacore i7 9750h (which probably isn't very far away in performance from my 6700k 4,6Ghz lol) and a dedicated 1650 card and I really like the form factor. Take a look:


It comes with external power brick so I'm not too worried about thermals. Will post impressions.
 
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Bomblord

Bomblord

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Jan 11, 2018
5,039
Lenovo just put up the M75Q with Ryzen 3/5 3400/3200GE CPU's in the them



So with my main rig pretty much getting no heavy use I decided to jump the gun and buy a preconfigured SFF from China, to use it with lower end games, Retroarch and Kodi. There's huge market there in that country for those.

It has a hexacore i7 9750h (which probably isn't very far away in performance from my 6700k 4,6Ghz lol) and a dedicated 1650 card and I really like the form factor. Take a look:


It comes with external power brick so I'm not too worried about thermals. Will post impressions.
I like the look I'm looking forward to impressions.