Most people would never build their own small form factor PC, fill it with high-end hardware, liquid-cool it, then overclock it. Luckily, we’re not most people
The Mission The interest in small form factor (SFF) computing seems to have reached a fever pitch over the past few months, but boutique system builders tell us they’ve been selling an S-load of them for some time now. The reason for their popularity is not hard to understand—they pack all the firepower of a full-sized ATX machine but take up half the space due to clever engineering. It takes equally clever building to fit a full-sized video card, an internal power supply, storage devices, and even liquid cooling into such a tiny box. That's no small feat, and to be honest, it sounded like just the kind of challenge that we wanted to take on for Build It. The problem is, the micro-tower form factor hasn't been around very long, so it still has some kinks to work out. We've worked with several of these systems over the past few months, and the degree of usability varies quite a bit. However, Silverstone recently announced the Raven RVZ01, a case that seems to have the ease-of-use that we like; plus, the company has demo'd the chassis using a liquid-cooling system, which we found downright nifty. All we had to do was get our hands on one and go to work.
Note: This article was originally featured in the April 2014 issue of the magazine.
Boutique system builder Origin PC yesterday announced the availability of Nvidia's mighty GeForce GTX Titan Z inside its Chronos line of small form factor and micro tower PCs, which the company is promoting as the world's smallest 4K gaming system. We had to take a look for ourselves, so Online Managing Editor Jimmy Thang made his way to Origin PC's booth at E3 for a video interview. Take a look.
Sequels aren't easy to make, but Digital Storm has just uped the ante with its second revision of the Bolt micro tower. The Bolt II takes a big step forward with the addition of a closed-loop liquid cooler to reduce noise and to allow for a healthy overclock. In the video below, Gordon Mah Ung kicks the tires and gives you the details of the micro tower monster.
Silverstone's RVZ01 is now a case option in Origin PC's Chronos line
Boutique builder Origin PC has expanded its small form factor (SFF) case options for its Chronos desktop line to include the Silverstone RVZ01, a micro tower chassis measuring 4 inches (W) by 15 inches (H) by 13.75 inches (D). Origin PC doesn't make any references to Steam Machines with its new case option, though with its slim profile and ability to sit horizontally or vertically, it's certainly a candidate to take residence in your home A/V rack.
The Steam Machines may not be here yet, but these small form factor PCs may be the next best thing
Ask a civvie what a gaming PC is and they’ll say it's a machine slightly smaller than an HVAC system that breathes fire. That, gentle readers, is no longer the case. Alienware planted the seeds of a revolution with its first X51 by shoehorning a real GPU into a machine the size of a VCR. And in the year-and-change since then, interest in micro-towers has exploded (partly due to the looming Steam Machines, no doubt).
Note: This Article was originally featured in the November 2013 issue of the magazine.