Cougar on Monday announced the arrival of its QBX, the "most advanced compact gaming case" around. According to Cougar, there are three reasons the QBX stands out from the crowd. The first is its compact dimensions -- the small form factor (SFF) chassis measures 178 (W) x 260 (H) x 368 (D) millimeters, or 7 (W) x 10.2 (H) x 14.5 (D) inches and can only swallow up mini-ITX motherboards.
Shuttle's been a player in the small form factor (SFF) space ever since our cave dwelling ancestors first discovered the PC, which back then was made out of stone and dinosaur bones (this is why we don't teach history, folks). Fast forward to today and Shuttle is still making SFF systems, its latest creation the DS57U, the company's first mini barebones PC with a built-in Broadwell processor.
One thing I've noticed over the last few months is an increased focus on mini ITX builds. New cases like In Win's funky D-Frame Mini and Corsair's LAN-friendly Graphite Series 380T underscore a growing desire to build high-end systems with smaller footprints, but what about the parts that go inside them? It's mostly an issue with graphics cards, and while some mini ITX cases can accept full-length cards, others don't have the space. For those that fall into the latter category, Asus just expanded its mini ITX graphics card line with a shortened version of the GeForce GTX 960.
Small form factor PCs are sexy, especially when you’ve got sexy specs like Falcon Northwest’s Tiki Z. In the video below, Gordon walks you through the Tiki Z’s components which include Nvidia’s Titan Z. That’s right, you’ve essentially got two Titan Blacks crammed into a PC the size of a console. If that weren’t enough, it also has a 600-watt PSU, 4TB HDD, 2 SSDs in RAID 0, an overclocked Devil’s Canyon CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a Blu-ray burner.
In days gone by, deciding between high end components and a space saving configuration was a delicate balancing act with compromises made along the way. Things are different today. Hardware has evolved, and it's now possible to build a potent system inside a smaller size case. Velocity Micro's custom designed MX3 chassis is one such example of a compact case that can handle full size components, and it's now available from the boutique builder as a configuration option.
Maingear first introduced its Spark system back in January during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas. At the time, the Spark was supposed to be Maingear's eventual Steam Machine. Valve threw a wrench in those plans by delaying the whole Steam Machine initiative until next year, but it hasn't stopped Maingear from forging ahead in the small form factor gaming department. On the contrary, Maingear just launched its Spark gaming system to the pubilc.
Configure a custom mini ITX system with a full size videocard
It's often said that big things come in small packages, and to prove it, CyberPowerPC is encouraging consumers to try out its new custom SFF Configurator. This allows customers to choose from what CyberPowerPC claims is a "carefully selected menu of high-end components" to piece together the ultimate mini-ITX gaming machine. And with the back-to-school season not too far off in the future, these space saving systems would fit nicely in a dorm room.
Xi3 may have found a willing partner in the SFF space
There was quite a bit of mystery and intrigue surrounding Xi3 Corporation's Piston PC at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) two years ago, not to mention confusion over whether or not it would become Valve's rumored (at the time) Steam Box. It wasn't mean to be -- Valve has since launched a Steam Machine initiative, but Xi3 hasn't given up on SFF systems. Instead, Xi3 has partnered with Intel to build and sell next-generation "Micro-Mini PCs," which will include Intel's NUC line, the company announced today.
We've seen our share of suitcases over the years, but they're usually packed full of clothes and other essentials for travel. What if your destination is a LAN party in the next town over? If that's where you're traveling, it's not a traditional suitcase you need, but perhaps one that's filled with gaming hardware. Such a thing exists -- CyberPowerPC's Fang Battlebox is now available in a variety of configuration options.