One of my earliest gaming memories involves trading illegal goods, hunting down pirates, mining asteroids and generally gallivanting around the galaxy as the intrepid Commander Jameson in the Amiga version of Elite. Unfortunately, the Amiga was killed off soon afterwards -- or so we thought. It turns out that the Amiga brand, kind of like Cthulu, was just biding its time. Commodore USA just announced it's releasing a new small form factor PC sporting the Amiga name, but packing a much, much bigger punch than its predecessor.
Zotac's ZBOX line of itty bitty mini-PCs must be doing well; new models have been popping up on what seems like a biweekly basis. Nothing changed at CeBIT! Zotac spent its time at the German tech conference showing off three new ZBOX mini-PCs announced earlier this week -- one standard-sized Sandy Bridge-sporting model, another ZBOX nano offering, and a third with a Blu-ray drive.
After the whole brouhaha over the cryptic “PC Gaming Is Not Dead” website, Razer’s big secret – as we told you back in August – was the Razer Blade gaming laptop, a 17-inch notebook with a i7-2640M dual-core 2.8GHz CPU, 8GB of memory, and an NVIDIA 555M discrete GPU. Now, reports say they have a bunch of little secrets in the works, too, in the form of smaller, more portable PCs.
It has long been considered common wisdom that the smaller the size of a PC, the greater its compromises. Notebooks, no matter how fat, for example, will never touch the power of a desktop machine.
The same held true for small form factor rigs. But is that still the case? To find out how today’s SFF rigs compare with their full-size desktop brethren, we tasked five top PC makers with sending us their best and brightest, and, well, smallest machines.
The Origin Chronos was an early bet on which system would be the fastest here, as we’ve seen what other vendors can do in Silverstone’s fabulous FT03 case.
Despite it having the same volume as the AVADirect and iBuypower machines, the FT03 occupies a smaller footprint than all others here, including the CyberPower LAN Party Evo, yet it accommodates an incredible amount of hardware.
If you stopped a nerd in an electronics store and asked her to describe a small form factor PC, she’d just pull up a picture of CyberPower’s LAN Party Evo on her smartphone.
In many ways, this is the ultimate evolution of the original SFF design. The LAN Party Evo isn’t much bigger than the original SFFs of yesteryear, but peep these specs: a 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K, a GeForce GTX 580 card, a 120GB Intel 510 SSD, and 1TB hard drive.
For our shoot-out, AVADirect came loaded for bear… as well as grabboid, sandworm, and arachnid, too. Yeah, basically AVADirect enters the scene packing a cartoonish amount of hardware firepower.
In what arguably pushes the definition of a small form factor rig, AVADirect’s Compact Gaming PC sports an Intel 3.46GHz Core i7-990X, 12GB of DDR3/1600, and two of AMD’s Radeon HD 6990 cards in CrossFireX mode.
Falcon Northwest’s FragBox is no new face around here. We’ve seen various iterations of this SFF over the years, but the latest is perhaps the most impressive. In a chassis that’s the second-smallest of the bunch—just slightly larger than CyberPower’s LAN Party Evo—Falcon manages to jam in not one, but two GeForce GTX 580 cards, along with a 3.4GHz Core i7-2600K overclocked to 4.2GHz.