In case you haven’t noticed, the PC is getting smaller. But it’s not getting smaller in the way the PC fatalists see it. If anything, enthusiast PCs have gotten larger. Witness Corsair’s 900D, Cooler Master’s Cosmos SE, and Digital Storm’s Aventum II.
Note: This feature was originally featured in the March 2014 issue of the magazine.
We know the Radeon R9 290X can go head-to-head with a GTX Titan, but can this extra-long, hot-running GPU hang in a small form factor chassis like a Titan can?
For a while now, we’ve considered doing another Build It with a "shoebox" case like the Silverstone Sugo SG08 we used in the June 2013 issue. If you recall, we wedged Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan into a mini-ITX system, and it provided a surprising amount of firepower to a system that was remarkably small. The Titan is able to hang in a tiny chassis due to Kepler’s efficiency, making it highly effective in close quarters. Fast forward to the present, and AMD has released the Radeon R9 290X, which performs about as well as a Titan but costs around $550—nearly half the price. However, the R9 290X runs a bit hot under the collar, typically at 94 C, and is a half-inch longer than the Titan, as well. Though it’s certainly competitive with Titan in benchmarks, we wondered whether the R9 290X can withstand the rigors of a small form factor build. To find out, we stuffed it into a new shoebox chassis from Cooler Master, and added a new Corsair closed-loop cooler designed specifically for small enclosures. We added a modular power supply from Seasonic that is also designed for SFF builds, so this should be one badass box
Note: This article was originally featured in the February 2014 issue of the magazine.
Stealth.com Inc, manufacturer of computers and peripherals, has unveiled its new high-performance, small form factor PC designated LPC-630F. Taking some inspiration from Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) PC, the computer is quite small measuring 7.9x7.9x2.5-inches and features an aluminum chassis that also performs as the device’s heatsink by dissipating any heat build-up in the absence of cooling fans.
The unique $35 Raspberry Pi computer set the PC world on its ear last year. Part computer science project and part incredibly cheap PC, the DIY single-board computer is such a hot item, some retailers are charging double what the unit originally cost. Of course, where there’s money, there’s Intel. The chip giant has formally introduced its $320 “Next Unit of Computing,” or NUC, PC concept—basically a bare-bones, hobbyist kit PC. While this is admittedly an apple–to-orange comparison in many respects, we felt that hobbyists deserve to see an accounting of the pros and cons of each in a head-on fight.
Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
Intel and ARM go head-to-head in the small-PC arena
We got a review unit of Intel's tiny Next Unit of Computing(NUC) HTPC in the office and decided to compare it to the ever popular Raspberry Pi. While the unit is significantly larger and more expensive than the popular credit-card sized computer, the Next Unit of Computing is also much more powerful. It features a 17W Core i3-3217U 1.8GHz processor on a QS77 motherboard, four USB 2.0 ports, a thunderbolt port, and a HDMI port. The device supports up to 16GB of DDR3 laptop RAM and has PCI-e slots for a wireless card and m-SATA SSD.