There is a lot to factor in before purchasing your personal computer. While a lightweight, all-in-one laptop might be the ultimate choice, it could be towed by poor battery life, cooling, and fixed constituents. Also, a complete desktop features effortless upgradability and offers raw performance, though it might not be suitable since it is bulky and immobile. With these two down, you`re left with one option, a Small Form Factor PC, that will provide you with the best from both products. This write-up will help you understand how to build a small form factor PC, and the items you`ll require in the process.
How to Build a Small Form Factor PC
Now that we`ve seen that an SFF PC is a reliable machine, it only makes sense that we take you through the process of building one. In this comprehensive guide, we take you through the items you`ll require, as well as the best products to use.
And without further ado, here`s how to goa bout small form factor PC building:
|Case||Cooler Master NR200||$69.00|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG B550-I||$229.99|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5600G||$258.97|
|CPU cooler||Noctua NH-L9a||$44.95|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance LPX||$73.99|
|PSU||Seasonic FOCUS SGX-500||$119.99|
The first component to begin looking for when building an SFF PC is a small form factor pc case. Thoroughly go through the specs on the ITX case before purchasing. The specifications include information like GPU length, CPU cooler, and PSU compatibility. The GPU and CPU aspects are essential since they might be the most restricting variables in your project.
For this build, we chose the Cooler Master NR200 SFF PC case among many good SFF mini itx cases out there. because of the features it offers in this budget.View On Amazon
Here are the features it comes with:
- Five ventilated panels made of steel for durability and unlimited aeration
- It holds a maximum of 7 fans for unrestricted airflow. Besides, it can fit CPU coolers of up to 280mm in height.
- It is compatible with 3-slot GPUs with a length of up to 300mm and 156mm width.
- The 360-degree accessibility allows you to dismantle it to give you room for advanced disassembly and a 360-degree view.
- The top-quality materials it is made using, ensure durability and sturdiness. Also, they prevent disfiguring during transportation.
- Customized cooling support, including two pump positions and a bottom and side radiator placing locations, gives room for potent, water-cooled builds in this small enclosure.
- Lastly, all the outer panels are fitted with pins for effortless removal, allowing for easy access to the interior without utilizing any tools.
Upon choosing your case, you can now better understand the motherboard you`ll need. This is because the motherboard size is significantly dependent on the size of the case you`re using. With the Cooler Master NR200, there is a wide array of motherboard options. They come in various configurations. Many provide a wide range of features regardless of their small surface area and can still offer all the features necessary for a functional SFF PC.View On Amazon
One of the suitable motherboards to use with the Cooler master NR200 is the ASUS ROG Strix B550-I. Here are the features it comes with:
- PCIe 4.0 & AMD AM4, which is the ideal combination for 3rd Generation AMD CPUs and Ryzen 5000
- It is made of top-quality alloys and robust capacitors, which offer consistent power for the most recent high-core-count CPUs.
- It allows for excellent gaming networking with Bluetooth V5.1, Wi-Fi 6, and 2.5 Gb LAN.
- It has multiple connectivity options; USB 3.2 C port, HDMI 2.1, one PCIe 4.0 by 4, and a DisplayPort 1.2.
- The PCH and VRM heatsinks keep this motherboard functioning steadfastly even under heavy load by boosting the cooling capability for crucial onboard constituents.
- It has ASUS-exclusive RGB lighting, Mini-ITX form factor, and Gen 2 Header for excellent customization.
As with any other computers, you need your Small Form Factor PC to have a reliable processor. We recommend the AMD Ryzen 5600G.View On Amazon
It has various impressive features like:
- Excellent graphics performance for uncomplicated 1080P gaming and does not require a graphic card
- It has 4.4 GHz Boost, DDR4-3200 support, and 19MB cache
- Also, it comes with 12 processing threads and six cores, coupled with AMD Stealth Cooler
- Ideal for AM4 socket platform
4. CPU Cooler
While the CPU might not be affected when building your SFF PC, the CPU cooler will. Whether you prefer using a liquid or air cooling, there are a couple of low-profile coolers to choose from.View On Amazon
To make your choice easier, we recommend the Noctua NH-L9a, and it features:
- 37 mm of height perfect for slender cases
- Small footprint for total RAM, and is compatible with PCIe on ITX motherboards, and allows for easy access to connectors close to the socket.
- Noiseless, NF-A9x14 fan, featuring a noiseless adaptor and automated speed control
- It comes with six years warranty and is perfectly designed for AMD Ryzen products with minimal heat load.
Frequently, RAM clearance might not be a major issue. On the other hand, overly large cooling shrouds might not be ideal for small cases.View On Amazon
Go for a high-performance and compact one like the Corsair Vengeance LPX, featuring:
- Memory chips to guarantee efficiency with ample overclocking headroom
- It is optimized for generous compatibility with the most recent AMD DDR4 and Intel motherboards
- 34mm height ensures that it fits in most SFF PCs
- The efficient PCB provides a boosted signal stability and quality for supreme overclocking capability
- The heat spreader is made of aluminum which proficiently disburses heat from every module for proper performance
- Simple installation thanks to its compatibility with Intel XMP 2.0
- It comes in various colors, making it easy to buy one that matches your system`s color
View On Amazon
The Crucial MX500 features:
- Faster thanks to the Micron 3D NAND
- In case power gets cut, the Incorporated Power loss Immunity feature preserves all the saved projects
- It comes with a 5-year warranty
- 256-bit encryption keeps your data secure and safe
- Sequential and random reads stand at 560MBPS and 95K, and writes at 510MBPS and 90K for all types of file
7. Power Supply Unit
The Seasonic FOCUS SGX-500 features:
- It has an enhanced ventilated system, but only utilize the cables you need to declutter
- It comes with a 10-year warranty
- The fan-less mode allows for a quiet session. Besides, there are two more modes; cooling and silent modes.
- Compact size at 125 by 125 by 63.5 mm
- A small amount of energy is lost through power conversion, which reduces your electricity consumption
This Sff build includes an APU named the 5600g. This have an integrated graphics which is powerful enough to run online multiplayers at playable 30 fps under considerably low to medium settings. Gpus have come a lot this generation and amd has provided gamers with this capable Apu for casual gaming.
But if the apu doesn’t cut it for you, you can choose a 3060ti or a 6600xt gpu in this build for an ultra 1080p or 1440p gaming.
How to Assemble an SFF PC
- Whether you`re using you SFF PC for gaming or other purposes, here`s how to assemble it;
- Begin with installing the processors and memory inside the motherboard
- Once you`re done, place the motherboard inside the case
- Fit the PSU inside its bracket and install the cables in the appropriate headers inside the motherboard
- Once the PSU is in place, install the video card and the linked PCIe cables.
Is a Small Form Factor PC suitable for you?
Also known as SFF PCs, these machines have become somewhat popular in the PC market. It is impressive since many SFF PCs have the same size as the most recent gaming consoles, but prevalently, there`s more to it than being just a PC you can game with.
If space is an issue for you, or you`d prefer to position your PC near your TV for a complete entertainment system, then a Small Form Factor PC is what you need.
But, Why Would You Choose an SFF PC?
There are many reasons why an SFF PC would be the right choice for you, and they include;
- Perfect addition to your entertainment system
If you`re looking to supercharge your entertainment system, a compact PC is the ideal choice.
- Ideal for small spaces
If space is an issue for you, you will benefit from this small-build machine that will come in handy in optimizing the available space without giving up power.
- Sleek design
Once you correctly assemble the small form factor PC, the result is a highly functional sleek looking machine.
- Compact and highly portable
A Small Form Factor PC would particularly be handy for those who move their desks from one place to another or love traveling with their PC. Some SFF PC cases even feature handles to make portability easier.
Assembling an SFF PC does not necessarily translate to a reduction in features and power. While the SFF PC comes with exceptional thermal and logistical issues, the wide range of SFF hardware translates to a custom build. But, if you`re a PC fan with several builds under your belt, the challenge of assembling a Small Form Factor PC might just be the project you need!