Why Choose an SFF PC
For those who don’t already know, a Small Form Factor (SFF) PC is a very small and aesthetically pleasing computer. We like to present this option for customers who don’t already know about SFF.
If you have been reading our hardware guide, you’ll know that a functional computer only constitutes of a few important components: a Hard Drive, a CPU, RAM, an Optical Drive etc. integrated together on a Main Board.
Computer parts are getting smaller and that is why a home computer can now be assembled and packaged into a very compact unit without the hassle of having to source for specially-produced small components.
How small is small? Let’s just say it’s small enough to be inconspicuous to the average PC user. Not that you’ll want to hide this PC… their range of Casings come from aluminium ones with anodized black finishes to sleek pearl white ones. There is just a certain visual appeal about them that conventional Casings will find hard to match. Some of the fanciful Casings come in super-slim or cube-like designs.
Defining the SFF
To give you an idea, an SFF PC has the size of approximately a shoebox or a toaster oven. In this compact size, you can pack in the processor of your choice and have onboard video, sound, USB, and an AGP and PCI slots for future upgrades. The SFF Casing is also big enough to fit a 60mm to 80 mm fan and a Power Supply of 200 to 250 watts. Both the back and front panels usually have Firewire, USB, audio ports and sound connectors for additional expansions. Most Casings come with vented side panels to help cool down the computer. This is an important design feature as cooling is one aspect you do not want to overlook for your SFF. All the components commonly found in a usual chassis are now being squeezed into a structure that is less than 1/3 its size resulting in a lot of heat-producing components in close proximity.
With all the drive bays stacked so closely together, SFF PCs do not have the best structure for those with hot-running multiple drive setups.
Another drawback is that SFF PCs are not particularly quiet – this can again be attributed to its size. During full load, expect quite a bit of sound, albeit bearable, from your SFF PC.
Top Three Reasons to Buy an SFF System (other than looking cool)
It is a budget replacement for a conventional desktop. Most SFF cost less than $1000. It is smaller and more attractive than a typical ATX or micro-ATX system. SFF can fit in places that a regular ATX box cannot. The limited upgrading options is not a big issue for people who do not see themselves needing a very high performance PC. Its flexibility allows it to be placed anywhere – you can even put it in the kitchen as a database of recipes and larder inventory if you want to.
SFF PCs are lighter and therefore a lot more portable than the conventional PC system. This is a huge plus point for gamers who like to move their systems around frequently. Although limited in expansion, they still allow a full-height AGP card for high quality graphics which means that the SFF does not sacrifice anything in that department against a traditional desktop.
It can be used as a Home Theater PC (HTPC): SFFs are small, attractive and come in different colour schemes and designs to match your living room décor. While many of us dream of buying a Home Theater central system from Sony, not many of us can afford to do so. The SFF represents a cheaper alternative – just hook it up with an AGP video/ TV tuner card and the PCI slot with a high end audio card, while the USB wireless adapters make neat, clean networking installation possible.
The above guide is provided as a free service for our customers and visitors and all information is written as objectively and accurately as possible. GooGoo Custom Computers are not responsible for any undesirable outcomes resulted directly or indirectly from reading our hardware guide.