Small Form Factor PC's

  Jdoki 16:52 02 Nov 2005

Does anyone have experience using/building Small Form Factor PC's?

I'm thinking of building or buying one but I'm interested in opinions, of the general kind, and speficially about...

Noise levels


The main issue is noise. The machine would be used for gaming and as a Media Center. I don't mind a bit of noise at peak loads (i.e. gaming), but would prefer it to be as quiet as possible when streaming/watching movies/TV, web browsing etc.

The specs would need to be...

939 socket mobo to take advantage of the AMD64 3500 I have, as many slots as poss for RAM (I have 4 512MB sticks, but would consider just using two), and it needs to support a high end PCI-E graphics card - preferably a 7800GTX or depending on what the heat levels are like an ATI X1800XT.

I know Shuttle is generally seen as the market leader, but after seeing that AJP machine on the PC Advisor news page, that definitely looks like the way forward - just a shame the graphics capability isn't up to high-end gaming.

I'm particularly interested in any companies that build to order, as I'd prefer them to deal with the tricky busines sof putting it together rather than me. My track record of building quiet PC's is not great! (I still shudder at the noise levels generated by the PC I built using 4x 80mm, 1x 92mm a 40mm and a custom GPU cooler comprised of 2x 60mm fans - Concorde had nothing on this machine):)


  ade.h 17:02 02 Nov 2005

The best SFFs are ones that use Pentium M motherboards. They run very quietly, due to less heat. Stands to reason. However, it bumps the cost up a bit because Pentium Ms are a bit pricey.

  ade.h 17:05 02 Nov 2005

You might find that your AMD runs a bit too hot to be quiet in an SFF case.

  De Marcus™ 17:17 02 Nov 2005

It all depends on the cooling solution deployed by the sff vendor, Shuttle as you say are pretty much the dominant market force so there isn't a lot to choose from and even less to go and have a look at for yourself. I use a sff system for 'mucking about' on and I chose a 'Silent I' from Torspoal (little heard of) because of there 4in1 thermal cooling solution.

Having been privileged to actual hear the machine in use (or not as the case turned out to be), it was perfect for my needs. It isn't for you however, no sff machine is going to remain quiet whilst doing anything intensive for any period of time, the fan noise will increase with load on the cpu and system temperatures, which will be the case with the graphics cards you have in mind (don't forget these have fans also, which will probably be noisier than the cpu fan). However, no matter what sff you buy, it can't be as noisy as your current setup, at 8 fans, that's a lot of decibels

  007al 18:39 02 Nov 2005

the newer amd venice core`s run cooler.
gigabyte make a 6600gt with no fan,just a heatsink.
i have an abit fatality sli bord an my pc as i speak,there are two otes fans,three case fans,cpu fan,two graphics card fans,chipset fan and psu fan.if run right,they are not noisey at all.i can hear the budgie in the next room more than my pc!
so,with a shuttle or sff,you should be able to build a quiet pc,with less fans.
remember that a quality fan will be more silent too.i have tried coolermaster and akasa,and theyre loud compared to the black with orange blade thermaltake ones i have now.

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