This was the first small form factor (SFF) build that I took part in. We started talking seriously about the build after Justin’s laptop, a Dell XPS L1502x, kept overheating. I convinced Justin that building a desktop was the smart thing to do – he was a rising senior in college, and with multiple moves ahead, portability was a high priority. Together, we were able to spec out and build a capable, compact desktop PC.
Parts Billing for Justin’s SFF Build
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 Advanced (Amazon.com)
CPU: Intel i5-4690K (Amazon.com)
Motherboard: Gigabyte H97N-WiFi (Amazon.com)
Memory: 8GB (2*4GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR3
SSD + HDD
GPU: Sapphire Radeon Vapor-X HD 7950 OC 3GB GDDR5 (Amazon.com; pulled from my first mining rig)
PSU: Corsair RM550 80PLUS Gold Modular PSU (Amazon.com)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
SFF PCs are challenging compared to larger builds because they require more forethought. Space is at a premium, and cable management becomes a larger issue. We didn’t opt to fill the 5.25″ bay, which gave us a nice cavity for extra cable length.
I would rate a modular PSU is a must-have when building a SFF PC.
Cooling becomes more important as well. Airflow inside of this particular case is restrictive: there are many better options, but they come at a premium.
I did experiment with Smartfan, which I might write about in a future post.
Next step: Replacing the stock Intel CPU HSF with the Zalman CPS8900 Quiet