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SFF Core i7 build possible?

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July 31, 2009 2:14:32 AM

I would like build an i7 system in a SFF...I read another thread about this but I thought I'd post my requirements to elicit further/different feedback.

CPU - Core i7
RAM - at least 12 GB DDR3
Not interested in SLI or crossfire. Need a decent video card with HDMI out

Blu Ray DVD writer
SD/multi media slot
Built in bluetooth, wireless N on mobo would be nice

MOBO?
CASE?
PSU?

Is this the only one so far? --> http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/266779-31-high-perfor...

More about : sff core build

August 1, 2009 1:54:36 AM

Don't know if I like the mini tower form factor...I was thinking something more compact.
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August 1, 2009 1:57:36 AM

Can you link to a case you were thinking of? Its hard to get too much smaller than a minitower and still be able to use a normal motherboard.
August 1, 2009 3:30:27 AM

Well, it's the tower that's shown if you click on the link posted by dirtmountain. I guess the smallest case I can get that can accommodate a microATX mobo is what I was thinking.

I am not going to play games...will prob have a host Win7 running media center with at least one guest VM running Windows Home Server and possibly another guest VM sometimes running Windows Server 2008 for my software development activities.
August 1, 2009 5:40:20 AM

The 'real' size difference between Mid-Tower cases and HTPC/SFF cases isn't that great.
What you gain for smaller size is reduced cooling & future expansion options.
Which dimension is most critical for your planned usage? Maybe do a 'test fit mockup' to gauge the best fit.
Don't forget to allow for cable protrusions which should be equal for each case.
The smallest case LIAN LI PC-C37B Micro ATX HTPC doesnt have the ability to install a 3.5" Flash/MM card reader. You'd need to use an external card reader for that case.

Mid Tower $90 SILVERSTONE TJ08-B Black Aluminum front panel, SECC body MicroATX Mid Tower
15" x 7.7" x 14.9" (D x W x H)

HTPC Case $90 SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC13B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
17.3" x 16.9" x 6.8"

SFF Box $85 SILVERSTONE Sugo SG01-BF
15.5" x 8.4" x 10.4"

Slim HTPC $170 LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-C37B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
14.9" x 17.1" x 3.7"

No built in BlueTooth or 'N wireless on the X-58 micro-ATX motherboards.
Depending on your actual requirements you might need to look at separate adapters like DBT-120 Wireless Bluetooth 2.0 USB Adapter and EDIMAX EW-7727In IEEE 802.11b/g/n 32bit PCI Wireless Adapter
August 1, 2009 6:04:09 AM

snortingdonkey said:
Don't know if I like the mini tower form factor...I was thinking something more compact.


Look at the entire series, there's a cube-shaped Micro ATX too.

None of these are SFF, because Micro ATX is a form factor of its own. The only SFF option I can think of is the Shuttle SX58X7.
August 1, 2009 6:05:25 AM

WR2 said:
The 'real' size difference between Mid-Tower cases and HTPC/SFF cases isn't that great.
What you gain for smaller size is reduced cooling & future expansion options.
http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/message/icon5.gif Which dimension is most critical for your planned usage? Maybe do a 'test fit mockup' to gauge the best fit.
Don't forget to allow for cable protrusions which should be equal for each case.
The smallest case LIAN LI PC-C37B Micro ATX HTPC doesnt have the ability to install a 3.5" Flash/MM card reader. You'd need to use an external card reader for that case.

Mid Tower $90 SILVERSTONE TJ08-B Black Aluminum front panel, SECC body MicroATX Mid Tower
15" x 7.7" x 14.9" (D x W x H)

HTPC Case $90 SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum / Steel LC13B-E ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
17.3" x 16.9" x 6.8"

SFF Box $85 SILVERSTONE Sugo SG01-BF
15.5" x 8.4" x 10.4"

Slim HTPC $170 LIAN LI Black Aluminum PC-C37B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
14.9" x 17.1" x 3.7"

No built in BlueTooth or 'N wireless on the X-58 micro-ATX motherboards.
Depending on your actual requirements you might need to look at separate adapters like DBT-120 Wireless Bluetooth 2.0 USB Adapter and EDIMAX EW-7727In IEEE 802.11b/g/n 32bit PCI Wireless Adapter


The real size of that case is a Mini Tower. Like HP and Compaq used to sell.
August 1, 2009 6:45:38 AM

HP/Compaq and Dell still sell the 'mini towers'. They're slim/narrower & shorter than most tower cases.

Then there is the Antec Mini Tower
Mini Tower $80 Antec Mini P180 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case
17.1" x 8.3" x 17.2"
which is noticeably larger than the Silverstone TJ-08 mid tower.

Silverstone calls it's Sugo series SFF.
Which might lead you to believe that its up to the MFGR's (and sometimes retail sites like NewEgg) to decide how to label a case.

If the differences are important to you - use the actual dimensions and not a label.

And perhaps the smallest form factor of all might be the 'all-in-one' systems where the system is embedded in the monitor.

As far as I know there are no Core-i7 options at the moment.
And don't forget about laptops as a SFF option.
August 1, 2009 7:05:28 AM

WR2 said:
Then there is the Antec Mini Tower
Mini Tower $80 Antec Mini P180 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case
17.1" x 8.3" x 17.2"


That's a mini-tower in name only. And the name is a lie, which we can blame on Antec. The original ATX mid towers were 17", to house a 3.375" tall power supply above a 12" motherboard, with space between the top panel and power supply, power supply and motherboard, motherboard and bottom panel.

August 1, 2009 7:54:51 AM

Crashman said:
And the name is a lie, which we can blame on Antec.
That's a bit harsh.
Since there is not an 'ATX chassis specification' what label a MFGR decides to stick on it's case is more about marketing than truth or lies.
August 1, 2009 6:45:04 PM

Assuming that portability is the goal, have you considered the Scout?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It is bigger than what you were looking for - and at 19.5 inches is even tall for a mid-tower. But that handle provides a little convenience in transport.

Some like its styling, although I think it looks more than a little like an old, 5 gallon, "Jerry" gas can.

Unfortunate that there is not a min-tower version. Hear that Cooler Master?
August 2, 2009 1:30:59 AM

Thanks for all the responses guys....I suppose I should do more research on the microATX form factor. I'll check out the cases posted by WR2...regarding the Shuttle SX58X7 case...please tell me the $600+ tab is not just for the case!!!

I don't know if portability is a goal...I just want a smaller footprint machine that has the i7 processor. I am ok with wireless N and bluetooth dongles.
August 2, 2009 1:35:49 AM

snortingdonkey said:
...regarding the Shuttle SX58X7 case...please tell me the $600+ tab is not just for the case!!!


Did you even bother looking at it before you ask that question? Did you try looking up the review at...oh, I don't know, Tom's Hardware maybe?

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/shuttle-sx58h7-sff,...
!