If you want to take a small step outside of the norm – and be hugely rewarded for it – a small form factor (SFF) PC may be exactly what you’re looking for.
With the rapid advances in computer component technology, many manufacturers have realised that size no longer matters when it comes to computing power. Instead, they can now focus on other features that will enhance your computer experience, including:
1. Killer Looks
Now free of the restrictions of the traditional desktop design, SFFs come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes, from small book-sized models to flashy cubic designs.
Manufacturers have also invested a lot of effort into stepping up their design game, since these PCs are more mobile, and no longer hidden beneath an office desk or relegated to the back corner of a room.
2. Ergonomic Design
Since SFFs are more likely to be carried around, ergonomics are a key factor for manufacturers. Today’s SFFs are lightweight, easy to hold, and designed for quick and easy set up in any location.
3. Powerful Computing
Don’t let the smaller footprint of SFFs fool you – they are some of the most powerful machines available in the market today and have become a popular choice for high-performance computing like graphic design work, home theatres and gaming.
4. Easy Repair
The streamlined design of SFF PCs also makes PC repairs and upgrades easier to manage. The minimal number of components makes it simple to tinker around in the machine, and the recent explosion in popularity makes it easy to find budget-friendly replacement and repair options. For example, a 4Gb RAM upgrade for a popular Dell SFF model can be completed in less than 15 minutes, for under £42. A power supply repair – one of the most common repairs for SFFs – can be accomplished in 30 minutes or less, at a typical cost of £40 – £105, depending on your specific model.
5. Plenty of Purchasing Options
Sometimes referred to as “mintowers” or “microtowers,” small form factor PCs are available from almost all of the major manufacturers, as well as some promising start-ups. Leading manufacturers for top-performing SFF PCs include:
- Dell OptiPlex, ideal for day-to-day business operations
- Alienware Alpha, perfect for serious gamers
- Azulle Access, an outstanding stick PC option
- Intel Hades Canyon, ideal for graphic design work
- Apple Mac Mini, an excellent all-around computer
- Intel NUC, a 2018 PC Mag Editor’s Pick for being extremely versatile and affordable