Are SFF about to get bigger?

sleepeeg3

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
5,112
This is just something I was thinking about the other day… Is it just me or is the size of our SFFs going to have to change?

Efficiency keeps going down, but power requirements keep going up. For an ATX case, this isn’t a big deal – throw in a larger PSU and an even more insane cooler! (Although even these are starting to reach the limits) For an SFF, these are already designed to house the maximum size of components – increasing any one of them means modding or buying something bigger.

When I first started using a SFF, I was using a modified ARIA. I kept trying to cram larger and larger PSUs into the proprietary PSU housing, but eventually could not find any that would fit! Now I am using a Microfly clone and even with a 780w PSU, I am again having issues finding anything larger that will fit.

Shuttles have also had to move from ~200w – 450w PSUs and I have heard that even their underrated PSUs are struggling with multi-GPU setups.

So am I going to have to buy a new case or bust out the dremel again and hope AMD/Intel/nVidia start making more efficient chips?
 

GJSNeptune

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 31, 2004
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12,372
Power requirements aren't universally increasing. It just depends on the application. For gaming SFF boxes, yes, but for basic systems you've got chips like Intel's Atom and AMD's BE line that use very little power.

On the other hand, we'll always have chipsets that love electricity. :p :(

Hell, my sig. rig idles between 150-170W.
 

Skott

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Aug 12, 2006
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4,198
Yeah, its the gaming SFF boxes that are getting bigger. The two biggest reasons they are growing in size IMO is due to larger (longer) gaming 3D video cards and improved cooling. The cases need to hold the larger cards and have more and larger fans. The 80mm case fans are no longer able to adequately cool the gaming SFF rigs. SFF gaming enthusiasts want and expect 90mm and 120mm fans as a standard now. Some secondary reasons for a larger case include ATX size PSUs and more storage drive bays. Just my opinion anyway. :)
 

Synomenon

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Feb 10, 2007
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These companies need to start focusing on new cooling technologies that don't require such large heatsinks and fans.

I'd like all my SFF machines to get smaller not bigger.
 

Calroth

Weaksauce
Joined
Oct 22, 2007
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120
These companies need to start focusing on new cooling technologies that don't require such large heatsinks and fans.

Whilst true, recall that a machine that draws 100W at the wall will dissipate 100W of heat. A machine that draws 200W will dissipate 200W of heat, etc. etc.

Dumping a lot of heat from a small case is a hard problem. Better cooling technologies are one strategy (it may be impractical, but I'm hanging out for a decent case+heatsink hybrid!) but efficiency is another.
 

lowteckh

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Jul 23, 2008
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There are different types of SFF; I would say the genre is simply expanding.
 

sleepeeg3

Supreme [H]ardness
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Mar 4, 2004
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Might want to take a look at this mod. Might be useful:
http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forums/viewthread/102791/
There are always tradeoffs you can make with modding to achieve your goals, but even if I still had an ARIA, dropping the only DVD bay would never have been an option. ARIA could have been a good case, if it was a little longer.

Well, just thought I would try and get everyone thinking about the future of SFFs. I realize this is not going to affect everyone looking for an HTPC system right away, but it may impact you in the near future. Hopefully something changes before we are all forced to use our apartment/house A/C system to cool!
 

mavalpha

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 3, 2005
Messages
10,451
I don't see a problem. Before I scrapped it, my Sugo-2 had a 1000W PSU over a GeminII to cool a Quad, and obviously enough wattage available to handle any SLI/Crossfire rig you could even DREAM of fitting into only four available slots. It just takes some creativity.

I've since revamped the Sugo-2. I now have a Ninja passively cooling an e7400, and a 270W PSU above a passively cooled 4670. The only cooling in the case is a tiny fan on the new PSU, and an 80mm fan where the old PSU used to be.
 

JaguarSKX

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
1,449
I used to have a SFF HTPC built around the Antec Aria; in storage now. But when I decided to replace it last year I opted to go for a larger case that can accommodate a full size ATX mobo. The reason behind that decision was due to the fact that I was also gonna upgrade my primary PC as well and I wanted to simply gut my primary PC's mobo and stick it in a HTPC case.

Since an ATX mobo would not fit in the Antec Aria, I decided to look at a larger HTPC case. I eventaully settled on a black Silverstone Crown Seires CW02B-MXR which is rather compact for something that can handle an ATX mobo.

Whenever I decide to upgrade my Primary PC again, I can simply move the innards to my HTPC case. That way I won't feel like I am throwing away a perfectly working mobo. Plus the CW02S-MXR has 6 hard drive bays so I could potentially have up to 12TB of storage space (using WD's 2TB drives).
 

Spare-Flair

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Apr 4, 2003
Messages
7,471
http://www.sparklepower.com/pdf/SPI270LE.pdf
I would've preferred the LE2 for its side-mount 80mm fan, but it doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

Indeed, if you do your research you can find 300-500watt server PSUs in all sorts of sizes. You could even combine with the aftermarket 5" 1/2 bay PSUs, etc. into one SFF system and get whatever power requirements you need without having to rely on the generic brick style ATX PSU. Just wire them together, do a few calculations, make sure you provide the right rails to the right components...and you're fine.

FYI, SPI270LE is actually rated at 300W at 25°, 270W is for 50°
labelpk0.jpg

insidevo5.jpg


Has temperature controlled automatic fan and it cost only $40. It's a server rack PSU. Replaced Shuttle PSU just fine and was EVEN SMALLER than the OEM Shuttle PSU.
 
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