Building a Small Form Factor PC - November 2019

Published November 6, 2019




If you're ready to build your own dream Small Form Factor (SFF) PC and need a bit of help selecting the perfect parts, you've come to the right place! Our comprehensive component buyer's guides and hands-on assembly guides will get you up and running in the world of SFF computers. Whether it's a budget-friendly kitchen PC, a compact yet powerful small office desktop, or an ultra-high-end gaming system, we've got you covered. We think SFF systems, which we define as having a total volume of under 25 liters, represent the future of desktop computing, and once you've built your own SFF PC, we know you'll agree! So, if you're ready to take the plunge, keep reading and you'll find all the information you need.

For November 2019, we've repositioned a few of our guides, including our stylish $750 mini-ITX system, based on the 7-liter SilverStone ML09 chassis shown at right. While it was designed as a home theater PC case, it's actually our all-around favorite chassis for small office use. For traditional HTPC use, we still feature our $1,250 full-size ATX system, which is a touch above 25 liters, but will still appeal to folks looking to place a PC on a traditional media rack. Note that we will soon be retiring our $1,000 HTPC Guide, replacing it with an as-yet-unannounced workstation-class system. For gaming fans, we of course continue to feature a huge range of systems, starting at $1,000 for our eSports build using the Fractal Node 202 chassis and going up to $2,500 for the a gorgeous RGB-lit system. Our most popular SFF build, and the system we personally use, is still the shoebox-shaped $1,500 Ultra-Compact ITX Gaming PC, using the SilverStone SG13 chassis.


At TBG, we pride ourselves on always keeping our readers apprised of the latest and greatest in SFF gear. And that's why we recently took the time to publish a massive low-profile CPU cooler shootout, a labor of love that we felt was necessary to make sure you only get the best. Indeed, we crowned a new king of low-profile coolers: the Noctua NH-L12S, shown at left.

As you consider building your own SFF system, keep in mind that every compact case is unique, so no single build guide can tell you exactly how certain components will fit together in that case. SFF cases often arrange components in a way that makes it difficult to install otherwise standard PC parts. That's why in addition to our many SFF Buyer's Guides, we've worked hard to put together a comprehensive set of step-by-step assembly guides covering a wide range of case layouts. We believe these are the most comprehensive step-by-step PC building guides you'll find anywhere!

All of our Buyer's Guides shown below use Amazon's real-time pricing engine to provide up-to-date prices, and we also provide direct links to Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and Amazon Germany, with regional substitutions made where necessary. If you purchase any of the components profiled in this guide, please use our links, which helps support continued development of this guide.

Scroll down to find your dream system!