Building a Small Form Factor PC – The January 2023 Update

By Ari Altman | Published December 23, 2022 | Updated December 23, 2022

Lian Li Q58Introduction

If you’re ready to build your own dream Small Form Factor (SFF) PC and need help picking the perfect parts, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve been publishing our comprehensive SFF component buyer’s guides and hands-on assembly guides since 2013, so no one else can get you up and running in the world of SFF PCs better than we can! Whether it’s a budget-friendly kitchen PC, a compact yet powerful small office PC, or an ultra-high-end gaming system, we’ve got you covered.

We define SFF systems as anything having a total volume of under 25 liters, although that’s just a starting point, and every system in our guides is actually under 20 liters! We fully believe these PCs represent the future of desktop computing. 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.

This Month’s Updates

For January 2023, there’s plenty of good news in the SFF market, with fantastic choices in the CPU arena, where Intel and AMD trade blows. We like AMD for budget systems at this point, while Intel rules at the top thanks to its hybrid Raptor Lake architecture. In terms of GPUs, plummeting prices on AMD’s current-gen RX 6000 GPUs means there’s great value to be had in the mid-range and high-end. At the very high end, we really like the GeForce RTX 4080, which offers tremendous performance along with impressive efficiency – a key factor in a compact PCs. As much as we’d like to, for now we are holding off on recommending the RTX 4090 to SFF builders – in addition to not fitting into any legitimately-small SFF case, it’s just way too hot.

Final Thoughts

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!

One last thing: all of our Buyer’s Guides shown below provide product links to select retailers. 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 the buyer’s guide for your dream system, and click on Articles to see our huge catalog of reviews and how-tos!

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