Building a Small Form Factor PC – June 2021 Update

By Ari Altman | Published June 17, 2021 | Updated June 17, 2021

Introduction

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, 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, and we fully believe they 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 June 2021, navigating the GPU market remains close to impossible thanks to cryptocurrency mining, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel, as eBay prices are beginning to back off their extreme highs. Hopefully by September, GPUs will be back on retail shelves at retail prices! What this means is that if you want to build a gaming PC or a high-end content creation PC, well, you’re not going to be completing your build this month. But the good news is that if you go with one of Intel’s 11th-Gen Core CPUs, you can use their very competent built-in video for office systems. For gaming systems, well, you’ll either need an older GPU around, or you’ll just have to wait.

One quick word on our Intel NUC guide… for years, this has been a big hit with our readers, but Intel has really fallen way behind schedule in releasing its 11th-Gen NUC, and in the meantime AMD board partners have cooked up some amazing systems that make Intel practically irrelevant in the market it created. So, yes, for now, we recommend AMD in our Intel NUC guide!

Our Latest Reviews and How-Tos

As always, we continue to test all the latest and greatest SFF gear we can get our hands on. Most recent is our buyer’s guide to Small Form Factor CPU coolers, which gives you the best options for your system based on size and performance:

 

We’ll continue to feature reviews and builds on our YouTube channel you won’t find anywhere else, so don’t miss out – subscribe now!

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!