CasesReviews

Guest Review: Mini-Box’s M350

This guest review was provided by forum member Windfall, with editing performed by John Morrison. Want to contribute a review or editorial? Private message John (confusis) on the forum!   Go back. Way back. Okay, maybe not very far back: 1996, when Mini-Box was founded. “Inspired by the unprecedented success of small form factor mainboards,” they have since “since directed [their] focus on designing and developing smaller, more compact PC peripherals.” I don’t know if that’s true or not, as I got it from their about page. I can tell you though, that from their product portfolio, it certainly appears …
Power SuppliesReviews

Fractal Design’s Ion SFX 650W Gold – A SFX-L Value Proposition

Fractal Design, no stranger to the SFX(-L) market (including a 450w Integra SFX unit with their Node 202 chassis), has decided to dive a little deeper into our world. Today, Fractal Design launches the new Ion SFX-L range with a pair of units hitting shelves at 500W and 650W spec levels. We have the 650W unit on the test bench today – let’s put it to the test! A disclaimer first before we get started: SFF Network does not possess the expertise or equipment to fully test the electrical performance of PC power supplies, and as such, this article should …
CoolingReviews

Scythe KazeFlex low-profile fan review.

We would like to thank Scythe for providing us with a review sample of their KazeFlex 120mm Slim fans. Without their generosity, this review would not be possible. Scythe, the heavy hitting underdog of the HSF world, has once again hit us with another surprise entry into the SFF market with their low profile 120mm fan linup. At just 17mm thick, it will be interesting to see how they compare to the competition. Packaging The packaging is compact and straightforward. All the specifications you could ever want to see on a fan are listed in great detail on the back. …
CasesOtherReviews

Battle of the Boutiques Part 2: A4-SFX | S1 | SM550 | SM560

The following article is for Part 2 of our multi-part review. If you haven’t already seen it, you can view Battle of the Boutiques Part 1 here. We had originally intended to release the 2nd and final part of this review back in July but due to immature BIOS issues with Ryzen’s latest CPUs, we experienced some questionable voltage results and instability, so we decided to wait it out. Finally, on the 15th of August, ASUS provided a BIOS update(1.0.0.3 Patch AB, still not perfect) to their ROG STRIX X470-I GAMING motherboard, so I decided to crank through this in …
CasesReviews

SilverStone’s VT01 – TJ07-esque uSFF!

Recently, I looked at SilverStone’s VT02 – a subtle Mini-STX case along the lines of the ASRock DeskMini styling. Aftermarket cases for the M-STX form factor aren’t exactly common, but SilverStone does have two compatible models in the range – today’s review is of the VT01, the cheaper sibling to the VT02. Inspired by the SilverStone TJ07 – an iconic (albeit huge) case of years gone, the VT01 is an ultra small case for the SFF generation. Built entirely from SECC steel, the VT01 isn’t exactly a pure descendant of the TJ07, but it does offer great value and a …
CoolingReviews

The Scythe Big Shuriken 3. Big performance at a small price.

We would like to thank Scythe for providing us with a review sample of their Big Shuriken 3 heatsink. Without their generosity, this review would not be possible. Scythe, the heavy hitting underdog of the HSF world, has once again hit us with another surprise entry into the SFF market with their Big Shuriken 3. At just 70mm tall, it will be interesting to see how this cooler compares to the competition. Packaging The packaging looks exactly like we have come to expect from Scythe. There is not much else that can be said besides it doing a adequate job …
CasesReviews

Battle of the Boutiques Part 1: A4-SFX | S1 | SM550 | SM560

With the tremendous success of the Dancase A4 from community member Dondan, we now have several boutique cases that feature that iconic sandwich hardware layout. For anyone unfamiliar with the terminology, the sandwich layout is MOBO/CPU/RAM/PSU on one side and GPU on the other. This layout is made possible by the use of a flexible PCIe riser cable that plugs into the PCIe slot on your motherboard and relocates that slot to the backside of the motherboard. This layout is extremely efficient not just for space savings, but it also provides hardware with the ability to pull in fresh air …
CoolingReviews

Noctua NH-U12A heatsink review. Will it SFF?

We would like to thank Noctua for providing us with a review sample of their NH-U12A heatsink. Without their generosity, this review would not be possible. Fresh off the heels of our NT-H2 Thermal Paste shootout, we have a compelling new heatsink from Noctua, the NH-U12A. This model is more compact than some of Noctua’s larger offerings but offers unparalleled performance for its size due the quality of fans being used. It’s still a little on the larger side and may not fit in most of our cases but for those that have the room, you may not find a …
CoolingReviews

Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste shootout. Does SFF benefit?

We would like to thank Noctua for providing us with a review sample of their entire thermal interface material suite. Without their generosity, this shootout would not be possible. Noctua’s latest NT-02 thermal paste has been available in retail channels for a few months now but after playing around with it, I’ve been reluctant to post this review. Not because Noctua’s proposed gains are in any way false, but because it doesn’t appear that the small form factor community can measurably benefit from its usage. Before I proceed and come off as biased to any of our readers, I just …
CasesReviews

SilverStone’s VT02 – An STX Upgrade

Comments on the ASRock DeskMini (non-GTX) line have been clear, the stock case that comes with the DeskMini line is pretty average – from the cheap plastic fascia to the mediocre tray style build. The plastic rails and hard-mounted front panel config just leaves a lot of room for that dreaded cables-stuck-in-fan situation. SilverStone’s VT series of cases have existed as long as the DeskMini line of cases, but with little fanfare – these quiet achievers have sat out of the limelight. Part of why I asked for review samples (thanks SilverStone!) of both models, everyone loves an underdog.  At …
ReviewsSystems

ASRock’s DeskMini A300 – Finally!

Around a year ago, AMD graced us with the Ryzen APU family, bringing higher logical core counts and the Vega GPU architecture to the APU platform. Unlike the rather.. limited.. FM1/2/2+ platform family, the new generation ran on the AM4 platform, allowing anyone to choose between CPUs and APUs for their builds. What the new Ryzen platform also offered is a chipset-less option – A300. Because Ryzen integrates so many controllers and devices into the die, it is possible to create a motherboard with no chipset at all, much like the ill-fated AM1 platform. SATA, PCIe, RAM, and more fed …
ReviewsSystems

Guest Review: ECS Liva Z2

This review has been provided by forum member Duality92! Editing has been performed by John Morrison. I would like to take this opportunity to thank ECS for this product sample, they have provided me with an ECS Liva Z2 for the purpose of this review. ECS is no newcomer in the Mini PC world, this is the third unit I have reviewed, the others being the Liva Plus and the miniscule Liva Q. The Liva Z2 is the latest generation of the fanless Mini PC lineup from ECS. It sports the Intel Gemini Lake CPU, which were released in Q4 …