SFF.Network SilverStone cases at Computex 2017: PIO and Micro-STX

When we rolled up to the SilverStone booth on the opening day of Computex, we got there a bit early and planned to check out the nearby booths before our meeting with SilverStone. But that plan got derailed when we spied this fascinating prototype at the front of the booth:

Read more here.


The PIO form factor is neat. Even though the first impression is "yay, no risers!", I could still see it being used in a vertical sandwich style case with the riser in a short "U" at the bottom of the case. Maybe it would even allow shaving off a few mm in the case dimensions compared to an ITX board.

Edit: Did you guys get a peek at the Argon 11 cooler?


Standards Guru
Sep 3, 2015
A PIO case is nice to see. There's some good potential for simplifying airflow without complicating wiring and mounting. it's good to hear they want to work with board manufacturers to ensure the boards are actually available. Lack of general availability can kill a good idea like that (and is why I think Thin-Mini ITX didn't take off: the pick of boards and cases was crap)

Also good to see another vote for ASRocks new form factor. I only hope it sells well enough other board manufacturers start making their own. By having a discrete GPU it actually has some potential for smaller diy gaming systems rather than relying on the likes of Zotac and their proprietary prebuilts/barebones (though I stand by my claim that Zotac's machines have better component placement than STX)


Shrink Way Wielder
Feb 22, 2015
Do you have the volume of the PIO case?
It's on the card in the first pic: 13L. As I've said elsewhere, the PIO boards don't really save any space over mini-ITX and a riser. The main advantage, I'd say, is not having to worry about a riser in the first place. Plus the extra cost of the riser.

Speaking of risers, Tony's comments on the riser development and testing are interesting. I found in my own testing that you can't rely on a single test to determine whether or not a riser is working correctly. In one set I tested, for example, one of the riser samples could get through 3dmark without issue, but it got occasional graphical glitches in a particular game.


Lord of the Boards
Editorial Staff
Gold Supporter
May 9, 2015
Finally, I was hoping PIO boards would get a home in a commercial case, I'm not surprised Silverstone yet again is pioneering one with most likely world-wide availability.


Airflow Optimizer
Bronze Supporter
Apr 2, 2017
Very cool stuff here, I didn't know about the PIO form factor Mobos before reading so thanks for enlightening me :)


Master of Cramming
Mar 9, 2017
The PIO board/case is great, although I don't understand why the ASRock board is bigger than Mini ITX. It still has only one slot, so why make it bigger. If you're gonna do this, you're aiming for SFF.

And I am disappointed by the size of the RVZ04. 3.8L is too large for that concept. ASRock's own design is 2.7L, which is frankly too large as well. You wanna aim for less than 2L with that design, as small as 1.2L is actually possible, tho that is a bit extreme. At 3.8L, you can actually have a full-on Mini ITX with a short card strapped to the back of it, so what's the point of spending a pile of money on an MXM card if you won't get something tiny.

Sorry to be a debbie downer.
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aka James
Original poster
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
At 3.8L, you can actually have a full-on Mini ITX with a short card strapped to the back of it, so what's the point of spending a pile of money on an MXM card if you won't get something tiny.

I kinda mentioned this to him, but a big reason for the size is Tony pushed for this case to be part of the Raven line and as such it bulkier than it could be otherwise due to the aesthetic design elements.

But for the form factor to succeed it has to appeal to more mainstream buyers and having seen them in person, both the RVZ04 and the DeskMini are plenty small and most users won't have any problems with the size of the chassis.

And if the mass-produced cases are too big, that's a good excuse for people here to design smaller ones :)


Master of Cramming
Mar 9, 2017
I see, that makes sense. It's tricky because SFF is a niche segment, and to make it appealing you need to make cases look more mainstream, which partially defeats the point of SFF, so it's a bit of a catch-22. I guess this is why there are no mainstream manufacturers that make truly tiny Mini ITX cases, they always have wasted space somewhere. The NCase M1 could not have been made by one of the big companies. But look how successful it is, so maybe companies should stop prejudging their customers and challenge convention a little bit. But you make good points, I hope we do see some smaller Micro-STX products come out of this community.
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