Small Form Factor Gaming PC: Best Builds and Buyer’s Guide

Not everyone wishes to have a humongous and tacky gaming setup. Many gamers out there prefer having a compact, sleek and elegant and small form factor gaming PC. Such gaming setups are more focused on the classic look rather than the big & RGB colorful ones.

However, many among them still prefer an RGB setup that is compact and gives them enough room for their gaming or other reasons maybe. Anyway, with a compact gaming setup you get a lot of table room that can be utilized to serve many other purposes.

You can utilize this space to fit in your peripherals wisely and more efficiently. Also, it will make your desk appear less crowded. Such gaming setups can be achieved by using a small form factor setup that would perfectly fit in a compact PC cabinet.

So, in this article, we will tell you about the best Best Small Form Factor Gaming PC. But, before we move on any further, let’s understand a little about a small form factor-based PC.

What is a Small Form Factor Gaming PC?

small form factor gaming pc case Brilliant Small form Factor Gaming Pc

We could be talking about a setup like an Xbox One with the best graphics cards on the market when we discuss the best mini PC for gaming. Or, simply invest in a PC that’s affordable and compact that’s worth your money and call it a mini PC or small form factor PC.

However, it is suggested that before you buy a mini PC, a little research and hunting for the best components in the market would be the best task.

We all know that there are a number of small form factor components available in the market to choose from and it can be confusing to pick the best one for you if you don’t have accurate knowledge of the functioning of each one.

Some of these components are manufactured by top computer hardware manufacturing brands like Intel, AMD, and Nvidia. With a piece of good knowledge about a small form factor PC, however, you will be able to build a small form factor gaming PC. And you can simply do this from the scratch and ensure that it delivers a fair performance output.

What is the definition of a good gaming PC? From the image that has been created over the years about the gaming PC, most will agree with a gigantic machine setup that has wildly rotating fans, fiery rainbow RGB LEDs, and big graphics cards.

However, with the evolving technology and shrinking size of the digital hardware parts, even gaming PCs have been quite compact. Since, when you look through the market you will find small form factor components for all computer parts. This has allowed us to create a small form factor gaming PC on our own.

Small form factor gaming PC allows you to reduce the footprint of the machinery on the setup table hence giving you more table utility space. Many people nowadays focus on making a PC that is not too loud and fits compactly on your table without taking much space.

However, if you are among these people then you might like to thank AMD for their Raven Ridge CPU + GPU hybrid platform. This architecture has made such a compact PC possible.

So with this technology from AMD, you can now create a powerful small form factor PC of your own. In simple terms, now you don’t have to opt for a pre-built ASUS mini or any such branded mini PCs to have a powerful compact small form factor PC.

Even though the actual process of assembling the kit is not much different than buying a pre-assembled/installed branded small form factor PC. But, the cost of buying a branded mini PC directly from the market is quite high.

To build a perfect Mini-PC, choosing the right component is absolutely the most important step. In developing this article, our research team made sure that readers received the best information about the component used in the Mini PC.

To provide our readers with an overview of the machines, we have selected three types. The three types that we finalized were more or less based on the budget that a person would have. 

Types of Small Form Factor Gaming PC

  1. The Budget Player (Best budget small form factor gaming PC) 
  2. The Mid-Range Player (Best Mid-range small form factor gaming PC)
  3. The Professional/High-end player ( Best premium small form factor gaming PC)

In this article, we share ideas and suggestions for developing a mini PC starting with a low-performance Raven Ridge machine with no GPU. Further, we will move on to the mid-budget GTX 1660 Ti platform setup.

In the end, we will tell you about a powerful small form factor gaming PC kit that boasts a 24-wire mini monster with an RTX 2080 Super. 

Not only have we taken care of the main CPU components but also of other important components. So, regarding the storage, the most important point that we took into consideration was the way a user will use the hard drive.

Thus, for primary storage, we selected the best gaming SSDs on the market. However, considering the size restrictions, we had to pick the ones that had loading time advantages.

Also, you will agree to the point that gamers absolutely hate one thing and that is screen rendering/lag.

Detailed Description of Best build for Small Form Factor Gaming PC

Having decided that our research through the online market and our own testing led us to the best small form factor gaming PC, let’s get to know a bit about them in detail.

1. The Budget Player | Best budget small form factor gaming PC

Budget Player

For the low budget type of the small form factor gaming PC, we have taken into account a setup based on AMD Ryzen 5 3400G. This processor from AMD is an integrated graphics-based system that supports overclocking and is priced at around 500 GBP or 550 USD.

Let us tell you a little more about this small form factor gaming PC setup.

When we were looking through the market for the small form factor components we noticed that AMD was ahead in the game when it came to integrated graphics.

They launched their first APUs almost a decade back in 2011. But to our surprise, they have made some remarkable progress since then. AMD Ryzen 5 3400G is a great example of this growth, as it is able to top 50 fps in GTA V at 1080p at ‘high’ settings.

This is an impressive response for us if the amount paid to buy this processor was considered a factor. This helps in building an impressive budget machine too.

When you have a powerful processor and you save a little money on your processor, then you can invest it elsewhere to get a qualitative and long-lasting component.

The resolution will have to suffer from more modern games despite this impressive performance. Although the game quality will drop when you lower your screen resolution, you’ll still be able to enjoy some decent performance even with a 720p resolution.

You can also get an esports-ready set up with such a setup if you’re just after that! Games like Overwatch, LoL, and Dota 2, as well as some not-so graphics-hungry games, are the most likely candidates. 

Due to the limited space in our compact PC chassis, the Noctua L9a is almost the only AM4 cooler we could have used. We paired this ‘InWin Chopin’ case with the Gigabyte Aorus B450 I motherboard.

This will help us in creating a good small form factor budget rig. Chopin provides enough power for the Ryzen 5 APU 3400G to function due to its 150 W built-in power supply. Furthermore, the overclocked AMD processor can also be handled by this, easily.

Coming to the memory, which is important and decides the agility of your PC setup, We chose an NVMe SSD.  In addition to taking up less space and being faster, this type of memory is also very efficient.

A WD Blue NVMe SSD with 1TB of storage will make sure that the games load a little fast and at the same time, the booting process of the computer is not so slow either.

As per the expert in our team, the WD Blue SN550  is the best SSD on a budget, however, you might have to struggle a bit to find it as it is generally not available in stock.

For additional storage, you can always choose the 2TB option. We opted for a single device from Corsair Vengeance LPX 8 GB DDR4 as memory. Keeping it in mind is crucial.

You must ensure that even though the setup is small and compact, all the possible latest features are available and you have a smoothly running mid-ranged PC. 

Also Read: Best White Motherboards in 2021: Building a unique white themed Gaming Rig  

2. The Mid-Range Player | Best  Mid-Range small form factor gaming PC

Mid Range Budget Player

When you come to building a gaming PC that has a mid-range budget, then you get a little extra leisure in the budget to add the components that will boost performance.

So, we decided to build this mid-range small form factor PC around the famous AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU with the popular Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti GPU.

It might surprise you how much can fit in such a small case. However, thanks to advances in motherboards based on the miniITX form factor.

Moreover, the new way of arranging different components and the shrinking in their sizes must also be given equal credit.

Thanks to modern technology, including dividers, smart devices, and flat cables, now it is possible to get a high-end gaming computer finely squeezed into a compact gaming computer.

And this doesn’t mean that it has a poor cooling mechanism. These compact machines have very efficient cooling mechanisms too. Even though the setup is so small the features are large and up to date.

If you want a discrete video card in your gaming PC, but still want to keep things affordable, this setup is your best bet. 

With Fractal Design’s Core 500 cabinet/case, we were able to accommodate discrete graphics without sacrificing compactness and size. Cases in the Chopin series are slightly larger than these, and they are able to accommodate graphics cards up to 310mm.

The best part is that a full-size ATX power supply fits into it. As we mentioned the power supply, the choice that we went for was an EVGA 600B power supply. This power supply will provide enough power to all of your components.

Additionally, its Bronze efficiency rating creates less heat and improves thermal performance. Storage-wise, we again opted for the Western Digital NVMe SSD, as we know it is the best choice.

The memory (RAM) we chose is Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz. This should be sufficient RAM for enough performance and productivity. 

When you go for an AMD Ryzen 5 3600X CPU, one of the best gaming CPUs you can buy, and an Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, you get a pretty mainstream rig.

This setup will provide you with enough CPU and GPU to enjoy almost all the latest games. And all this in one small package, which is small just by looks.

There is no difference in the motherboard between the budget and premium versions; the Gigabyte Aorus B450I does everything you need. No point in putting a fancy motherboard else the cost might shoot up largely.

As a result of this combination, the machine can, process 12 threads of data simultaneously, as well as allows you to play games in 1440p without any issue.

Furthermore, with a 1080p screen, you can play some of the high graphics demanding games in top settings without blinking and at a minimum frame rate of 60.

3. The Professional/High-end Player | Best premium small form factor gaming PC

Professional high end player

Coming to the elite section in the small form factor gaming PC.

So, what if you have a large budget, meaning that money is not an issue, and you want a small compact still very high performing PC.

Well, we have the exact answer to what you are looking for.

In this section, we will tell you about the best premium small form factor gaming PC. 

Since money was not a concern here, we did not compromise even a bit on any component. We preferred using the top-end AMD Ryzen 9 3900X coupled with a bleeding-edge GPU from Nvidia, the  RTX 2080 Super.

Both of these components are very well known among gamers. The sole reason for their popularity is the performance delivery. With the use of these 2 small form factor components, your machine provides excellent gaming and heavy usage performance.

Let’s look into the details of this premium mini PC assembly. 

It would not be wise to have a premium build fitted into a shoebox. If you have cream over the cake you will have to provide it with a little extra space to sustain.

Thus, for the premium small form factor build that we are suggesting you will have to bear with a little extra weight and compromise a little on the full ATX tower aesthetic. Consider the weight gain coming for free with the amount of money spent on this build.

Despite having a higher number of components and extra space for the addition of more components, the slim design of the NZXT H210i case makes a great case.

This case also helps you with remarkable cable management design. There is also a USB Type-C port on the front panel. We think it’s an excellent choice for builders of mini-tower PCs, offering an elegant and surprising build.

Please take a moment to review the components that we choose for this build. 

For the motherboard, we are using an ASUS ROG Strix X570I Gaming which is one of the best gaming motherboards in the market. The processor/CPU as informed above is the famous AMD RYZEN 9 3900X. Nvidia GTX 2080 Super has been chosen for the GPU and it compliments our processor very nicely.

With these components, you get the most space-saving setup. It would have been nice to have the latest RTX 3080, but Nvidia’s one of the latest and best cards will still be a problem for a while because of global chip shortages. At least there is currently only one RTX 2080 Super, that you might get your hands on.

In addition, the 3000-series NVIDIA cards are huge and will present a challenge to getting them,mid-range, to under one roof with other components. Any game can be played at 1440p on this card, and many games can be played at 4K. 

A 120mm CPU liquid cooler from Cooler Master with RGB lighting has been included in the larger housing thanks to its slightly larger design.

As for storage, we opted for a 1 TB NVMe SSD from Western Digital. You can still expand these slots for large game collections by using the spare 3.5-inch slots on the NZXT enclosure.

Conclusion!

We hope that these small form factor gaming PC builds gave you a better insight. We aimed at providing you all with sufficient information on how you can make a good affordable compact gaming PC and how even a  small and compact setup can deliver the best and premium performance.

Building a Mini PC or a small form factor gaming PC in 2021 can be a tough thing if you have not done your research properly. Compatibility and heat management are the main issues that most people face while working on building a compact mini gaming PC.

However, these issues can be easily eliminated if you choose the right component in your budget.

That is all for us on this topic. Let us know in the comments section what do you think are the major challenges of building a Mini compact small form factor gaming PC in 2021.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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