Small Form Factor PCs for Tight Spaces

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Small Form Factor (SFF) desktops are a thing of beauty; most, on average, measure no bigger than 7 by 9 by 11.5 inches (HWD) (like the AVADirect Nano Cude), yet are fully functional systems that offer enough power for day-to-day computing tasks and even support graphics cards if need be. Their compact form factor means they can be mounted to the back of your HDTV or monitor as an entertainment system, or used as a home or office PC without taking up precious space on your desk. For business-end users, from small to enterprise, there are also SFF options—like the Lenovo ThinkStation C20—that can act as ISV certified workstations and offer speed and easy serviceability by your IT staff. There are also the bare-bones business desktops, like the HP Compaq 4000 Pro, that leave more desk space and provide internals that are all work and no play.


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Given their size, most SFF desktops do not come with the fastest parts or much expandability. The Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150, for instance, comes with an Nvidia ION processor and 2GB of memory and is geared more toward Web-browsing and media consumption rather than content creation. But if you want to work your mini-desktop a little harder than viewing YouTube, the Apple Mac mini (HDMI) and Dell Inspiron Zino (HD) can provide processing power. Both are even equipped with discrete graphics, providing some minimal 3D gaming (22fps on Crysis).

For gamers that need power to process high-end graphics and keep up on the online grid, the AVADirect Nano Cube scored 96fps on Crysis at medium settings and 134fps on World in Conflict at medium settings.

Whatever your need, the small form factor desktop can provide you with a dynamic range of power and features. Check out the slideshow for our top-rated desktops for small spaces.