If you’re shopping for a new PC and need something compact to sit in a compact space, a small form factor PC could be a good fit. Small form factor (SFF) PCs take up less room than traditional, full size tower PCs and being lighter, are also more versatile. Their smaller size gives you more options to mount them in out of sight locations such as under a desk or behind a monitor. They’re also easier to move around if you need to move desks for example. Other benefits include reduced power consumption and quieter operation since small form factor PCs often contain lower powered components and require fewer noisy fans for cooling. Many SFF PCs provide easy, tool-less access to the inside of the chassis making it easy to swap out or upgrade components without the need to unscrew any screws first.
Other than their size and shape, the considerations for buying a small form factor PC are much the same as buying any other type of PC. Refer to our PC buying guide for a full analysis of the key specs you should be looking at. It’s also worth considering some of the disadvantages that come with small form factor PCs before you make a purchase. These are mainly a consequence of their smaller size than conventional tower models. Smaller cases mean it’s harder to replace components and upgrades are more limited. Computer components get hot and dispersing that heat is more difficult in a compact chassis with limited airflow. Whilst it's possible to pack high spec components into a small form factor PC, the most powerful hardware tends to be too bulky and require better cooling than a SFF chassis can provide.
Most small form factor PC manufacturers follow standardised conventions when placing components such as the power supply, drive bays, ports and slots into the chassis but there are sometimes variations. Check the configuration of your chosen PC prior to purchase to make sure the layout will work for your particular setup.
At The IT Bay we stock a range of small form factor PCs from leading manufacturers including Dell, HP and Lenovo. There’s a choice of chassis sizes to pick from as well as a variety of specifications to suit both your budget and the type of work you need to carry out on the PC.