Users have long been chiming for a smaller form factor smaller than the current mini-ITX. Intel does have the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) and other vendors have their solutions. Most of these are quite limited in upgradeability and tend to have few if any expansion slots, limiting functionality. In response to this Intel is launching an all new form factor, dubbed “5×5”.
Revealed at IDF, the 5×5 will measure 140mm x 148mm, which is 5.5”×5.8”, making the 5×5 more of a 6×6 really. Being 30% smaller than mini-ITX, the 5×5 will also feature a fixed CPU position and more importantly, support LGA CPUs. Intel is planning to support i3, i5 and i7 CPUs right from the start with integrated graphics. The 5×5 will have uniform CPU and board mounting holes and will support CPUs from 35 to 65W TDP. The platform can probably go lower, but Intel probably doesn’t have plans for a sub 35W LGA chip.
Despite being more flexible than the NUC, discrete graphics won’t be supported as the z-height is targeting 39mm. There is a lot of other I/O though with 2 SO-DIMM slots, a M.2 SSD connector, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card port, a SATA port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 2 HDMI outputs and Gigabit Ethernet. While the boards will likely be sold standalone, Intel is hoping the chassis and the board will match up, providing a good combo for placing the heatsinks and 2.5″ drives.
Intel has not released any information yet about the expected launch for 5×5, but it probably isn’t far off. While integrated graphics can be limiting, a Skylake LGA chip with GT4 graphics and 128MB of eDRAM will make for a pretty strong small factor gaming rig. If Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 are supported in the future, external graphics might also be possible. Hopefully, Intel can get buy-in from motherboard makers. It will also be interesting to see if AMD will try to get into the game by offering their own 5×5 boards with APUs.
Today we are taking a look at Gigabyte’s Intel i5 5200U powered BRIX. Gigabyte has an impressive array of BRIX models that come in at all different performance levels with many CPU options and even options with discrete GPUs. The small form factor computer business has been exploding the last few years due in part with parts shrinking and their abilities skyrocketing. Many people have been buying small form factor units deciding to use them as business or daily workstations due to the low power consumption, helping to lower costs. Others love these small boxes for use as home theater PCs (HTPCs) since they can be tucked out of the way and will generally not be heard over ambient sound in the home theater. The specs for this BRIX look promising for use in both situations so let’s take a closer look and see just how well it would perform in these tasks.
RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v
SSD:User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
GPU: Integrated – Intel® HD Graphics 5500
LAN: Realtek RTL8111G10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini isplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, RJ-45/GbE LAN
OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
Warranty: 1 Year
Printed materials and hardware that the BRIX comes with. You will get a power adapter and power cord to hook up the BRIX as well as all the screws that you will need to mount your SSD or HDD and use the VESA mount if you wish. The DVD and printed materials are toss away materials in my opinion since the most up to date drivers and materials can be downloaded from the support website.
A little over a year ago, Silverstone introduced the revolutionary slim form factor case RVZ01 that was created by SilverStone’s RAVEN team, a case that exceeded and refined what a slim HTPC or console-styled PC could do.
Now Silverstone is ready with a follow-up chassis and the new line is called the Fortress Z and it is designed for enthusiasts that want a great looking small form factor chassis made of first class materials.
The FTZ01 utilizes a PCI-E riser and custom designed fans that in return allow you to use the biggest consumer graphics cards on the market and still maintain a superb air cooling. The case even supports liquid cooling, but you should pick the cooler with care as it won’t be all that fit.
The FTZ01 could be the perfect choice for those looking to build a premium, all-metal slim form factor PC with high-end components.
It will come as both a black and silver version, but people who are after the Silver need a little more patience. The Black FTZ01 will be available in stock on the 26th of May and the Silver version will be available on the 10th of July.
Designed for use in either vertical or horizontal orientation, it can be placed comfortably in any space-constrained environment that requires a powerful PC.
Classic exterior built from aluminum unibody frame
Supports graphics card up to 13 inches
Mini-ITX motherboard & SFX PSU compatible
Maximum performance in slim form factor with support for liquid cooling*
Positive air pressure design for excellent cooling/quietness and dust-prevention
Fits in nearly any environment with horizontal or vertical orientation
CyberpowerPC has unleashed their newest Syber Vapor PC Gaming Console. They’ve released the X-venom and the Syber Vapor Extreme was born; an extremely powerful gaming PC in the form factor of a game console.
The Vapor is an upgradable and full featured PC gaming-system with all the benefits. You can enjoy all of your favourite PC games anywhere by simply plugging it into your big-screen TV and connecting it to a wireless network. The Vapor launches in Steam’s Big Picture mode with Microsoft Windows 8.1, so you get access to your full Steam library as well as all of your Windows features like Netflix, Hulu, web browsing, Skype and much more. CyberpowerPC promises all of this at an affordable price.
Unlike normal gaming consoles, the Syber Vapor systems are upgradeable in every way, just the same as your normal PC. You can also highly customize the setup before you purchase it. The Vapor Extreme takes its name seriously and is configured with an i7-4790K CPU and 8GB RAM on a MSI Z97I ACI mITX motherboard as default. Not surprising, the graphics card powering the system is one of the brand new Nvidia GeForce GTX 980’s. The lower power consumption and thereby low heat dissipation makes the card perfect for a compact system like this.
The basic model has a 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive but there are options for solid state drives as well. There is room for 2 drives in total in this system. Just like the previous Vapor I and Vapor A models, the case can be had in both black and white. The price starts at $1499; quite a bit more then a console, but you also get a lot more. You’re also able to downgrade parts of the system, if you don’t need them or the price simply is to high for you budget.
Small chassis are all the rage recently, with many system builders flexing their desire to build a compact gaming rig that still packs a might punch. With so many new cases on the market in the smaller leagues such as the BitFenix Prodigy series, Coolermaster Elite 130, Antec ISK-600 and almost countless other options, it can be hard to know which is the right chassis for your own build. Sure you may all think of the big names such as Corsair, NZXT, Antec, Thermaltake, etc. when you’re picking your parts, but today we though we would bring you a chassis from a name that may not be so familiar, a break from the norm if you will.
Anidees have been on the market for years now in Europe, but they’ve not had much attention here in the UK or even in the US yet. We’ve seen their products before and were thoroughly impressed with their build quality and sleek design, so hopefully we’ll see something similar today in the compact design of the AI6BS Midi Tower. With support for large graphics cards, three pre-installed fans, plentiful sound dampening material on the interior, dust filters, USB 3.0 support, aluminium finishings and more, there is no doubt that this is targeted at the premium end of the market. The packed specification list is impressive for a chassis of this size, but at around £90 shipped, you get what you pay for.
Understated design with brushed Aluminium on the front and top panels
Mini tower with mid towers features, support 340mm graphics card and 168mm CPU cooler
Front IO USB3.0 x 2, USB2.0 x 2
Three speed fan controllers on top and support up to three nanotech fans
Three Nano tech fans included (120 x 2 in front, 120mm x 1 in back), Ultra long lifetime 50,000 life hours, IP5X dust proof
3.5 and 2.5 HDD Compatibility up to 4 devices
Moveable dust filter in the front
Anti-vibration rubber for FAN and HDD
Material: Steel body / AL, Plastic, Mesh bezel
Motherboard: M-ITX, M-ATX
5.25″ Drive Bay: 2
3.5″ Hidden: 4
3.5″ Exposed: None
2.5″ Drive: 4
I/O Panel: USB3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x2, Audio x1, MIC x1, 3 Speed Fan Controller
Expansion Slots: 5
Power Supply: PS2(Optional)
Removable HDD Cage: Yes
Dimensions: 415(L) x 185(W) x 433(H) mm
Graphics Card Lenth: 340mm
CPU Cooler Height: 168mm
The AI4 comes neatly packaged in a fairly standard box, nothing special here other than the specs on the side (see above), so let’s move on.
In the box you’ll find a simple operator’s manual, it’s pretty basic in terms of instructions, but everything appears to be pretty straight forward anyway. You’ll also find all the screws and bolts needed to install all major components.