At Reload PC, we have a thing for small packages that pack a big punch. For Jeremy, it all started when he moved into an apartment. There was one problem: he moved in with his girlfriend. Suddenly, his world change from a delightful darkly-lit mancave, to a study room full of skincare and clothing. Translation: there was no mancave for him anymore. Jeremy had to adapt or be without a proper gaming PC.
What could Jeremy do? Instead of changing girlfriends (like some suggested), he started looking into the world of small form factor to see if there was such a thing as a ‘mini gaming PC’ – is it possible to have a tiny gaming PC without compromising on performance?
How to avoid compromising performance
Once upon a time, small form factor meant compromise, in terms of hardware choice, thermals and even style. Today, we’re spoilt for choice, with differing designs to match the hardware you want to use. This blog will be a multi-part series explaining some of the various small form factor cases we build with.
Reload R1 with the RX 5700XT
Jeremy’s foremost requirement was to be able to use a full-length graphics card, since the most powerful graphics cards are almost never released to fit in small form factor. As of the date of this article, the smallest and most powerful card available on the market is the Zotac RTX 2070 Super Mini, which still comes in at 23cm. This is a far cry in performance from an RTX 2080Ti (or the incoming RTX 3000 cards!). Fortunately, many sandwich cases like the Louqe Ghost S1, FormD T1 and Dan A4 have inspired many companies to start producing sandwich cases.
Another huge benefit to sandwich cases is the fact that the volume is still tiny. Most sandwich cases on the market range from 7 to 12 litres, with some being able to fit additional watercooling hardware! This means that, despite being so compact, you still have space to fit extra drives and have thermal performance that can rival standard Big Computers™. Absolutely no compromises.
Our Reload R1 series of small form factor PCs is a great example of this, where we fit high end hardware and full-length graphics cards, all at around 10 litres of volume! We’ve managed to fit beastly cards like the:
- Asus Strix GTX 1080Ti
- Asus TUF RX 5700XT
- Gigabyte Gaming 3X RTX 2070 Super
All of these cards are lengthy, girthy and can get quite hot! And yet since the side panels of the case were perforated and we placed two 120mm fans exhausting air at the top, the cards were more than adequately ventilated to keep temperatures under control.
This is in stark contrast to other ‘small form factor’ cases (that realistically are still large at over 20L) and poorly ventilated, like the InWin A1 and the Phanteks Shift.
Is your PC smaller than this doggo? PC shown is the Reload T50.
At Reload PC, we feel that sandwich cases are the best of both worlds – being able to fit the best components and have great performance at the same time.
What happened to Jeremy? Not only did he switch to a sandwich case, but he fit in a custom water loop with a 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X. All in under 12L!
Check out our selection of sandwich cases at our Small Form Factor section here.