PC manufacturers and retailers use buzz words such as space-saving design, minimum space, Slimline and compact in their advertising for what are more generically known as Small Form Factor (SFF) PCs.
Most people would agree that PCs meet their definition of desktop personal commuter. By my definition, they would have an at least a small internal power supply, memory capacity up to 32 GB, a HDD and/or SDD and all the connections we expect today such as USB 2.0 and 3.0, Bluetooth, WI-FI plus an SD card reader. Also, I believe they should be able to run two monitors right out of the box.
Today’s video is intended for people who are considering the purchase of an SFF computer and for those who already own one and want to see inside and find out about the limited but definite expansion options. For example, adding a low end dedicated video card can improve performance noticeably. At the very least you will can a choice of video outputs that you have chosen.
For SFF pcs the most common expansion options often include, expanded RAM memory, a video card, M.2 memory and a solid-state drive (SSD). The problem is that, due to design decisions by the manufacturers, not all SFF pcs have the same possibility for expansion.
How do you know what your SFF PCs true options are? Hopefully you can find mention of expansion options in the manufactures or retailers product information. Such a search for helpful information often proves futile.
What you really need is for someone who already has such a PC to open one up in a video and at least show you what to look for.
What I bought 3 years ago was a Dell 3647 SFF with a Pentium G3220 3.0 GHz processor, 4 GB of memory, a 500 GB HDD, a 220-watt power supply and all the usual connection options but limited expansion options. That’s the nature of the beast.
This PC has been running reliably since I bought it and today it has all the original equipment plus an additional 4 GB of memory and an Asus ATI Radeon HD6450 Silence video card with 1 GB DDR3 and VGA/DVI/HDMI video connections. The card fits in a Low-Profile PCI-Express slot. We’ll focus on the video card as an example of the complications you face when trying to expand an SFF PC.