Discussion: The battle of ITX gaming. This will be interesting

So, we have had the Prodigy for a while now, which shook the itx market for quite some time, but now that more and more people are heading into the SFF market, we are seeing so many fabulous contenders.

Bitfenix Brodigy, courtesy overclockers.co.uk

Many people, even though the Prodigy got a face lift to support matx, are still moving to the competition to see what else is available in this go-tiny battle, and I think it can stand to reason why: the prodigy is simply one hell of an enormous itx system. Watercooling? Well, you may have a point there, but 5x120 of total available radiator space is overkill even for cf/sli setups.

Then there's the phenom and colossus series. Personally, it would be great for an matx system, but for an itx? No thanks, but it's still refreshing to see some good contenders in the matx market.

Bitfenix Phenom courtesy bit-tech.net

Bitfenix Colossus courtesy bit-tech.net

Lian-Li has had their fun with the PC-Q08, Q28, Q25, Q30, and T100. Cooler Master with their Elite 120/130 and that WTF Haf Stacker. Silverstone's SG05/06/07/08, and then their plethora of htpc cases. But all of these cases, with the exception of Lian-Li's PC-Q30, the WTF Stacker, and a couple of Silverstone's htpc's, lacked in innovation. Sure, most of them got simplicity down and kept the price reasonable, but in my opinion, none of them really shook the market because it was, for the most part, "been there, seen that" or "wtf is that?" (looking at you, Lian-Li)

Enter Fractal Design, which surprised us all with their minimalist but solid and elegant design when they flopped into the market with their Define and Define XL. I must admit that if I were to build another rig right now, I would choose the r4, hands down.
Well, they came back and brought some refreshing competition to the ITX market with the Node 304. (now in white, yaaaay)

Fractal Design Node 304, courtesy pcper.com

An absolutely outstanding case. Innovative, well thought out, expandable, great price point, and still downright beautiful. I must give Fractal's designers a hand. They know how to build elegant cases, without going gaudy or making them bastardy expensive. I've built in this case 3 times now, and I LOVE IT. Ever since it was released it has been the first case I recommend for ITX gaming builds, and my second recommendation for SFF NAS/server right next to the current king, the pc-q25, with its f***king 7 3.5" + 1 2.5" drive bays (we really need another contender to that q25, and the node 304 is the closest it comes)

LIan Li pc-q25 with 6/7 3.5 bays + 1 2.5 bay used courtesy silentpcreview.com

I mean seriously, someone PLEASE make another contender to the q25. That market needs to be shaken up a bit.

Well, on to the new contenders. 

At CES 2013 there were 2 ITX cases that really caught my eye. First, the ASROCK (yes, asrock, IKR?!?!) M8.

Asrock m8, courtesy hardforum.com

A great contender. It's about time someone other than F***ING DELL with their Alienware X51 took into account a f***ing riser card to save space
Co-designed by BMW, this case is nothing to gawk at. It supports a graphics card up to 11.4" long with room to spare for those beastly oversized coolers like the HIS blower-style or the Asus triple insanity (though I still would not use a non-blower style cooler in this or any itx) if you opt to not put hard drives on the tray beneath the gpu.

However, here's the real kicker.

It's only available as a barebone. The specs for it are as follows:
Silverstone 450w strider with short cable kit
Asrock z87 m8 (6 sata gb/s, quad-antenna AC wifi with bluetooth, 2 so-dimm ddr3, 4 usb3, 4 usb2, 1 gigabit, 1 esata, creative soundcore 3d)
Dvd combo slim ODD
Up to 5 2.5" drives or 1 3.5" and 1 2.5"
4 70mm fans
Front programmable OLED display with dial
$550, USD

Yeah, I know what you're thinking, 450w for a rig that asrock claims you can overclock, and that's WITH a gpu.
Don't put anything more than a 7870 or 760 in here. Just don't. Please spare the magic smoke.

Also... 550 bucks?? Really?? That needs to be dropped by at least 100 to remain competitive, unless Asrock really thinks that this barebone kit is the end-all be-all king. Or they spent all their money in R&D with BMW. Or both.

I'm just interested in the case, f**ck off, other hardware. 

If you really want to see more about it, here's a video.



Next, also appeared at CES 2013, the Silverstone Raven ITX.

Silverstone Raven-i, courtesy of techpowerup.com

So, another awesome case. I'm more excited for this than any other case rumored to come out. Specs have not been confirmed, but what we can see here are 3 3.5" bays at the top, a slim odd, and I assume some place to put a few more drives if you opt not to have fans below the risen gpu. If you look closely at the side of the case in the second picture, it looks like you can also put in 2 more 80/92mm fans.

I can already see the cons for this case, and the largest one would be cable management. However, Silverstone has always been very good with their manuals in their SFF cases, and more than likely the first thing in there will be something along the lines of "Silverstone recommends this case to be used with our short cable kit."
The second con is all that damn plastic. Hopefully we see less of that in the production model. 

I don't know about you guys, but these last 2 cases, the M8 and the Raven ITX are what I have been waiting for for a long time. The first place I would put an ITX gaming rig would be in the home theater. HTPC's tend to be either too large to consider to put next to your a/v equip, or so slim you could never even imagine doing anything other than an APU. Now, we have cases the size of x-bones and playsh*tters that actually have full-sized gpu support.

In short, thanks to these 2 cases, we should see more contenders like this in the coming year. 

:D yay.

That's all I have, folks.


Enjoy Lightning derping.

Now, let's discuss this.


I like the Raven ITX and M8. Taking design elements from servers with the riser card to lay expansion cards flat with the mobo (servers have only been doing this for like...... 15 years+) It increases density ten-fold.

My only concerns is cooling tbh. With everything crammed tight, your going to require some airflow which in turn increases noise with the use of high airflow/CFM/RPM fans.

Off Topic in regards to the prodigy being an mATX case. I personally think it could of been done FAR FAR better. With a mobo tray in the middle of the case like below and the PSU behind it. 


Totally Pumped for FFXIII: Lightning Returns :D

It's about freaking time that some company used a riser card for an SSF case. Not only does it increase the density ton fold, but it also increases the usability ton fold.

It will be very attractive to the htpc market, but you're right, noise may be an issue, however it looks like Silvserstone was able to remedy that by using dual 120mm fan mounts below the GPU, which will provide airflow not only to the graphics card, but could also be the primary intake for the entire machine if done correctly. I think that it's a promising case for the next generation of ITX gaming.

I didn't see anyone mention the Aerocool DS case. It's pretty nice for $75. For more pictures and infos http://www.aerocool.us/ds/ds_black.html

The aerocool DS is a fantastic case, however I tried to restrict the thread to ITX as much as possible.

That, and it's hard to call that case even an sff case, it's about the same size as an atx mircotower.

What game is the derp from?

Final Fantasy XIII/Final Fantasy XIII-2

I'm in love with the final fantasy and most affiliating franchises, it's one of the only reasons I have not ditched my consoles.

EVGA Hadron Air, anyone?!

well, i'm on the path of the Hadron Air or the Prodigy or the Prodigy M, but still don't know, but i have already all the parts of the internals, now i just need a case

im cumming

so many ugly cases in this thread.. dare i say hideous

well what case you like, because for me those are beautiful, i prefer the small cases that the big ones :D

Every time I see an itx case, the components set fire in my head.

why? is nice to have something small that you can move around easily 

Seeing high end components that produce lots of heat is why they set fire in my head.

that's not what she said. bah dum chiiiiiii

i want to mount my gfx card out side the case

well thats why you use wattercooling :D

i don't know why but it's your build :D you can put what ever you want, where ever you want