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Do you think it would be better to assemble a SFF PC instead of getting a desktop replacement?


K4sum1

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Seeing how laptops are getting more and more locked down and power restricted is making me think that maybe a SFF PC could be a better portable workstation than a laptop. Desktop replacements do have some advantages, like the battery functioning as a UPS, integrated display, smaller size, etc, etc. However I've recently been thinking that it might be better to have a thin and light 13-15 in laptop to take wherever, and have a SFF PC for long trips or when more power might be needed. SFF PCs are much easier to work on and replace stuffs than laptops, assuming you have a decent case. There is also more expandability, as decent boards can support 4 or more drives. It also uses desktop parts for everything, which are usually significantly cheaper than their laptop counterparts.

 

This has led me to think that maybe I should just build a SFF gaming PC instead of repairing my 8770W or buying a newer laptop, but I still like the all in one nature of laptops, so I'm not sure.

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With the way the market is heading in terms of real DTRs and the costs of pseudo DTRs (GT77, Scar 17), an SFF with a portable 17.3" LCD and a good TKL is a very viable option when you are needing a system in a location for hours or days and not quick portability site to site.

 

 

GT77 has 4 memory slots and M.2 bays which is pretty extensive and good temps even under load.

 

 

Depending on what Clevo does next time around I'm thinking a nice, small SFF with a wireless KB/M combo and 17.3"-20" portable display.

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Probably no. I heard that the GPUs next gen will be nuclear warheads with TDP >= 400W, even the xx70 will be near 300W (and looks like performance difference won't be that much different from a 3090?)

Right now if you go very SFF the best choice you can have is the blower RTX 3090, which sounds like a vaccum cleaner. I have a A4 SFX with a blower 3080 assembled and it still weights ~7kg.

 

And just forget about anything smaller than a A4 SFX.  All the powerful smaller SFFs are almost as locked down as a laptop, such as the P360 Ultra. While not having significant performance leads

 

If you need to play games/ do graphics work, then probably just get a Clevo. They are still somewhat upgradable.

Or maybe something like this: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1hS4y1H7aT

 

Otherwise, if what you are doing is CUDA works/ deep learning etc. etc. It might be better to have your desktop running at home and do a bit port forwarding to access it via remote desktop.

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I saw a comment on a YouTube video, and it kinda makes me want to go big or go home

32242858_Node202watercool.png.8468508f166a00169477b4075e407927.png

Precision M4800 - i7 4810MQ, 32GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro M2200

Thinkpad T430 - i7 3630QM, 16GB RAM, Intel HD 4000, 1080p display mod

Main PC - AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, 64GB RAM, RTX 2080 Ti

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18 hours ago, K4sum1 said:

I saw a comment on a YouTube video, and it kinda makes me want to go big or go home

32242858_Node202watercool.png.8468508f166a00169477b4075e407927.png

 

I also have node 202. It's kind of limited as well. If you don't want to go watercooling then you are pretty much stucked with blower cards. CPU is kinda okay as AXP-100 is a decent fit for it, capable of cooling a 2700x (Maybe also a bit room for OCing if you add a few 4cm fans on top

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I had to look up what SFF means in this context, lol.

 

I've been on gaming laptops for about 9 years now and I'm sad to say I'm on my last one. Build quality just seems to have gone down over the past few generations so I'm looking for alternatives.

 

To answer the question in the title, I think it depends a lot on what you need the PC for. If it's gaming, then probably a SFF PC is not a good option. For me gaming means high end parts and good/quiet cooling. If it doesn't need to be portable, a good quality full size case is probably a better choice.

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I have the loque S1 case with dual 120MM rad space ready for when I do a desktop build.

Sager NP9877

Hybrid Watercooled setup, D5 pump with dual 140MM fans integrated into custom stand. All controlled via temp outputs from GPU and CPU.

17.3" 1440p 120Hz display

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  • 6 months later...

I have been in this situation for several years, and I think two things are worth mentioning. 

 

Depending on how far you go

How powerful you want

And how much you want to carry.

 

Things changed with the 3000 series as cards got a lot bigger, so cases got bigger on the SFF front.

The Sugo SG13 was capable of handling a 2080ti dual slot in a small package without performance hit. Now to fit a 4080 or larger would require a, still small in the scheme of things, but notably larger case and design than the general SG13. 

 

And as mentioned cooling in even these larger smaller cases can be challenging for the top end cards limiting performance.

 

A modern 4090 mobile seems to outperform a desktop 3080/3090. So if you have the money and don't need/won't use desktop 4080+ performance I find it hard to recommend building an SFF.

 

Because a SFF will still need keyboard, monitor (of sufficient resolution and size to justify hauling desktop power around 1440p would be pointless for a 4070+ desktop gpu), ancillary items like HDMI, and a way to safely pack and ship (pull GPU for transit) or bring on airplane. A light SFF of sufficient power to justify hauling it around is going to be a lot heavier and less convenient than any powerful laptop. 

 

I had both a powerful 3080 mobile laptop and SFF that I would take, but only because I had the SFF previously built with 3070ti (most powerful at the time that was smaller dual slot). The desktop came in car trips. I did not bother if I was flying.

 

But since the 4090 laptops beat both in terms of performance, both will probably be sold to fund one powerful laptop.

 

If I was doing it for the first time now and traveling, I would just go laptop if I could afford it.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/18/2022 at 7:05 AM, RMSMajestic said:

Probably no. I heard that the GPUs next gen will be nuclear warheads with TDP >= 400W, even the xx70 will be near 300W (and looks like performance difference won't be that much different from a 3090?)

Right now if you go very SFF the best choice you can have is the blower RTX 3090, which sounds like a vaccum cleaner. I have a A4 SFX with a blower 3080 assembled and it still weights ~7kg.

 

And just forget about anything smaller than a A4 SFX.  All the powerful smaller SFFs are almost as locked down as a laptop, such as the P360 Ultra. While not having significant performance leads

 

If you need to play games/ do graphics work, then probably just get a Clevo. They are still somewhat upgradable.

Or maybe something like this: https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1hS4y1H7aT

 

Otherwise, if what you are doing is CUDA works/ deep learning etc. etc. It might be better to have your desktop running at home and do a bit port forwarding to access it via remote desktop.

 

Just to correct the inaccuracy: the blower 3090 Ti is silent to barely audible in a tower case. In a small case it would be audible, but nowhere close to a vacuum cleaner. 

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I like the TU150 since I could easily fit the NH-D15 CPU cooler and a 3 slot card. At the time I was using the 5700XT, I think its a 2.25 or 2.5 slot card and I had 15mm fans on the bottom bringing air in. Only thing that ruined it was the glass window, didnt allow for any venting.

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