2014 could be the year of the small desktop. An ever growing number of motherboard manufacturers are introducing Mini ITX boards, as well as a lot of new cases that are being put on the market. We thought this called for a new test on Hardware.Info of this formfactor with a new test platform.
It is no news that the desktop market has been under pressure over the last few years, but we are seeing encouraging signs of improvement. Sales of All in One PCs for instance are steadily growing, even though many see this form factor as the combination of the disadvantages of both a laptop and a desktop PC (very difficult to upgrade and not suitable for mobile use). The main reason for the growing popularity of All in Once PCs is the ever decreasing price levels and the fact that mobile processors nowadays are fast enough for most tasks, making the choice for an All in One less of a compromise than a few years ago.
If you are looking for proper processing power however a All in One will not suffice. Even the most expensive models are equipped with a mobile GPU, only comparable to their desktop equivalents by the model number. To be able to get rid of the heat generated by modern GPUs you need ventilation space, something that is not available in an All in One PC. However there are plenty of small form factor desktop cases that do offer room for a dual slot graphics card, and these Mini ITX cases are the ones we are testing in this article.