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Old 10-10-2005, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
Newb Techie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4
Default Small Form Factor PC's (SFF)

Hey everyone, I needed a forum that was focused on PC hardware to help me with some questions that I have about a new build I am planning... usually I go to the Hardware forum at, but currently they're down, although this looks like it could be a very helpful place.

First off, last year (I was 16) I built my very first computer, it's basic specs were:
Athlon64 3200+
MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum
MSI 6600GT PCI-e
1GB (2x512) Corsair RAM
80GB Samsung HDD
Windows XP Professional

Well, after many months of researching on (great site), I finally purchased these parts and built my very first PC. It ended up being very successful, and games ran like a dream on it (compared to what I was used to). Well, now that I'm 17 and am about to graduate, I don't believe I'll have the money to fulfill my PC gaming hobby. Not to mention that the only game that I've finished in the past two years, is Call of Duty and it's expansion (I know, I know... I'm addicted), so the cost I've been putting into my computer to play games, really hasn't been justified.

Well, now I'm thinking about selling this computer (anyone interested?) and building a small form factor PC (SFF). The only things I'll likely be using it for is internet/school, movies, Call of Duty, and putting files onto my PSP. However, I know next to nothing about small form factor PC's, and am looking for a little help.

Alright, now that the introductions are over. The setup that I'm currently thinking about is an AMD Socket A (462), a DVD player, 512mb of ram (to start off atleast) and a relatively good video card. This will allow me to play not-so-demanding games (such as Call of Duty, and the upcoming The Movies), as well as watch movies and do basic functions like Word for school.

Currently, the two ones that I'm looking at are:
Biostar's IDEq 200N


Biostar's IDEq 210V

What I'm really wondering is, are small form factor PC's a smart decision? Normally I'd go with a normal ATX-form tower, however this won't be a very powerful PC, and therefor I'll have the money to try out something a little different. I don't see myself upgrading it anytime soon, once I decide to get back into PC gaming, I'll likely just sell it and build a new one.

So, does anyone have any experience in building these? Which of these two will give me better bang for my buck (I'm assuming the 200N)? Is Socket A (462) going to be good enough for these basic functions, since I don't intend on upgrading this machine? Will standard sized ATX hardware work inside of these computers? Will the included 200W PSU be good enough for a DVD Rom, perhaps an Nvidia 5200, 80GB HDD, and around a 2400+ or less CPU? If not, do these two computers both take ATX-form power supplies, and what wattage would you suggest? Maybe I should just go with another band/model, since my only trust for Biostar lies in the many reviews for their product on

Any of these questions that you could answer would be greatly appreciated. Again, I know next to nothing about these particular machines and therfor don't want to make any mistakes in ordering compatible parts for it.


AndrewMP is offline  
Old 10-10-2005, 02:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
True Techie
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 187

alright i'm about the same age as you (just a few months different) so i kind of know how ya feel. anyhow, here are the major factors i see: onboard computer component quality, upgradability, socket the motherboard uses, and RAM speed. ok so first we can cross off upgradability and socket because they're the exact same on both those issues. The major differences between the 2 are the onboard computer component quality and RAM speed. On the 200N, you have much better onboard components; you have an NVIDIA video chipset and Realtek audio (my personal two favorite brands for onboard components). On the 210V, it has a VIA video chipset (i've personally had problems with it) and some C-Media audio chipset (never heard of them...). Another major difference is the RAM speed on the motherboards. Only the 210V can support PC3200, which will obviously give you better gaming performance. Therefore, the whole decision depends on how much you are going to upgrade. If you are going to be putting a new video card in and you don't mind (possibly) poor quality audio, i'd go with the 210V. You'll get better performance. However, if you want good (comparatively) onboard components and just plan on using it for educational purposes, i'd go with the 200N.
As for your other questions:
-Socket A is plenty; Athlon xps are good at gaming.
-ATX hardware will work fine (what other type is out there lol?)
-the 200W power supply will be enough
-no, normal size power supplies won't fit in there (at least not in the case i tried...)
-I personally like Shuttle SFF cases but these look fine too
Well I hope this advice has helped you and I wish you good luck with your education!

bobafett573 is offline  
Old 10-10-2005, 04:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4

Thanks alot Bobafett.

The sound quality is going to be pretty important to me, so I believe I'll go with the 200V. Although I'm not exactly sure how that particular video card compares to the one I'm used to, I'll have to check out some benchmarks. Anyway... thanks for your help.
AndrewMP is offline  
Old 10-10-2005, 05:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
Content Team
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 67

Andrew, I think I can help you out. If you have AIM or something I can contact you on, I can help you. I specialize in SFF's and have owned nothing but SFF's for the past couple years. I built quite a few for family and friends that perform as well as if not better than towers.
PatrickK is offline  
Old 10-10-2005, 06:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
Newb Techie
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4

Hey Patrick, I'd appreciate any points that you might have. My MSN is

Thanks pal,
AndrewMP is offline  
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