Saturday, April 18, 2015

My SFF gaming rig is so heavy!

SFF build

When I slimmed down my old gaming rig to the one that is shown in the photo above, I had one goal. Make it as small as possible without compromising on performance. However, after I built the PC, I felt that there should have been two goals and that I wasn’t able to satisfy that second one. Weight!

I had to do many changes to the internals of the PC after I built it. Install new fans, change the CPU cooler multiple times, swap the graphics cards (few times actually, due to my issues with the MSI GTX 970 Gaming card) and also experiment with the case fan layout. All those times, I had to pick up the PC from the top of the desk and carry it to the kitchen to work on it. That was necessary because in our small apartment, I had to move as far away from the kid as possible, as the opportunity would be ruined if he woke up from the noise. From the very first moment I picked it up, I felt that it rather felt heavy for its size. It is understandable because the internal components haven’t really changed from what it replaced; just the case was smaller. Sure, now I have a smaller cooler than the Silver Arrow or a lighter PSU than the Corsair TX850 or a micro ATX motherboard instead of an ATX board thus being lighter. But that difference would hardly add up to a kilo I bet.

Finally I decided to properly measure the weight of my PC. Instead of unplugging the cables and carrying it to the kitchen where the scale is kept, I decided to bring the scale into the living room and sneak it through the PC and the desk. The Surface of the desk seemed hard enough to give an accurate enough value.

So how much does it weigh?


12.5 frigging kilos! That's almost half of the baggage allowance! If it was less than 10kg then I would have been happy.

Is it even possible to drop the overall tally below the 10kg mark? I doubt I will be able to do that just by changing the components alone. A further shrinkage to the Mini-ITX level seems inevitable, which would be a substantial cost.

But before getting too ahead of myself, I decided to search for the weight of each component that's currently housed inside my PC. I ignored the weight of the CPU, RAM and the SSD because they hardly contribute to the overall weight.

  • Silverstone SG09 Case: 5.3kg
  • Asus Maximus VII Gene motherboard: 1.5kg (deducted from a shipping weight of 4 pounds)
  • Noctua NH-U12S CPU cooler with NF-F12 fan: 0.755g 
  • Gigabyte GTX 970 Gaming G1 video card: 0.9kg (deducted from a shipping weight of 2.4 pounds)
  • Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB HDD: 0.73kg
  • Toshiba 3TB HDD: 0.68kg
  • Silverstone 750W PSU: 2.1kg (this is significant)
  • 2x Enermax 92mm fans: 0.2kg (deducted from a shipping weight of 0.119kg each)
  • 1x Enermax 120mm fan on the CPU cooler: 0.125kg (deducted from a shipping weight of 0.158kg)
All of that adds up to 12.5kg. The components that can really make a difference are the case, PSU, CPU cooler,  hard drives and the video card. I am not sure how much I can lower the weight even if I change these components. A lighter case will probably get the total below the 10kg mark, however if I stick with MICRO-ATX form factor, I will have to give up on volume of the case because the SG09/10 are as low as you can go without comprising on compatibility. I don't want that either. 

That means one thing. I will have to go for a Mini ITX build if I want to lower the weight of the rig. And that's a substantial amount of money which I am not comfortable with unless I can get the total weight to around 8kg. This needs a lot of research and I actually do have time. 

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