Who wants to start a SFF computer company?

I agree with you regarding the opportunity…

but developing an idea is the easy part…securing venture capital, managing inbound/outbound logistics, negotiating with 3rd party services, surviving test market evaluations from distributors/vendors and maintaining profit margin over time is the hard part.

I completely agree. I think many of the computer companies have dropped the ball on making a true, kitchen computer. I went to great lengths to conceal the CPU under the counter and run only the mouse and LCD monitor up top. I’m trying to not use a keyboard and just use it as an internet terminal, with all of my website favorites saved. that way, no typing!

But getting back to the SFF’s, I’d like to see some of us post our sketches and ideas. I’ll try to post something soon.

Here’s a different kind of pc out there now… the MCC PC by www.Modularpc.com … 3" x .75" x 5" full windows XP computer

it is not as fast as a real desktop, but about the same as a modern laptop - 1.2 Ghz Transmeta, 512 MB ram, 16 MB video

I have seen these and they are about the same size as an OQO, but a ruggedized and modular. No ports, screen, input… save the big plug at the bottom. Just plug this in whatever form factor you need; Desktop, laptop, rugged microtablet, wearable pc, etc…

You could take the planar out of this and stick it in all kinds of stuff…


another small form factor PC… an internet appliance with a decent processor - don’t even know, but I think it “can” run XP.

maybe not upgradeable really either (does have a minipci slot inside and ram slots), but different

I agree (again)…just pointing out the tough parts of an effort like this.

But, instead of the typical techy/gamer design language (PSP, XBox, etc.)…it may be more interesting to approach the solution from more of a lifestyle angle. Can it be used in the kitchen (online cooking tutorial while preparing a meal?), taken into the mall (reference microsoft money before buying that 60" LCD TV), etc.

the one above with the kickstand was for older investors who didn’t already have a PC… some crazy marketing plan they had at IBM. It was supposed to blend into their living spaces as a picture frame when they weren’t using it to invest. household camoflauge to make it slip into their lives easier.

I kind of like the internet fridge for cooking… wish I could afford one. it seems like it would never be in the way, but very convienent to use

something like this?


very cool, but where’s the on button?

that joeyroth.com one is amazing. you should enter it in the microsoft / IDEO competition

SFF computers are cool but for more serious design or even business applications you are going to run into expandability problems. You are not only limited by the number of optical drives you can add but you are also limited in the number of internal hard disks.

I ran into this problem with an IBM Aptive I once owned. It was a mini tower and had NO room to expand (which came quickly as my computer became outdated a month after buying it). I had to run hard drives, card readers, and everything else off a hub which left me with a jungle of USB and power cables. More mess than the SFF was worth.

I now own a full sized tower and couldn’t be happier. That beast can handle anything.

You are certainlly onto something… I am still considering buying a mac mini for that sole purpose… and the last thing I need is another mac…

I don’t think SFF chassis will ever be ideal for “heavy-lifting” computing, like 3D CAD or acting as a server. These make a ton of sense for home or business computers though, because in both these markets, computers are usually replaced before being expanded. I don;t know of any business that even allows their employees to tinker with the systems. These small, attractively designed systems that are somewhat hard to open and fiddle with seem perfect for general business and home users.

I could also see the silent Roth design mentioned above working well in a recodring studio, where stuff needs to be sexy and silent :wink:

wouldn’t recording studios want an expandable, powerful machine? crunching all that sound doesn;t come cheap

there are actually some seni-powerful motherboards that come in small form factors… 5" x 4" x .5" (roughly). We develop small pc products and have been looking into some of these boards.

they are very expandable and are roughly the equivilent to desktop replacement laptops… PCI-Express connections, GBs of ram, mini-pci for wireless, etc…

Two companies seem to have the best stuff, Radisys and AAEON. Seriously, it wouldn’t take much for a competent ID to build a great product with these…

To me, this http://www.joeyroth.com/totemo/totemorenderings3.htm is about as good as it can get. frikkin beautiful. but it says it uses a pico btx motherboard. wtf is that? seriously lowers my respect for this design if it can only work with some obscure components.

i don’t get get. it looks like a radiator with copper tubes through it. or what you see when you open up your AC to change the filter.

well, it’s definitely going for a minimal/ industrial look, but it’s a serious breath of fresh of air compared to the oversculpted injection-molded piles of shit that pass for computer cases today.

cleaning instructions please

Minimalist PC
READ MORE: Mini-box, PCs, VIA, VoomPC
For a true bare bones computer system, check out the VoomPC, by VIA and Min-box. It’s actually made for your a car or other vehicles and goes for $299-$399. Integrating the Mini-box M1-ATX 12V power supply unit, it can protect itslef from power surges and eliminate car battery drain by monitoring battery levels, even when the car isn’t running. Hoping to allow car manufacturers to add things like GPS navigation, communication, entertainment and information functionality (perfect for law enforcement, rescue and commercial transport), the computer’s processor is VIA’s C3 1000MHz chip. Also gives six-channel surround sound. Comes with USB2.0, Firewire, Ethernet, PCMCIA types I and II CardBus interface for GPRS/Wifi, S-Video and VGA.

VIA and Mini-box Announce the VoomPC [Mobilemag]

it’ll be interesting to see what comes of the microsoft/ idsa competition this november