Which Type of Form Factor Is Used in Low-End Computers and Home Theater Systems?

Which Type of Form Factor Is Used in Low-End Computers and Home Theater Systems?
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Are you still wondering how your electronic devices work? How are they created, and what makes up their construction? These are just some of the simple yet intriguing questions that linger in your mind.

More particularly, if you wish to learn which type of form factor is used in low-end computers and home theater systems, then we’ve got you covered.

What Is A Form Factor?

A form factor refers to the overall functionality and design of a computer or electronic hardware. This is usually highlighted by a prominent feature that specifies the configuration, specification, size, and arrangement of the device.

Using form factors serve as a standard and prevent any connection compatibility issues that may occur among the numerous hardware used by different manufacturers. Form factors matter a lot since it offers the following functions:

  • It serves as the central backbone for the different parts and attachments present in the device.
  • It is highly interchangeable with several components for easier upgrading and possible customization.
  • It is responsible for the power distribution in the circuit boards.
  • It electronically coordinates the operations and interface of the components.

Types of Form Factors

Basically, the form factor identifies the necessary standards needed. It determines the general shape and size, type of case, required power supply, and the overall physical organization of the device. This includes the circuit board size, slot location, faceplate location, and the mount location to hold the motherboard in place.

Several form factors have been designed and implemented over the years. However, most of them are already obsolete or used for special purposes.

Tower Form Factor

The tower form factor varies depending on the height and the number of internal drive slots it has. It can be classified into full-tower, mid-tower, and mini-sized tower.

Full-tower normally stands at the height of about 30 inches or more and comes with six to 10 internal drive slots. It has more than enough room to accommodate ATX, a common full-sized motherboard that is vertically mounted to give more space and a more efficient cooling system.

Mid-tower ranges from 18 to 24 inches high and comes with two to four internal drive slots. In most cases, it can accommodate ATX but is highly recommended for mini ATX motherboard due to its fewer slots and buses.

Lastly, the mini-tower has a height of 12 to 18 inches and comes with only two to three internal drive slots. It can greatly accommodate a micro ATX motherboard with its limited expansion slots.

Pizza Box Form Factor

A pizza box form factor is commonly used for computer and network switches due to its wide and flat case structure. It comes in one to two rack units that almost resembles pizza delivery boxes, thus its name.

Normally, this system requires a low profile, shorter, and horizontally-placed expansion cards, including Flex ATX. It is originally designed for 19-inch racks but can be cut off in order to fit larger sized units.

Major applications of this form factor include industrial and data centers with limited rack space. The smaller systems and thin clients also use the pizza box form factor to embed multiple reduced units into one.

Small Form Factor

A small form factor (SFF) uses a more loosely-defined set of standards to reduce the volume and footprints. It is oftentimes lighter and smaller in construction, giving a more ergonomic design and easier accessibility.

Despite the smaller and more compact design, this type of form factor supports modern device’s construction, including standard processors, memory modules, and optical drives. Expansion features may be limited. Hence, customized and external options are being provided.

The small form factor is best used with a mini ITX motherboard and comes in various sizes and shapes, including cubic, shoe boxes, and book-sized units.

Mobile Form Factor

A mobile form factor features a portable design that is often smaller and cheaper. This includes a “clamshell” design form factor that is commonly used in laptops and notebooks.

Another is the mobile phone form factor that uses varying designs and styles depending on the unit, either bar, flip, or slider phones. All of which is compatible with mobile ITX, which is known to be the smallest form of a motherboard.

Which Type of Form Factor Is Used in Low-End Computers and Home Theater Systems?

Two of the most common devices that are frequently used either at home or in the office are a computer and a home theater system. Both of them use a particular form factor to ensure proper functioning and optimum performance.

In general, the Small Form Factor (SFF), especially the mini ITX, is commonly used in creating low-end computers and home theater systems. Their boards are often paired with 607 inches x 6.7 inches processor. However, there are cases when a motherboard-processor combo unit is used.

Benefits of Using SFF Systems

The use of SFF systems integrates an office computer or a home theater system without worrying much on accommodating large spaces. They will relatively take a small amount of space on your desk or entertainment room due to their reduced system components and dimensions.

The smaller size of SFF devices also offers easier portability. In fact, they are lightweight enough to be carried conveniently, even by the elderly. Packing these devices can be easily done as compared to traditional systems.

Moreover, devices using SFF tends to have lower power consumption than normal devices. This little demand for power is primarily due to lesser expansion cards and drives present, other than the primary ones.

Disadvantages of Using SFF Systems

However, the use of SFF in several devices also offers a number of limitations. In order to save space and maintain the small size, many expansion slots have been removed. This means that the user is limited only to fit in one to two slots.

Another issue involved with the use of SFF is the cost, which tends to be a bit higher. This can be attributed to the advanced engineering that is being applied to come up with these devices.


Knowing which type of form factor is used in low-end computers and home theater systems will give an overview of their structures and configurations. This will further enhance one’s knowledge of these essential devices.

Both these well-loved devices use a small form factor to ensure maximum performance. With the numerous form factors available, it is recommended to identify one’s goal prior to choosing the appropriate model or type. Each of them has its own unique characteristics and functions that will best fit your needs.

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