Now that Microsoft and Sony have released their next-generation consoles in the new Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PlayStation 5 -- they've shown what type of gaming you can get out of a decently-sized form factor, and enough power for 4K 60FPS and beyond gaming.
After the release of the consoles I wanted to personally explore that by building some new SFF (small form factor) gaming PCs with varying cases, and some of the fastest GPU silicon on the planet by installing an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, GeForce RTX 3090, AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT, or Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card.
For the last 25-30 years I've had every sized PC you can imagine while defaulting to a regular tower or a larger tower... and only really using SFF systems here and there. I've shifted heavily to SFF systems for productivity and gaming, and have been playing on the PlayStation 5 with my daughter.
The purchase of the PS5 was paramount to these articles, as I wanted a sense of what the PS5 could do -- 4K 60FPS with ray tracing on both Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. I'm using a 77-inch LG CX series 4K 120Hz OLED, with HDMI 2.1 connectivity giving me 4K 120/144FPS support.
I wanted to compare some of the best visuals you can get on the next-gen consoles, and those games -- both developed by Insomniac Games by the way -- are some of the best-looking games on the next-gen consoles, period. They're downright jaw-dropping on the OLED, let me tell you that.
PS5 + proper next-gen games + OLED = next level.
I wanted to replicate those same feels, but with an SFF gaming PC. I couldn't stop at one, that's not the way I work and that's not what TweakTown is all about. Right? TWEAK town, not STOCK town. Sorry, I had to... so tweak away I did, and built 4 new SFF gaming systems using 4 sets of parts from 4 companies.
Today, we're starting with Raijintek and their PAN SLIM HTPC case.
I thought a multi-part series on this might be fun, and highlight some potential SFF gaming builds for your new PC. I would love to explore air-cooled vs AIO cooled in every single case... that would be interesting, but for now I've asked the companies to send me one of their SFF cases and required accessories and other parts.
For some of the systems, I've used air cooling, and in some I've used an AIO liquid cooler -- Raijintek for this system, the very first SFF gaming PC that I've built, is using their own AIO liquid cooler.
Raijintek steps up right out of the gate by including a PCIe ribbon cable in the box, which is required to get the GPU mounted away from the motherboard. There's a GPU support bracket built-in, which handled my GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, too.
PAN SLIM Features
Raijintek has a sleek and very wide, but thin chassis with its PAN SLIM. The design looks fantastic with its four feet on the bottom, with enough room to put a monitor on top. You wouldn't want to put a TV on top of it, but you could have a monitor on it if you wanted the PAN SLIM on your desk.
But, the Raijintek PAN SLIM doesn't feel suited to a desk to me, so it went on my shelving and used as an SFF gaming PC and sometimes HTPC for some media playback. I also used the PAN SLIM with some serious hours pumped into some gaming, including Warzone, Back 4 Blood, Flight Simulator, and more.
I was even crypto mining on both the CPU and GPU for a couple of weeks, where during winter it would keep my room warm enough that I didn't need to put the heater on. Not bad... not bad at all. That also acts as a good torture test for the cooling side of things, which the PAN SLIM did well. I wouldn't go using the system with your GPU running flat knackers 24/7 without taking the top off.
For spouts of hours of gaming here and there, or even 8-12 hours a day of gaming... at least it'll have some downtime. For everything else, the Raijintek PAN SLIM was quite the experience for the first SFF gaming PC with a GeForce RTX 3090 inside.
I didn't just want to build an SFF gaming PC for the heck of it, the entire point of this series was to try get the very fastest graphics card inside of it without compromising that. It had to be at least a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti or Radeon RX 6800 XT, but primarily GeForce RTX 3090 and Radeon RX 6900 XT.
This means you want the system to have enough physical room in the case, which the PAN SLIM did, and enough airflow to keep the card flowing with air since there's not much room inside of an SFF gaming chassis. Rainjintek does well here, but the RTX 3090 Founders Edition on its own is a toasty mofo.
There's a couple of USB ports on the front, with a USB-C connector thrown into the mix as well.
Here's the parts I used in my build, a few of the parts I had to buy myself -- the ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 I purchased myself from an Australian retailer, the LG CX 77-inch 4K 120Hz OLED TV was the present I purchased myself for hitting 10 years here at TweakTown, while the rest of the parts were provided to me by some awesome partners in Raijintek, Sabrent, and others. Thank you, everyone!
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X (buy from Amazon)
- CPU cooler: Raijintek EOS 240 RBW (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Kingston Hyper-X Predator 16GB DDR4-3200 (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 4TB NVMe M.2 (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: Corsair SF600 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Raijintek PAN SLIM
- TV 1: LG CX 77-inch 4K 120Hz OLED (buy from Amazon)
- Monitor 2: Eve Spectrum 27-inch 4K 144Hz
- Desk: OmniDesk XL 2020 series
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 (buy from Amazon)
Raijintek PAN SLIM Build Pics
The Raijintek PAN SLIM might look -- well, SLIM -- but man you can fit some incredibly fast hardware inside. You could put in an enthusiast-level AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor, Intel Core i9-11900K processor -- 32GB+ DDR4 RAM, a ridiculously huge and fast PCIe 4.0 SSD, and as you can see -- NVIDIA's flagship GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition graphics card.
Oh, and a 240mm AIO liquid cooler.
From the front, the PAN SLIM looks fantastic -- loving, loving the feet here.
Raijintek branding on the front bottom left, with the grills on the left looking absolutely fantastic. You might not see these grills when you're using it, but it really adds to the finish of the case.
Around the back you can see the air grills on the left, ASRock X570 motherboard and its I/O ports, and GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition sitting vertically inside of the Raijintek PAN SLIM chassis.
Raijintek impressed me with the design and feel of the PAN SLIM, which made me want to set up a 1950s-styte room with a drinks cart, an old sofa, a TV cabinet with the Raijintek PAN SLIM inside, and then the ridiculous futuristic 77-inch LG CX OLED TV in the middle of it.
It looks so good on some shelving and can mix in with some books, figurines, or boxes next to it. Normally in something found in this form factor you'd be constrained as to what you can put inside, but I had a flagship NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition graphics card inside and was gaming at 4K 120FPS on it without a problem.
Raijintek has a very unique case that was a lot of fun to work with and use, and it definitely got a few looks when I had it out and used. Sitting in my room keeping me warm during winter since I was crypto mining here and there on it was great too, as it didn't stand out against the rest of my setup in my room.
There's plenty of room to add in some 120mm fans if you went with a slim-line air cooler for your CPU, as well as plenty of room to add in 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch HDDs or SSDs for storage. I was using a single Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus NVMe M.2 SSD in my Raijintek PAN SLIM gaming system, so they were no use to me. But for a HTPC or Plex server, they would come in handy and give you the ability to hold many 10s of terabytes of storage.