Theirs just not enough attention i think to reducing size as well as noise around here.
I'm all for going small form factor, but there are several trends which make it an undesirable/unachievable option for many silencers:
1) The number of micro-ATX boards that undervolt I can count on the fingers of one hand. (OK, I exaggerate, but you get the gist) Undervolting is one of the main tools in the silencers toolbox; without this it's almost impossible to get true inaudibility.
2) Mini-itx options are slow, expensive, lack upgradeability and require expensive RAM and adapters.
3) Almost everything that is smaller than standard is also more expensive: slimline optical drives, 2.5" hard drives, PW200M + power brick, etc. It is much, much cheaper to buy standard size PSU's, optical drives and hard drives.
So going smaller is a desirable goal, but the performance and cost penalties are prohibitive.
1. you wouldnt need to undervolt if you built the computer on a low power cpu in the first place like a pentium-m, via, or turion processor.
2. they are expensive, and lack upgradeability, but they are not slow, and they use standard ram. lack of upgradeability however is usually compensated by the fact that they are highly integrated boards that usually come with everything you need onboard. you can get boards with pci-e 16x slots, mini-pci slots etc etc for those one or two things you cant get integrated on a boad.
3. smaller is more expensive. quieter is also more expensive. ive seen discussion threads that say the average SPCR'er spends around 300-400 USD on just silencing their computers. thats about the amount it would take extra to shrink the size of the computer down to mini-itx as well.
performance isnt necisarily sacrificed if you pick your components carefully. I'm currently building a gamming rig on a mini-itx system with a pentium-M processor, 2gb dual channel 533 ddr2 memory and the upcomming 7600gt video card. total extra cost of the system over a normal atx system is around 400 bucks. but some of that cost also will reduce system noise, like the 2.5" hard drive, and low power consumption resulting in only a single 80mm undervolted fan. so the extra cost to shrink the system in size also incorperates the cost to make it silent. and since the average SPCR'er spends around 300-400 just making it silent anyhow, they could get a smaller system for the same cost as well if they did it right.
Typo patrol: page three says "Turiuon".
Aris: if you want small, I think that laptops are the most reasonable choice. I paid CAD 365 (~USD 320) for a used IBM X21 ultraportable that is likely smaller in volume than the average mini-ITX case. It came with a PIII-M 700 MHz that can kick the crap out of every VIA processor out of the market right now and 256 MB of RAM which is enough to run Windows 2000 quite comfortably. The CPU fan is all but silent - the only audible part of the laptop is the old hard drive, which is quite easily replaced. If the 12" screen is unsatisfactory for you, you can always hook up an external monitor. Laptop keyboards are also quieter than desktop keyboards
. Oh, and even the most dead battery will be able to sustain operation long enough for you to save any critical documents should the power go out
Notebooks as of yet do not have upgradable video cards. when they do, then notebooks will become a viable option for me. not all mini-itx boards utilize VIA cpu's. my upcomming mini-itx system will be a very powerfull gamming rig. read reply above this for specs. as for size, i'm very happy with an enclosure with exterier deminsions of 8"x8"x4".