Everything in technology seems to be getting smaller….except smartphones. Die sizes on CPUs and GPUs are shrinking. Motherboards and PCBs for GPUs are shrinking while adding greater performance and features. This is especially noticeable in graphics cards. My GTX 660 Ti performs on levels comparable with a GTX 580, yet draws far less power and looks positively lost in a full-tower case. Had you shown me this card a year ago, I would have assumed it was a budget card made for an HTPC with limited 3D capabilities. Of course, the 660 Ti is an incredible gamer….and I happen to have one in my HTPC case. And it fits easily. It's probably smaller than the Droid DNA, but that’s OK, because for some reason, we are all suddenly compelled to have phones larger than our graphics cards.
SFF and HTPC builds are seriously changing due to size changes in components. There are feature rich Z77 mITX boards out there changing the entire landscape of the form factor. Obviously, the shrinking footprint of graphics cards is spurring this along as well. We all know how enthusiasts love to tinker (myself included), so the next thing you know, we are seeing SFF builds with Core i7 3770Ks and 660 Ti solutions, many times with both overclocked. If you are a tinkerer, you overclock….it’s just force of habit. The thing is, if you tinker, you are going to need a way to keep those components cool, and SFF and cooling don’t always seem to go hand in hand.
Silverstone’s newest low profile offering, the NT06-Pro, packs a great amount of design and engineering into a very small physical form. Designed to meet the needs of SFF/HTPC builds, the Silverstone NT06-Pro stands a mere 83mm tall including the fan, but manages to get six 6mm heatpipes running through a copper base comfortably into that space. A horizontal aluminum fin array helps to dissipate the heat, while a 20mm slim 1000~2200 rpm 120mm fan handles the air movement chores. Unlike many slim fans we have seen, the Silverstone NT06-Pro fan is capable of ramping up to produce air movement similar to full width fans, topping out at 73.96 CFM. The NT06-Pro includes a versatile mounting kit compatible with Intel 775/1155/1156/1366/2011, as well as AMD AM2/AM3/FM1/FM2, with simple solid installation on both platforms.