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I'd like to fit a gaming PC in my living room, and am looking into small form factor ones.

I have been recommended the Alienware X51 series whose I appreciate the shape reminiscent of a gaming console, About Alienware one question I cannot find an answer for is if it would be safe to stack my PS3 on top of it (I do not have a lot of space in the living room)? I heard that the PC can get quite hot.

I also want to consider alternatives.

Are there other PC cases with shapes similar to the X51?
Most of the Mini-Itx have more like a "brick" shape, and seem harder to fit in the living room.

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There are many many more options if you build your own system, and you can then be more flexible in terms of the components and the machine that you end up with. For example: are you looking to max out the graphics card? do you want to be able to upgrade said card relatively easily in a year?

The other piece of advice is to not get too hung up on definitions. The HTPC cases are going to be more like what you are looking for in terms of looks and are perfectly capable of being gaming rigs. Take a look at the Silverstone cases as an example, and this one in particular for a fit in a living room:

Lascala 16

You might think that one is too big, after all it fits a standard ATX case, in which case you can check out the slim models etc. However, more space makes it easier to cool quietly and it looks just like an amp you might see as part of a normal home theater set up.

Silverstone are not the only game in town either, Streacom, Origen AE, Lian Li, Fractal Design have some amazing looking cases and more mainstream players like Corsair (the Bulldog is coming soon as of writing this) have options on the way.

In terms of pre-built systems places like QuietPC have been offering excellent (and quiet, of course) options that would certainly fit in your living room.

As to whether to stack your components, I would always recommend an air gap and no direct contact - even though the heat will generally exhaust out the back a lot of the small form factor units are going to radiate heat from the case directly.

I have cooked a wireless router while sitting on top of a PC and had overheating problems with an Apple TV for similar reasons. If you must stack, then always try to have the hottest component at the top.

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  • Thanks for all your suggestions, I'm going to check into the list of builders you gave. Also thank you for the advices about the heat. – wip Sep 10 '15 at 0:44

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