Overall and Final Verdict
Mini ITX builds have always been especially interesting to me. When I came across the PT13 and later the AR04 I was excited to build a PC with them, even without a specific use in mind. In the end a build using the pair would be perfect for an HTPC, router, or even just a small PC that takes up less room on your desk. That is because you aren’t limited in power where normally builds of this size are limited.
The PT13 might be simple but its all aluminum design does a great job of giving the case a little style. The only other styling is the ventilation holes on the sides and top of the case. Those holes also play a big role in keeping your PC cool because the PT13 doesn’t have a fan other than the CPU heatsink. This is where the AR04 comes in. The AR04 is designed to work with the PT13 and has to be one of the smallest heatsinks on the market. To give you an idea of its size, the plastic hold down clips are taller than the heatsink.
So what would I change with the PT13 combo? Well I would love to see USB 3.0 ports on the front of the case in the future with USB 3.0 being used more these days. I would also suggest you make sure your motherboard will fit in the PT13 as well. Its limited size and lack of PSU limits you just to a few motherboards. The AR04 also has a few small issues as well. First it is a little noisy due to its high fan speeds. I would have also liked to of seen a little more thermal paste be included with it.
All in all I don’t think there are a lot of other cases that will do what the PT13 and AR04 pair will. Not only are they extremely compact, but they also still support up to the 4770S assuming you have a Haswell motherboard. I think for now I will use my build as a new PFSense box here in the office, but if I get bored with that I can still move it over to be an HTPC or even a car computer.