Four models covered, three for the Intel Pentium D processor, and one Pentium M unit
View more images!
The i945 chipset has made it possible for the dual core Pentium D processor to make itself at home in mini PC enclosures. At least three different vendors now offer their own customized versions of such barebones systems for the US market, with more available in Europe and elsewhere. These systems are not only powerful, they're also quiet.
They have limitations too, of course. The capability of the onboard i945 graphics chipset wins no performance prizes, so if you want to game seriously, you'll need to add a capable graphics card for best results. That might also push some of these candidate systems beyond their limits. The same goes for other add-ins, such as installing a second Serial ATA hard disk, where lack of a second SATA port on some motherboards can be a problem. Still, if there's not enough room inside the enclosure on these barebones boxes, you can always go external. You'll find some interesting hardware products along those lines after the conclusion of this comparison review.
- Dual Core Instead Of Hyper-Threading
- AOpen XC Cube MZ915-M: An Intel Mobile CPU Alternative
- Biostar IDEQ 350G: Quiet And Elegant
- MSI MPC 945: A Dainty Mini-PC With Built-in WLAN
- Shuttle XPC SD31P: Lots Of Room To Grow This System
- Technical Specifications
- Summary And Conclusions
- Products Used In This Review