Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 6: Gifts For Geeks and Gamers

The Smallest Core 2 Duo Computer: AOpen MiniPC MP-945 VXR

If you want to show off with your new PC, how about one so small that some people might not even find it? Aopen's miniPC Duo is one of the smallest fully-featured computers you can buy today; it's tiny, yet capable of taking on even demanding workloads, due to its support for a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processor.

Due to its compact dimensions, it won't accept a regular graphics card, so it relies on the integrated graphics of the 945GM chipset; it also runs a 2.5" hard drive instead of a 3.5" model. However, there are plenty of interfaces to attach external storage: AOpen equips this little beauty with IEEE-1394a Firewire, two USB 2.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. It also has a High Definition audio sound system with a digital optical output, an S-Video connector for video out, and it will hook up to your display via DVI-I.

The system is usually sold as a barebone unit, which means that you have to purchase the system components yourself. These should be a Core 2 Duo mobile processor, one DDR2-667 SO-DIMM (notebook memory) and a 2.5" Serial ATA hard drive. You don't have to purchase an optical drive, as the miniPC comes with a built-in slot-loaded DVD+/-RW burner.

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    Jack Mak,
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