Several system builders have moved into the small form factor space (SFF) to provide consumers with a pint-sized version of the desktop giants. Many of these SFF systems are designed around a proprietary motherboard and chassis. This makes it difficult to upgrade in the future, as the proprietary parts may or may not have an upgrade path of their own.
It reminds me of working on modern "electronic everything" cars versus the cars of old. It was far easier to tinker with cars in the past than it is today. You just had to take out the old part and upgrade to something newer, bigger, faster or cooler-looking. The four on the floor of yesteryear just isn't the same today for cars, but what is out there for the hardcore gamer who likes to tinker with her or his system? Are there alternatives to the proprietary SFF system upgrade paths in the SFF world?
Several system builders have introduced SFF chassis and barebones kits to allow the DIY segment to build their own. These companies are also capable of building a monster mini system for you. But unlike many of the other SFF systems on the market, vendors such as Monarch give you the power to upgrade in the future as well. We were fortunate to have the Monarch Hornet Pro Revenge Special Edition in house for a test drive to see what options it afforded and to gauge its gaming power.