MSI MegaPC - Mini Cube Barebones PC

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MSI MegaPC - Mini Cube Barebones PC

Postby mattchase » Apr Mon 10, 2006 5:37 pm

I finally have all the parts I need for my new cube computer, though haven't put it all together just yet. This is the style computer you often see used for media centers, but they could also be used as desktop replacements if you don't need room for additional peripherals (PCI cards, extra hard drives, etc). The one I got is not the smallest, but is close to it, and only has space for 1 CD drive and 1 hard drive, as well as an AGP card, PCI card, and Mini PCI card. My PCI card barely fits in it, it is that tight of a case.

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Here is the view from the top after taking the cover off. The top tray comes completely out to make it easier to install the CD and hard drives.

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Here is a shot of the Mini PCI card slot, with a wireless networking card installed. This was one of the reasons I bought this unit over others, I wanted to be able to have wireless networking in it, but also wanted to be able to put another peripheral into the one PCI slot. Many of the cube cases only have 1 PCI slot and no Mini PCI slots. Of course, this also gave me my first problem, in that the wireless card I bought didn't come with an antenna and neither did the computer, though it has a cutout for one in the case. So after some research I found a nice $25 adapter cable online which I have just installed.

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Here is the U.FL plug for the antenna adapter...it's so small! This cable is about 12" long and has a reverse SMA on the other end. Most of the adapter cables I found were only 8" long, which wouldn't have reached the rear of the case and I didn't want to have to drill a hole in the case cover itself. A 12" cable allowed me to have a permenant plug for an antenna in the back of the case where there was already a hole for it.

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An inside shot of the computer showing the CPU socket, a socket 754 that supports Sempron and Athlon 64 processors. The vented device above and to the left of the CPU socket is the power supply. It is only rated at 220 watts, but considering how few devices you can have in this case, that should be sufficient. The memory slots are in the top right behind the CPU socket, which supports up to 2gb. Also onboard is video and 6 channel sound with SPDIF output, meaning you could use this system as a home theatre with full digital surround sound. I don't plan on using it for this as I have a very nice home theatre system already, but will be using the sound output for playing music through my stereo.

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Here is the cord arrangement, attached to a piece of plastic which is attached to the CD / HD tray. All the cables are labled, right down to the power cable with "HDD" on it and one with "ODD" (optical disk drive) on it. You can also see the CPU fan / heatsink is installed and how much space it takes up.

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A side view with the CD / HDD tray installed, you can see how tight everything is. The PCI and AGP slots are visible in the bottom left corner.

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And here is a comparison of my previous case to the new case. They are about the same length and similar width, but as you can see the old case is much taller, and it is only a mid-tower style case.

So there you go. I haven't actually turned it on yet, as the HD that is in the computer I am using now will be the one I put into the cube. Anybody want to place bets on my needing a new Windows XP registration code?
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Postby JB » Apr Mon 10, 2006 7:04 pm

And my current case is twice as tall your previous case. :D

Good review, Matt! And yes, you'll probably get MS Police at your door.

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Btw, I can post this review as a "mini-review" on the website like your other reviews.
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Postby TonyK » Apr Thu 13, 2006 6:13 pm

No bets. Looks nice though and saves space.
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