MSI is showing off the latest member of its Cubi line of tiny desktop computers. The MSI Cubi 3 is a small desktop computer with an aluminum case and a fanless design for silent operation.

While it’s not the first MSI Cubi computer to feature passive cooling, it is the first fanless model to feature a 15 watt Intel Kaby Lake-U series processor rather than a lower-power Braswell chip.

According to Tek.No, which spotted the MSI Cubi 3 at Computex, the new computer is expected to ship this fall.

The system has ventilation around the top of the computer to let hot air escape. Under the hood, it features two DDR4 SODIMM slots for up to 32GB of memory, a 2.5 inch drive bay, and an M.2 2280 slot for solid state storage. MSI notes that the computer is also compatible with Intel Optane memory.

It’s a little larger than some MSI Cubi systems, in order to give the hardware room to breathe. But it’s still pretty compact for a desktop computer.

The MSI Cubi 3 features DisplayPort and HDMI ports, six USB ports, two Ethernet jacks, and two COM ports (including one which is used for an Ethernet jack in the display model).

Powered by a Kaby Lake-U chip with Intel HD graphics, MSI says the Cubi 3 should have no problem handling 4K displays. But keep in mind that the computer will ship with a laptop-class processor, so don’t expect bleeding edge desktop-class performance.

Still, as someone who’s been using laptops with Intel Ivy Bridge and Kaby Lake processors as my primary work machines for the past few years, I don’t really consider the use of a 15 watt processor to be a down side (although I wouldn’t mind having something a little faster for rendering large, complicated audio projects).

Pricing for the MSI Cubi 3 hasn’t been announced yet.

via FanlessTech


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13 replies on “MSI Cubi 3 is a fanless mini desktop PC with Intel Kaby Lake”

  1. hope pricing limit to 300$
    wonder how “up squared”- the first maker board with intel apollo- up2 – is working and handle

    1. “up squared”- has 2 usb2 and 2 usb3, 2 hdmi and edp,N4200 cpu, 4GB of RAM, should be great pc for 220$, but this MSI Cubi 3 has 15 watt processor so it probable has an m3 cpu, thats better, but its MSI so the price will be most likely 400$, for an extra 180$ , get m3 cpu over N4200, i dont think so, the cpu cost less.

  2. The design with the vents mounted on the upper sides with no vents on top should prevent most dust from entering the PC. Seems interesting.

  3. Interesting box. However there is no mention of a USB 3.0 type C port which is important for a modern PC

    1. I think USB C is not as essential as avoiding distracting fan noise. During the past 5 years I’ve noticed that once you go fanless at home, there’s no turning back. I’ll be replacing my skylake nuc with this because I can’t make it fanless. Dealing with some hub and adapter is not an issue.

      1. I understand going fanless on a laptop because it’s setting right in front of you, but does it actually matter when the pc is so far away? Am I the only one who can’t hear the fan from 13 feet away?

        1. I fully agree. I can’t even hear a NUC or chromebox fan from 2 feet away. My wife’s 17inch HP envy is dead silent 99% of the time… that’s a mobile skylake i7. I see fanless as a disadvantage, as it limits the heavy load performance. There are many SFF and laptops with very quiet active cooling solutions… Apple macs have fans and are very quiet.

          1. Unfortunately many mainstream fanless solutions (ultrabooks or mini PCs) are undercooled.

            The truth is that fanless deosn’t mean high temperature and throttling. A well designed passive cooling can outperform your average cooling fan.

        2. You’re not alone. My PC has something like 9 fans in it, mostly 120mm, it’s noticeable when going full whack and pumping out some 600W of heat but becomes unnoticeably quiet at low load. Part of that’s having a case with noise-damping foam.

          Now, if you genuinely only need about 15W of electronics, then sure, your mobile phone’s computer enough and silent’s reasonable. You want a GPU or to do some video rendering? No way.

        3. Fanless means silent but most importantly, more reliable. Fans are prone to failure.

          Industrial PCs are fanless because they can run 24/7 and require no maintenance.

          1. Personally, I never had a desktop fan fail ever. I only had a fan problem in my 1st laptop, which only required resoldering of a wire.

  4. Very very exciting little box. Fanless mini PCs featuring the Core-U series are pretty rare. For the record most of the 15W Kaby Lake chips are more powerful than the 65W desktop Sandy Bridge from few years ago. They are legit desktop replacement for basic tasks.

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