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MSI recently introduced a new line of tiny, barebones desktop computers under the MSI Cubi brand. Now they’re available for pre-order for about $150 and up.
That makes these little desktops pretty competitive with similar small form-factor PCs such as entry-level Gigabyte BRIX, Intel NUC, or Zotac mini PCs.
MSI is selling the Cubi systems as barebones computers. They come with a processor, wireless chips, and other basic features. But you’ll need to supply your own memory, storage, and operating system.
Here are the configurations available at launch:
- 1.5 GHz Intel Celeron 3205U processor with black or white case for $150
- 1.9 GHz Intel Pentium 3805U processor with black or white case for $200
- 2 GHz Intel Core i3-5005U processor with black or white case for $280.
Note that all three of these processors are 15 watt chips based on Intel’s 14nm, 64-bit “Broadwell” architecture. The Celeron and Pentium chips are lower-performance dual-core chips while the Core i3 chip is also a dual-core processor but it supports hyperthreading so it can handle up to 4 simultaneous threads.
Each model features a 2.5″ drive bay and an mSATA port for solid state storage, two SODIMM slots for up to 8GB of RAM, integrated 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, and four USB 3.0 ports.
The computers measure about 4.5″ x 4.4″ x 1.7″ and each model supports Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Do these little computers have a fan? I really would like a fan-less unit, both for noise reasons and so it doesn’t vacuum up dust bunnies.
The 3805u looks like a great cpu… I would buy that if my chromebox mobo died (and re-use the sdram and ssd). Not expecting that.
wow this is actually really nice, 150usd for a new broadwell. As long as they don’t force the windows tax these look great.
That third one would have been a really nice option.
(i just build myself a i3-4130t with thin-mini-ITX-Board into my old Shuttle X27D-Case)
Should bring great “bang-per-buck”-ratio and should be quite silent/cool.
Only negative part: you still can’t buy that currently. :-/
it’s only the processor and case (and PSU?) for $150… I guess no ram?
Yeah! we need more PCs like these!
I was looking into buying a new mini barebone and thing I was wondering is whether the CPUs are upgradeable. I take they aren´t but not sure why.
They are not upgradable, they’re soldered onto the motherboard.
A tip for the uninitiated: Only desktop processors are socketed now. Any chips with a model # that end with an “M” or a “U” or a “Y” are mobile chips and are soldered on.
That’s a valuable tip : Thanks for the info.
I’m waiting to see some benchmarks from these CPUs. I’d like the Celeron model if its any more powerful than the 2955u.
A difference of around 5% IIRC. nothing to hold your breath for. Just about the only difference is going from a 10EU GPU to a 12EU GPU, and more feature sets from the Core-i series of chips like WiDi and AES-NI
I like these small computers that don’t come with an operating system or some parts. It is great to be able to customize it to what one wants.
Was hoping for slightly better pricing as barebones. HP Stream is similar but comes with memory and Windows for slightly more money. Chromeboxes as well.
These have slightly newer chips, but still. Also doesn’t mention linux compatibility.
The HP Stream model doesn’t offer full upradeability/expandability, and Chromeboxes doesn’t offer the ability to install Windows.
You can install Windows 8 on Chromebox. Only HDMI audio has issue. 3.5mm audio jack works fine. What do you mean by full upradeability/expandability? These mini-PCs are so compact and obviously won’t be as upgradable as regular desktops. Usually only RAM and storage are upgradable.
But yeah, if you want Windows, Chromebox is not really a good choice because of all the hassles you have to go through. But it’s great as a Linux box.
My bad, somehow I got it in my head that the Stream mini used eMMC for it’s storage. As for installing windows on the chromebox, it’s limited to windows 8 and pretty kludgy, requiring an external USB drive. The added flexibility of the Cubi at it’s current price points looks good if you’re not happy with the stream mini’s memory and storage.
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