MSI'S SMALL FORM FACTOR SYSTEMS have traditionally been tardy, arriving to market a little too late in the life of the chipsets and sockets they sport. That tendency toward more dated hardware has been made even more apparent by other makers of barebones SFF systems, who have aggressively adopted newer sockets and core logic. Fortunately, MSI's new mPC 51PV is coming to market in a much timelier manner.
The mPC 51PV is compatible with AMD's Socket AM2 processors and features an Nvidia GeForce 6150/nForce 430 core logic combo that's still the best integrated graphics chipset on the market. The system also has a PCI Express x16 slot and enough room to house a dual-slot graphics card, so you're not stuck with integrated graphics. Combine that with a PCI slot, Mini PCI Wi-Fi, and loads of audio and video output options, and the mPC 51PV starts to look just like what the stagnating small form factor market needs.
Squeezing everything into a smaller form factor isn't easy, though, and MSI has made a few concessions along the way. Read on to see how those concessions affect the mPC's appeal and whether the system can breathe new life into the small form factor barebones world.