As a home theatre or strictly multimedia PC the Hermes is perfect even when equipped with a
relatively slow (but quite inexpensive!!) Celeron 1.7 GHz processor. One has to remember when
viewing the benchmarks that the MSI Hermes is not intended to be a computing
powerhouse, rather the purpose of this SFF PC is to be a hub of a multimedia station.
That should be pretty obvious with all the USB and IEEE 1394 jacks as well as
the Sony Memory Stick port.
the Hermes is not the flashiest SFF PC on the market, it's exterior is
quite easy to use. With all the multimedia accessories on the market such as webcams, digital and
video cameras MSI had the foresight to place four USB 2.0 and one IEEE
1394 port on the front of the PC. There's also a headphone, microphone and SPDIF
jacks should you need them. If you're not going to use any of the
front panel ports, they're easily hidden by a plastic cover. The PCMCIA and Memory Stick connectors are
also well placed at the front of the PC, much easier for the end user
to fiddle around with the front of the computer then the back.
The rear of the Hermes is very user friendly, with
the clear labelled ports even my mother could hook this PC up! =)
About the only thing I can complain about is the
CD-ROM flap. With our test Samsung 40x12x40 CD-RW installed properly the eject
button in the front is not long enough to reach the eject button on the CD-RW.
We have to move the CD-RW forward about 3-5 mm for the button to work properly
but then the plastic CD-ROM cover is no longer flush with the rest of the case.
I guess I'm being a bit petty here, but personally I would definitely prefer
everything to be in line.
The interior of the Hermes was quite different and
a bit more difficult to use. If you plan to install a new PCI device, memory or
even CPU it can be quite difficult and will always require you to at least
remove the PCI riser card and probably move the front panel as well. There are
also too many open wires which be bundled together so they do not get
While playing with the Hermes, I really
came to appreciate just how quiet the system was. During operation it was
barely audible over the ambient office noise, even when under load! That's certainly
quite a nice change to the usual delta screamers I work with day in and day
out. MSI claim that the Hermes will only generate 28.6dB of sound while idle,
and 35dB under load. I could not measure the decibel rating, but I'd be willing to
bet this is one of the quietest PC's on the market.
Performance of the PC was mediocre at best, and of course it didn't help
that we were using a Celeron 1.7 GHz processor. You're certainly not going to
get a speed demon with the Hermes but it's adequate for office based applications and
everyday web surfing. It seems like the home theatre PC fad is starting to
catch on and if that's what you're looking for, the MSI Hermes 650-P could be the
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