Small form factor computers have
come along way since the genre first broke onto the scene.
AOpen's latest foray into compact task-specific computers
is the cute little Mini PC MP915B, and it certainly is a very interesting
alternative to the conventional desktop and SFF PC.
The AOpen Mini PC MP-915B (Super Multi) PC is essentially
a laptop in a desktop form factor. This allows the Mini PC to maintain a small
footprint, use less energy than a desktop PC and stay nearly silent without
generating much heat.
Based around the Socket 479 Pentium M form factor, the
AOpen Mini PC MP-915B (Super Multi) is a very versatile little machine able to
act as a desktop replacement or entertainment machine. The model we tested came
equipped with a DVD writer, 60GB hard drive, 512MB of DDR-2 and a 1.73GHz Intel
Pentium M 740 processor. Despite its small size, the little computer does come
with a decent feature set which include a dual layer DVD writer, Gigabit
Ethernet, IEEE 1394a and a 5.1 channel audio controller as standard for the
In terms of performance, the AOpen Mini PC
MP-915B (Super Multi) was slightly slower than the Shuttle XPC SD11G5 Pentium M
SFF PC, but the differences in the office tests are too small for users to
notice. In multimedia situations, the slower 2.5" notebook hard drive is what
really played a role in the performance differences.
The AOpen Mini PC is not a gaming system, and just so
we're clear on that its integrated Intel GMA900 videocard simply cannot handle
modern 3D games. Older games at lower resolutions are okay, but that's not where
the strengths of this computer reside. With network connectivity and a full
array of component output, s-Video, and composite outputs, this little box is
just begging to be hooked up to a big screen TV. The only thing missing to make
this a killer HTPC is perhaps an HDMI port. A couple extra USB jacks would have
also been nice, or at the very least a bundled-in USB hub. Aside from these
points of criticism, the AOpen Mini PC was a pure pleasure to work with and
exceptionally quiet running.
With a retail price of $388 CDN ($333 USD/£190 GBP) for the
barebones version (no CPU, memory or HDD included) of the AOpen Mini PC MP-915B
(Super Multi), it's safe to say this is an awesome little PC. It's tiny size and
clean lines allow the AOpen Mini PC to be used in many situations where a
regular SFF PC would look out of place.
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