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MSI MEGA mPC 945 Barebones Small Formfactor PC Review

MSI MEGA mPC 945 Barebones Small Formfactor PC Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The MSI MEGA mPC945 system is based around the Intel 945G and Intel ICH7 chipsets and is compatible with all Socket 775 Intel Pentium 4/D/XE, Celeron processors.
 78% Rating:   
Filed under: Computer / SFF PCs Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MSI Computer Dec 10 2006   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Computer / SFF PCs > MSI Computer Mega mPC 945

Looking under the SFF hood

As the word 'barebones' indicates, there are a few parts you'll need to supply to make the MSI mPC 945 into a complete computer. For starters, you'll need to pick up an socket 775 Intel Pentium D/4/EE processor, a SATA/IDE hard drive, an optical drive and at least 2GB of DDR-2 memory. Once you have everything installed into the MSI MEGA mPC 945, it's ready to rock and roll.


The inside of the MSI Mega mPC 945 small form factor system is well laid out so that one CPU heatsink cools the Intel 945G northbridge and motherboard MOSFETs and power circuitry. All power cables from the 260W power supply come pre-routed which is a nice touch.

In typical MSI fashion the user's manual for the Mega mPC 945 is full of good information; detailing how to instal the system, configure the BIOS, and find your way around the custom MSI MS-7196 motherboard. I think it would have been helpful if MSI had also included a larger fold out poster style quick installation guide. They tend to come in handy.


The MSI Mega mPC 945 small form factor comes with its own heatsink, the standard socket 775 heatsink will not fit properly due to the custom mounting mechanism and compact spaces inside the chassis. The Intel 945G chipset is passively cooled with a small aluminum heatsink that sits directly in front of the CPU fan.

Socket 775 socket pins are notoriously fragile but MSI does its part to make CPU installation easier by including a useful CPU installation tool. Only the the supplied heatsink can be used with the mPC 945 system, and once the HDD and ODD drive bay is swung up there is plenty of space to work with inside the case. The rest of the chassis is basically tool free, and it's super easy to get in under the hood, install the ODD/HDDs, or lock the expansion cards in place. A screwdriver is required for installing the special socket 775 heatsink.


The custom heatsink that MSI includes with the mPC 945 has a thick copper base and three copper heatpipes to help distribute the heat from the processor the cooling fins. A 60mm fan with a wire fan guard blow air through these fins toward the rear of the PC chassis. At the very back, an 80mm fan exhausts this air out of the case so acceptable temperatures are maintained.

Inside the MSI Mega mPC 945 system you'll find that most important headers and connectors are located along the outer edges of the motherboard. This is done so you can reach the jumpers and headers you need to without half disassembling the entire SFF PC. Little touches like this are definitely appreciated.

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Contents of Article: MSI Computer Mega mPC 945
 Pg 1.  MSI MEGA mPC 945 Barebones Small Formfactor PC Review
 Pg 2.  The MEGA mPC 945 Chassis
 Pg 3.  — Looking under the SFF hood
 Pg 4.  Inside the mPC 945 SFF
 Pg 5.  Ease of Installation and Tool Free Design
 Pg 6.  Installing Drives and more...
 Pg 7.  Intel 945G and GMA950 integrated videocard
 Pg 8.  BIOS Features are Slim / Test Specs
 Pg 9.  SFF PC Benchmarks: SYSMark2004
 Pg 10.  SFF PC Benchmarks: Office Productivity, SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 11.  SFF PC Benchmarks: PCMark05, 3DMark05
 Pg 12.  SFF PC Benchmarks: 3DMark06, FarCry, X3: Reunion
 Pg 13.  SFF PC Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3, Quake 4
 Pg 14.  Small Formfactor Redeux

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