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.
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.
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.
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
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