|MSI WindBox 6667BB-004US Barebones-PC Kit|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Dan Ferguson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Tuesday, 13 April 2010|
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MSI 6667BB-004US Conclusion
One aspect of presentation that may have been overlooked is the marketing of the Wind Box platform. MSI has a huge range of "specialty" computing products, though they don't call them such. From barebones to all-in-one systems they cover a wide variety of platforms. People don't know what they don't know, and this is something that people should know. Holiday sales of late took the little known name of netbook and turned into a household term and thereby a household item. The same needs to happen for the nettop.
The look of the system is appropriate for something that will most likely end up on the entertainment center. Tall and skinny, black and shiny, and a unique shape all add to the contemporary home theater mood.
The construction leaves much to be desired. The case is soft plastic which will not stand much punishment. The look of the case is great, but with any abuse it will mar. I had the case on it's side for only a few hours of testing and already there are visible scratches. The side is easy to remove, which is great, but trying to put the cover back on is just the opposite. The odd shape of the case makes the rails difficult to line up, and the cover does not simply slide into place. It has to be adjusted and readjusted then held carefully while the screws are tightened. In order to use the computer the hard drive and memory must be installed. The memory can only be accessed by completely removing the motherboard and turning it over. Likewise, the front panel must be removed to install the HDD. While these nuisances are not insurmountable they are quite inconvenient. Adding just a quarter inch more would solve the HDD issue, and an access panel could solve the memory issue. One bright spot of construction is the cooling system. Though small and compact, the fan is silent and effective. During the most intense testing the processor heat sink never exceeded 35°C.
Anyone that buys a nettop or netbook knows up front that software installation and maintenance will provide some level of logistical challenges. As such, the platform should not receive review deductions from consumers. There are a wealth of guides and methods available online that can provide the necessary knowledge. One simple method of installing Windows was provided in this review. Once the OS was installed, the nettop performed the same as the desktop in routine tasks, web browsing, watching movies, and playing light games. However, as the benchmarks show, the differences are apparent when performing demanding, intensive, or long running tasks such as gaming, number crunching, and even video rendering. If higher performance is desired from these light platforms, running a lean OS is a necessity. But for basic needs, Windows 7 ran fine.
The value category is where the nettop shines. The MSI 6667BB-004US was not designed to be an all-purpose, all-powerful, cure-cancer machine. It was designed to be an interface between you and the virtual world. It will hold plenty of movies and music, surf the internet, and play some games. It will sit quietly by the television (or projector) and do it's job well. This MSI nettop can be found for $169.99 at NewEgg. Netbooks offer similar features at nearly double the price. You pay for portability and a small screen, but they won't compete in performance or in the high definition spectrum. The price range on nettops is quite large as they are intended for diverse applications. As such, the Wind Box runs the middle of the road with much cheaper, leaner options on one side and much more expensive, nearly full PCs on the other side. If you were to try to build the same setup from an older computer you would have to sacrifice threading performance, power consumption, space, high definition, price, or all of the above.
While there a few detractors when considering the Wind Box PC, none of them affect the core operation of the unit. I once heard that good engineering is about building a bridge that is strong enough and not stronger. I bet the same can be applied to computers. The nettop was designed to do its job well and do it efficiently.
+ Small Case
- No Network Boot
Final Score: 8.5 out of 10.
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