The popularity of the so-called barebone computer systems comes from the users’ arriving at a conclusion that it’s at least inconvenient to have a clumsy rectangular-shaped system case at home. Besides occupying much space, a standard case has a nasty habit of humming with its fans and attracting as if with a magnet all the dust in your room. So, users who demand a compact and quiet and nice-looking solution are offered the miniature and cute barebone system.
Today there are two varieties of such systems in the market, intended for two different user groups. The first variety is a well-rigged-out multimedia combo machine whose extensive list of functions includes almost everything, save for making you coffee. The second variety is in fact the classic mini-PC with just the basic functionality.
The combo devices are positioned as entertainment centers with such options as TV/FM tuner, remote control, big and informative display, playback of audio/video files without booting the OS up, and other nice conveniences. Such systems don’t aspire to be fast and universal just because it is virtually impossible to put both a powerful graphics card and a TV/FM tuner in a small system case (yes, there are devices like ATI’s All-in-Wonder or NVIDIA’s Personal Cinema but they are not widely available and their price is usually very high; moreover, none of these companies has yet released a popular multimedia version of one of their latest top-end graphics cards).
Thus, the classic approach to building barebone systems becomes the more appealing. Here, the user gets just a system case with a power supply and mainboard and a minimum of accessories and chooses for himself/herself what computer to build upon this foundation.
One of the most interesting products of this class, the ASUS S-presso S1, is going to be discussed in this review.