We are regularly reviewing barebone platforms on our site – the PC user has got very fastidious and does not want to have the standard putty-colored coffin of a system case. The range of available home-oriented barebones is wide and is only limited by the financial capabilities of the customer. A compact computer is not a prerogative of home users, though. Take the Compaq office PC series as an example – they are small and elegantly designed. However, brand-name ready-made computers are generally costly.
Until recently there were few high-quality small system cases – I can only think of slim cases from AOpen as of successful models. Other companies’ products could be seen on the websites but rarely on the shop shelves. And even AOpen’s were system cases with a preinstalled power supply rather than a barebone kit. It is right on one hand as the home user can select a mainboard to his/her own taste. On the other hand, system integrators and office users might regard it as a drawback. The former would like to have a system with the mainboard already installed, while the latter do not want to bother about the choice of the mainboard at all. Office workers are not interested in what’s inside their computers – they just work on them.
Thus, the office barebone concept is clearly outlined: it should be an unobtrusively designed system case with a mainboard and power supply preinstalled. It should also be easy to assemble with the user’s own hands. The mainboard requirements are simple: normal support of entry-level and mainstream processors, a bare minimum of interface connectors necessary for office work, and high reliability.
These features should all be known to users of MSI’s Hetis 865GV platform – first-rate barebone systems with good functionality for their time. They belong to the past, however, and are now replaced with the new Hetis 915 series, in new design and based on a new platform. The series as yet includes only two models, Hetis 915 Lite and Hetis 915, which differ in the type of the installed mainboard. The more advanced model features a DVI connector, two FireWire ports, an S-Video output and a coaxial digital audio output for speaker systems with an external decoder. People with digital cameras and other mobile peripherals are not forgotten – the Hetis 915 is equipped with a multi-format card-reader. This modification will be an ideal choice for the category of home users who need a compact home machine and do not play new computer games. It can also be transformed into a multimedia center – there are enough of interfaces supported and you can put two full-size add-on cards into the available PCI slots.
But I have digressed a little. This review is devoted to the MSI Hetis 915 Lite model, less functional but quite sufficient for normal office work.