Part I, Lyrical
Many people when they first saw this device didn’t immediately realize what it was. Some of them, casting a glance at the MSI MEGA, inquired where we got this sound box and how much it cost. In fact, the MEGA does look more like a regular audio mini-system rather than a mini-system with an integrated computer! :)
Some people didn’t believe their eyes when I told them that this small box includes both: a sound box and a pretty powerful computer featuring an Intel Pentium 4 processor. I even had to launch the Device Manager and show them the evidence...
The small boxie offers big opportunities. It is a CD-player and radio receiver, an MP3-player and a modern computer with six-channel sound, numerous inputs/outputs and integrated devices. It is also a DVD-player, a set of speakers (which are an integral part of it), a universal card-reader and much more! Optionally, you can also expand the boxie’s capabilities by purchasing a TV-tuner (that would be controlled by the same remote control as the «music box», by the way).
But let’s be methodical and discuss the new exciting functions one after another...
Part II, Theoretical
The first wave of tenderness towards the small size and the funny design seems to be gone by now, so let’s find out what hides inside our MEGA-device. The thing that mostly determines what computer is going to be like, the chipset, comes first.
The MEGA is based on a chipset from SiS: SiS 651 (North Bridge) + SiS 962 (South Bridge). If you haven’t yet encountered this chipset, here are the main features of the North Bridge:
- Support of Intel Pentium 4 processors with 400/533MHz FSB;
- Flexible memory support: from PC100 SDRAM to PC2700 (DDR333 SDRAM). The chipset supports three modules with a total capacity of 3GB at the most (in our case, only two DDR slots are soldered up);
- High-speed interface for connection to the South Bridge called MuTIOL (533MB/s bandwidth);
- AGP 2.0 (AGP 4x) interface;
- Integrated video from SiS. TV-Out and the DVI interface for LCD displays connection (the MEGA doesn’t have any of them by default. An AGP TV-out card comes optionally).