MSI Boasts Desktop Haswell CPU Support In Tiny ProBox23 PC
Taiwanese computer company MSI is cooking up a more mature alternative to the tiny PC craze that has become fashionable as of late. With retail availability beginning later this month, the ProBox23, with the appropriate hardware choices, can boast specs competitive with normal desktop PCs. That's despite being several times smaller at about two inches tall and eight inches wide and deep.
Inside the ProBox23 is a Thin Mini-ITX motherboard designed by MSI itself, the H81TI. Based on the Intel H81 chipset (obviously), the board can handle 4th-gen Intel Haswell processors ranging from Celerons to Core i7s. So long as you stay under the included CPU fan's 65 watt thermal limit, that is. You will be stuck with integrated graphics regardless.
Also on board are a couple of DDR3 SO-DIMM slots for up to 16GB of memory. Two 2.5” bays and an mSATA slot exist for storage drives, while a half-height mini PCIe slot seems ripe for a wireless card (not included). On the front panel of the ProBox23 are four USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a microphone jack – no optical drive here, folks.
You will also find your usual power switch and HDD activity light on the front panel. Back panel ports include eSATA, HDMI, two each USB 2.0 and 3.0, gigabit LAN, and another pair of audio jacks, plus a Kensington lock slot. There's also an AC adaptor input for the included 120 watt power brick.
Unsurprisingly, MSI bundles a VESA mount kit, allowing you to hang the 2.5 pound ProBox23 off the back of a compliant monitor or TV. That fact, combined with the 4K UHD video support and the storage options might make a nice HTPC out of this machine. I'm weary about how loud the tiny CPU fan could be, though, especially with a quad-core chip installed.
Thankfully, you don't need four i7 cores for watching movies, and dual-core Haswell Celerons can be found for less than $60. Unfortunately we don't have pricing information for the ProBox23 itself yet, though we shouldn't have to wait much longer now to get it.
Update: Now available for around $160 USD.