What Can You Do With An MSI Cubi?

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Larry Litmanen

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I don't understand who are these PCs made for?

On one hand they are barebones and need some parts which immediately makes it a non starter for average consumer who does not understand tech beyond that iPhone 5 is slower than iPhone 5S.

On enthusiast side it's pointless to have this because enthusiasts want desktops, graphics, it's just not powerful enough.

Is it for IT pros? I can see them buying these, adding the latest and greatest affordable parts and making it a PC for employees at the company.
 

tom10167

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Very impressive, but I just showed it to someone and they said "How is it better than a laptop?" To which I did not have an answer. Help me out.
 
Gentlemen?

The title of the review says is all: "What Can You Do With An MSI Cubi?"

Given that it's use requires a separate display, keyboard, and mouse, the Cubi actually requires more space than a laptop and if you combine the cost of a Cubi - $144 barebones and $269- $400+ with CPU, HD, plus the display, keyboard, mouse, and OS, it could cost $800 or so, firmly into territory of quite a good laptop- which also has a battery and can be taken anywhere, requires less room, and is an integrated system ready to use- no assembly required.

In comparison, the Raspberry Pi 2 for $35 is even smaller, includes the CPU, is apparently about as capable, runs off a faster, and more compact flash drive that can run Windows 10, is more portable- and $100's less. There are some Pi user running multiples in a cluster and overall has a more enthusiast orientation.

In my view the review seems to have to missed the mark by emphasizing gaming performance- that's the very last application I would assume for this kind of system. Even in a schoolwork or office use, using it to write letters, bills or school essays, minimalist database entry, the Cubi is still a non-starter- there is nowhere in the World where desktop real estate is so precious, plus it requires a full-size monitor. For the low-demand office applications, there would be a $300-$400 i3 and 19- 22" monitor or all-in-one, much more capable and expandable for the same total cost.

It's even an incredibly boring industrial design- there are much more exciting looking server routers.

The MSI Cubi is one of those nice, fleeting thoughts that never should have landed.

Cheers,

BambiBoom
 

BulkZerker

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What can I do with a cubi? Take a dead laptops parts and have a sff for the living room.

I'm sure this is MSI trying to grab nuc sales. Or grab into the minimalist market.
 

ChronosVRdS

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@Larry Litmanen
Enthusiasts may want for another purposes, for example use as HTPC if you have a NAS with all your media then use one of these connected to any TV with Kodi or other media manger, not everything in enthusiast about powerful rigs.

@tom10167
It isn't, but depending on the price is a better solution for small offices with few workers or to use as small home server for some 24/7 applications
 

jaber2

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@Larry Litmanen
Enthusiasts may want for another purposes, for example use as HTPC if you have a NAS with all your media then use one of these connected to any TV with Kodi or other media manger, not everything in enthusiast about powerful rigs.
I totally agree with Larry, and who are these enthusiasts you speak of, these are more of dvr/console wanabee's who lack functionality and software to run either
@tom10167
It isn't, but depending on the price is a better solution for small offices with few workers or to use as small home server for some 24/7 applications
Also agree with Tom, you need to explain to me why would I buy this when I can buy a dell for my small office at home or work.

so clearly this isn't a gaming machine or a dvr or small server, then wtf is it for?
 

scolaner

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Gentlemen?

In my view the review seems to have to missed the mark by emphasizing gaming performance- that's the very last application I would assume for this kind of system. [/b]
You're correct that gaming is not the main purpose of this sort of SFF system, but you're missing the whole point of the article--of course, you can do normal every day tasks with this kind of system. We wanted to see what one could *get away* with. As he said in the article, someone is going to have this thing and think, "What kind of gaming can I do on this..."

This is not a "review." (Hence why it's in the news feed.) In a full review, we would extensively test the system on what it was designed for and compare that performance against a bunch of other systems.

This is just a look at an aspect of SFF PCs (and specifically, this one) that some people are probably curious about.

 

Eximo

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Not all enthusiast applications require graphics potential.

Aside from being an alternative to the average streaming media device or video wall PC not much though, I would agree.

I would say some of the slightly larger passively cooled industrial PCs are still preferable in the second application.

Still looking at the Brix, Cubi and others for a potential in-vehicle system. But all I really need is a browser and tablets can handle that. Though this does give the opportunity for a USB to serial adapter from some live data logging without having to lug a laptop around.
 
Who would want these?
1. They are very low powered
2. They take up very little space

They would make great media servers, backup servers (with external SATA/USB) firewalls, HTPC playback devices, or small game machines for the living room. They would also fit well in POS machines (point of sale) or Kiosk.
 

Achoo22

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Would you please add Steam's game streaming over 802.11n as a test for these low-powered computing devices? At the present time, game streaming and HTPC use seem to be the best applications for these tiny machines that can be mounted to the back of a flat-screen television.
 

IInuyasha74

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Gentlemen?

The title of the review says is all: "What Can You Do With An MSI Cubi?"

Given that it's use requires a separate display, keyboard, and mouse, the Cubi actually requires more space than a laptop and if you combine the cost of a Cubi - $144 barebones and $269- $400+ with CPU, HD, plus the display, keyboard, mouse, and OS, it could cost $800 or so, firmly into territory of quite a good laptop- which also has a battery and can be taken anywhere, requires less room, and is an integrated system ready to use- no assembly required.

In comparison, the Raspberry Pi 2 for $35 is even smaller, includes the CPU, is apparently about as capable, runs off a faster, and more compact flash drive that can run Windows 10, is more portable- and $100's less. There are some Pi user running multiples in a cluster and overall has a more enthusiast orientation.

In my view the review seems to have to missed the mark by emphasizing gaming performance- that's the very last application I would assume for this kind of system. Even in a schoolwork or office use, using it to write letters, bills or school essays, minimalist database entry, the Cubi is still a non-starter- there is nowhere in the World where desktop real estate is so precious, plus it requires a full-size monitor. For the low-demand office applications, there would be a $300-$400 i3 and 19- 22" monitor or all-in-one, much more capable and expandable for the same total cost.

It's even an incredibly boring industrial design- there are much more exciting looking server routers.

The MSI Cubi is one of those nice, fleeting thoughts that never should have landed.

Cheers,

BambiBoom
I'm not sure you completely understand what this system is. You would have to try rather hard to get to an $800 price tag with this system. The Cubi systems themselves cost between $143 and $479. One like I used in this article sells for $269.
http://www.newegg.com/MSI-Mini-PC-Barebone/BrandSubCat/ID-1312-309

So, starting off, you are $269 into it. You then can get a 2 x 4 GB set of RAM for $46:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148807&Tpk=N82E16820148807

A basic 320 GB HDD for $33:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BWPWXK/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=

A basic keyboard for $7 and mouse for $5:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0038M3YM8/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004XGE0E4/ref=olp_product_details?ie=UTF8&me=

For the total system costs you are only at about $360. For anyone using this at home, they might already own a copy of Windows, but if not that can be bought for around $80, and just about any flat-screen TV or display can be used for the monitor. If a monitor is needed, you can find them online several places for around $70.

This is far from the $800 price tag you suggested, even if you have to buy a display and OS. Granted, you can buy a low-end desktop or laptop for that price, both of which will offer more performance, but both will also take up considerably more space. This isn't designed to be an extremely fast system, it is designed to be a system that can do office work and basic other tasks reasonably well, while at the same time being silent and very easy to hide out of site.

The Raspberry Pie argument honestly doesn't make sense. Yes that will work for a low-end machine to watch videos on and surf the web, but these systems are miles apart in terms of performance. I'm not entirely sure what gave the impression that they performed similar. The Raspberry Pie is way weaker than any modern Intel or AMD desktop or notebook processors.
 

adamboy64

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I find these systems quite interesting. I enjoy reading about what they can fit inside and what you can get out of it in terms of performance.

I like the design of this one - it's clean and clear-cut.
 


IInuyasha74,

I'm not sure you fully understand the idea of proportional cost components, cost /benefit, and the low space efficiency of a component system. Yes, your example of $269, $46 RAM, $32 HD $12 ! for both keyboard and mouse, $70 monitor, and $80 OS totals $512 and that is not $800.

Still, for $500 I can buy a Dell Inspiron with an i3-5010U, 17" screen, 500GB HD, and Windows 10 -and the keyboard will be of higher quality than a "$7" one.

If I buy a high-end Cubi for $479, RAM for $46, a HD for $60 a K/B for $20, mouse for $12, OS for $80, and $100 monitor, the total is $787. Then there needs to be some kind of flash drive or external optical drive for I/O, say that costs $25-40, so something over over $800.

Now, compare this cost to a laptop of about the same cost, an HP Pavilion 17t. For the $815, it's possible to have a 17.3" screen, i5-5500U (2core /4 thread 2.4 /3GHz), 8GB RAM, 1TB HD, DVD drive, Windows 10, keyboard, tracking pad, and optical drive. The most important addition is a GeForce 940M 2GB GPU. And consider the space usage and convenience. If you think that the separate Cubi system box, monitor keyboard, mouse, and external power supply occupies less space than the laptop, you may not fully understand that a laptop may also be quickly folded shut, moved to another location and run off a battery. With a Cubi, there's all the uplugging and putting things in a box and finding a plug in the next location. Since the news item was published I did see that there is a way to mount a Cubi on the back of a monitor, which does give a slightly neatness to the arrangement- I like that , but a reasonable cost all-in-one is still better and cleaner looking and with less pluggery.

Besides convenience, portability, and expandability, will the laptop with an i5 and 2GB GeForce also be more useful in- well everything? A lot of attention in the article was oddly related to gaming and I'm confident that the ability to add a dedicated GPU to a laptop means there's no contest with a Cubi in that use.

As for the Raspberry Pi, I think you don't fully understand what they're for. Example: A friend at NASA is using a pair of these to control and monitor telemetry for an experimental aircraft control system in a flight model (2M wingspan). Is a Cubi the system for this application? By the way, it's called- Raspberry Pi as in the mathematical symbol, not "Pie" -but of course that's the joke.

Interesting discussion!

Cheers,

BambiBoom

 

f-14

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I don't understand who are these PCs made for?

On one hand they are barebones and need some parts which immediately makes it a non starter for average consumer who does not understand tech beyond that iPhone 5 is slower than iPhone 5S.

On enthusiast side it's pointless to have this because enthusiasts want desktops, graphics, it's just not powerful enough.

Is it for IT pros? I can see them buying these, adding the latest and greatest affordable parts and making it a PC for employees at the company.
Very impressive, but I just showed it to someone and they said "How is it better than a laptop?" To which I did not have an answer. Help me out.
@Larry Litmanen
Enthusiasts may want for another purposes, for example use as HTPC if you have a NAS with all your media then use one of these connected to any TV with Kodi or other media manger, not everything in enthusiast about powerful rigs.
I totally agree with Larry, and who are these enthusiasts you speak of, these are more of dvr/console wanabee's who lack functionality and software to run either
@tom10167
It isn't, but depending on the price is a better solution for small offices with few workers or to use as small home server for some 24/7 applications
Also agree with Tom, you need to explain to me why would I buy this when I can buy a dell for my small office at home or work.

so clearly this isn't a gaming machine or a dvr or small server, then wtf is it for?
Who would want these?
1. They are very low powered
2. They take up very little space

They would make great media servers, backup servers (with external SATA/USB) firewalls, HTPC playback devices, or small game machines for the living room. They would also fit well in POS machines (point of sale) or Kiosk.
as BambiBoom stated right on the money and digitalgriffin asked the most obvious question that's easy for me to answer:

auto manufacturers and most importantly the military ground and naval forces. imagine what you can do with these in a humvee or an abrams. command and control applications friend or foe and area of operations in as fast as real time as you can get with communications relay for squad right to the chief of staffs office hundreds or thousands of miles away.

i'm only touching the tip of an iceberg, this would work great for freight and commuter trains as well as shipping companies connected right to the driver in the big rig hauling the frieght as well as bus and cab companies.
 
I don't understand who are these PCs made for?

On one hand they are barebones and need some parts which immediately makes it a non starter for average consumer who does not understand tech beyond that iPhone 5 is slower than iPhone 5S.

On enthusiast side it's pointless to have this because enthusiasts want desktops, graphics, it's just not powerful enough.

Is it for IT pros? I can see them buying these, adding the latest and greatest affordable parts and making it a PC for employees at the company.
I don't understand who are these PCs made for?

On one hand they are barebones and need some parts which immediately makes it a non starter for average consumer who does not understand tech beyond that iPhone 5 is slower than iPhone 5S.

On enthusiast side it's pointless to have this because enthusiasts want desktops, graphics, it's just not powerful enough.

Is it for IT pros? I can see them buying these, adding the latest and greatest affordable parts and making it a PC for employees at the company.
These boxes are for the HTPC crowd who want a dedicated video platform with the flexibility of a PC OS such as windows or linux
 
Achoo22,
15 seconds to find this on Wikipedia:

"The Windows version was built to work in both Direct3D 10 (DirectX 10) and DirectX 9, with the DirectX 10 version supporting additional water and particle effects."
 
I could see numerous examples where a device that fits in your pocket will shine:

Hotels - With screens / keyboards / mice in hotel conference centers, you can carry *your* OS, *your* data (all your data) everywhere you ho w/o the hassle / weight of a laptop.

Campus - Student Centers as above

Internet Cafe's - As above

Mobile Systems - Delivery drivers, snow plows, garbage truck routes, salesmen, etc. .. plugged in to a Aux port on an in dash screen / audio device, this could take the in dash entertainment system to the business world.
 
I may buy one.

I had a Western Digital media player which is awesome if a bit sluggish to start until a lighting strike destroyed it (and they don't make a version I want now). It basically played EVERYTHING in my collection which is hard to find. Not ROKU or others.

It seems like an x86, low-powered device to use with KODI (Linux version) is really the best way to go. I'll just have to investigate if NETFLIX works without any issues as I want everything to easily run from a remote.

I may even use this to web browse instead of my game machine if it's fast enough.
 

IInuyasha74

Splendid
Moderator


Don't worry too much about Netflix. This works about like you would expect a laptop or desktop, and uses essentially all the same software. If you have a Linux distro that works on your PC, it shouldn't have any issues working here, and Netflix setup should work easily the same.

I don't think you will have much issue web browsing on it either. That is one of the things it does best. Just don't try to push a game too hard on it, and you won't have much issue using it like a low-end computer.
 
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