Samsung 840 EVO mSATA 500GB SSD review

Dave James at

This is an absolutely tiny solid state drive. Not in capacity terms - nope, it packs 500GB into that frame - but in build size. It’s tough to really get across just how wee the new Samsung 840 EVO mSATA drive is. Even when I tell you it measures some 5 x 3cm that hardly seems to do it justice. The fact is you’d probably miss the drive even once it’s embedded in a mini-ITX motherboard.

The most impressive thing about this little mSATA 840 EVO though is the fact that it has exactly the same performance as it’s chunkier 2.5-inch brethren. In case you’d forgotten, they’re pretty epic when it comes to SSD performance themselves. The 840 EVO mSATA is pure Samsung from top to bottom. It’s got a smattering of 19nm 3-bit MLC NAND Flash attached to that wee slice of PCB, and Samsung’s own MEX memory controller helps shunt data around at excellent speed.

The MSI Z87I: a mighty-affordable mini motherboard

Dave James at

I have to admit I’m an absolute sucker for a good mini-ITX motherboard, and the MSI Z87I is one of the best I’ve come across. There’s something wonderful about pulling a tiny mobo from its packaging knowing that it’s capable of forming an immensely powerful gaming rig. There’s also something rather gratifying about jamming a massive graphics card into that PCIe slot and seeing it dwarfing the board it’s plugged in to.

BitFenix announce their latest prodigious mini-PC chassis

Dave James at

Classy chassis manufacturers BitFenix have just announced the latest addition to their range of small form factor cases, the Prodigy M.

Building on the success of the quite lovely mini-ITX Prodigy the redesigned Prodigy M will not only be capable of housing the very smallest mini-ITX motherboards around but now also has enough space to be able to take mATX motherboards too. That means seriously powerful Z87 motherboards, like the Gigabyte G1. Sniper M5, are now within reach.

Lian Li unveil quirky new PC mini-chassis designs, what do you think?

Dave James at

I have to admit I am an absolute sucker for a good mini-ITX machine. And Lian Li is looking to create the next generation of small form factor chassis with its new PC-Q30 and PC-TU100 cases. Though someone in the marketing department of Lian Li needs to have a word about the less-than-dynamic naming conventions of its new chassis, however funky they might look. The PC-TU100 (I’m going to rename you Kenyon, after my favourite Football Manager player of the moment) is a new addition to Lian Li's TU series of ‘briefcase’ chassis and is apparently even more compact than the previous compact chassis. Let's take a look.

Mini-motherboards: the shape of things to come?

Dave James at

So motherboard makers ECS have just announced their new mini-ITX motherboard introducing the AMD Kabini platform to the desktop masses. It’s got a soldered-on SoC (system-on-a-chip) AMD A6-5200, housing four 28nm Jaguar cores and the Radeon HD 8400 Graphics Core Next GPU.

With a whole suite of expansion opportunities in this tiny mobo footprint too is this motherboard the shape of our future PCs? Of course not, after all who would be crazy enough to build a mid-level gaming PC using just AMD Jaguar cores? Oh, hold on a second

But this has still gotten me thinking about the future of the desktop PC and whether we really need to have those chunky ATX mobos anymore.

Lian-Li produces pick-upable PC case

Adam Oxford at

I wouldn't recommend it if you want to build a rig capable of maxing out Battlefield 3, but for anything less Lian-Li has just announced an elegantly sized and extremely good looking case, the PC-TU200.

Standing just 32cm high by 21cm wide, its luggage-like looks are set off by a large handle on the top. Obvious uses are for a system you plan on hauling around to LAN parties, although it's one with awesome modding potential if you're that way inclined too.