IntroductionHardware manufacturers are often keen to exploit other avenues of growth. Just because a firm is best known for producing motherboards doesn't preclude it from branching out into related areas. Most, if not all, of the motherboard goliaths now carry a full range of graphics cards, usually based on either ATi's or NVIDIA's latest GPUs. MSI, for example, now manufacture or distribute the obvious motherboard, graphics cards, server-orientated hardware, optical drives, wireless and wired connectivity and barebones units.
Barebone units have now becoming exceedingly popular for a number of reasons. Utilising the power of the latest feature-packed chipsets and CPUs into a small, cute form factor has obvious attractions. The small form factor-based PC is steadily encroaching on the incumbent desktop or tower's sales, and it's not to see why.
Manufacturers are never too keen to miss an opportunity of increasing revenue. The explosion in SFF PC demand is a potentially huge revenue stream for those that can get it right. Shuttle immediately spring to mind, but there are also others who are currently plying the SFF (or barebone unit) trade.
Soltek is perhaps known to enthusiasts as the provider of decent, performance-orientated motherboards. Its profile doesn't currently, in this country at least, match that of the well-established likes of MSI, ASUS, Gigabyte, et al. However, Soltek has expanded its operations to include, in its words, mini barebones systems. We're never one to pass up an opportunity to review interesting products. Shuttle has set the benchmark for toaster-sized, powerful mini PCs. Let's now see what Soltek has to offer.
We're never one to pass up an opportunity to review interesting products. Shuttle has set the benchmark for toaster-sized, powerful mini PCs. Let's now see what Soltek has to offer.