Small form factor PCs have been around for a while, and barebones PCs for even longer. Traditionally a barebones PC is a basic shell, including a case, power supply and motherboard at minimum, and occasionally tooled up with a few extras like RAM.
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A revolution is taking place, and the Labs team investigates to find out what all the fuss is about.
Small form factor PCs have been around for a while, and barebones PCs for even longer. Traditionally a barebones PC is a basic shell, including a case, power supply and motherboard at minimum, and occasionally tooled up with a few extras like RAM. These shells were then sold en masse to PC vendors as the basis for new full systems. These days though, it's the end user who is getting into the barebones concept. The beauty is you can make one purchase and get an excellently equipped base upon which to build your own PC. Best of all, you don't have to install the mobo yourself.
Small form factor barebones have been a recent phenomena, with dozens of new models being introduced in the last several months. These systems come in a range of flavours, from systems capable of operating as a full PC, with an APG slot for serious graphics, through to trimmed down packages specifically for living room usage.
We've taken twelve barebones ranging in price and features from the bottom end $399 all the way up to top class systems at $649. Moving into Christmas this is going to be on plenty of gamers' and enthusiasts' wish lists, and it'll be appealing to the living room home entertainment buff too. If you're looking to upgrade, build from scratch or you want to put together a second system for the home, then these systems are truly ideal.
Also stay tuned next month for our feature on how to build and customise your own PC, as well as a full guide on putting together a media centre system for a bit of lounge room home entertainment.