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iF Product Design Award, AnandTech Editor's Choice ASRock M8 Mini ITX Gaming PC 4th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3/Xeon/Pentium/Celeron Intel Socket LGA1150 Intel Z87 1 x HDMI Barebone
MSI Nightblade-012BUS Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium (LGA1150) Intel Socket LGA1150 Intel Z87 1 x HDMI Barebone Slim Slot-in DVD SuperMulti Drive included
MSI Nightblade-013BUS Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium (LGA1150) Intel Socket LGA1150 Intel Z87 1 x HDMI Barebone
Intel i5 4200, AMD HD8850M, 802.11ac WiFi, MHSL ASRock VisionX 420D-8G1T88 Intel Core i5 4200M Intel HM87 AMD Radeon R9 M270X 1 x HDMI Barebone
Intel i5 4200, 802.11ac WiFi, MHSL ASRock VISION HT 420D-4G1T Intel Core i5 4200M Intel HM87 Intel HD Graphics 4600 1 x HDMI Barebone
CybertronPC Trooper BB-1 TBB1244A AMD FX 4130 3.8GHz AMD Socket AM3+ ATI Radeon 3000 1 x HDMI Barebone
CybertronPC 5150 Escape TBB1244C AMD FX 4130 3.8GHz AMD Socket AM3+ ATI Radeon 3000 1 x HDMI Barebone
Liquid Cool CPU Cooler CybertronPC Energon-LC7 Intel i7-4770K 3.5 GHz Intel Socket LGA1150 Barebone
Shuttle SZ87R6 Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium (LGA1150) Intel Socket LGA1150 Intel Z87 1 x HDMI High-Performance Multi-Display & Video Wall Barebone
MSI Hetis H61 Ultra-E Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium (LGA1155) Intel Socket H2(LGA1155) Intel H61 Intel HD Graphics by CPU 1 x HDMI Barebone
MSI 6681-001BUS Intel Core2 Quad and Core2 Duo processors (TDP: Max. 65W) Intel Socket T(LGA775) Intel G41 Intel GMA X4500 1 x HDMI 4.7-liter Desktop Barebone with SuperMulti DVDRW Drive included
Minix NEO-X5MINI Rockchip RK3066 Dual-Core Cortex A9 Quad Core Mali 400 1 x HDMI Remote Control Smart Media Hub
Shuttle XH61V Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / Pentium / CeleronIntel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium (LGA1155) Intel Socket H2(LGA1155) Intel H61 none 1 x HDMI Barebone
Shuttle Barebone with Touchscreen X50V2-PLUS (BLACK) Intel Atom D525 (1.8GHz, Dual-Core) Intel Socket BGA559 Intel NM10 Intel GMA 3150
JetWay HBJC128F9F-H61-B Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 (LGA1155) Intel Socket H2(LGA1155) Intel H61 Barebone
JetWay HBJC700C9JG-H61-BW Intel Core i7 / i5 / i3 / Pentium (LGA1155) (35W only) Intel Socket H2(LGA1155) Intel H61 NVIDIA GeForce GT 520M 1 x HDMI Barebone
JetWay HBJC128F83-464-B AMD Embedded R-Series R-464L Quad Core 2.3 GHz AMD Radeon HD7660G 4 x HDMI Barebone
While there are a vast number of personal computers available today that can fulfill all sorts of requirements, some people are still more interested in overseeing the production of their machine personally. Users that want a bigger role building a PC themselves often have to start from scratch, obtaining each individual part - not to mention an enclosure - and assembling it from the ground up.
Putting these components together involves a lot of effort, as well. There is soldering to accomplish and wiring to run. Crafting a functional PC takes a lot of time, effort and knowledge, and some buyers on the market are looking for an easier way to get to the endpoint of their choice without feeling intimidated by a lot of complicated steps.
Because a greater segment of the population has taken to this level of customization with such a high interest, many companies have begun to roll out what is known as a barebone PC. Units like these house only the essentials, allowing DIY enthusiasts to get a jump start on creating their ideal computer without having to bend over backwards. With a few extra, hand-selected parts, a barebone PC can become a totally personalized machine.
What Comes Standard
A barebone PC is obviously not going to be able to perform out of the box. Essentially, only the heavy lifting has been taken care of with this kind of hardware. The groundwork, such as motherboard installation, has been laid out - all that needs to be considered after purchase is what kind of computer the barebone PC will become.
Those who purchase barebone PCs are going to have to make considerations regarding how their machine will be required to perform. Sound is generally all taken care of, but there is no memory, graphics card or central processing unit, meaning that builders are going to have to weigh options for each of these individual aspects before getting started.
Will the computer be expected to play video games or high definition movies? How many personal documents are going to be transferred upon completion? These are the kinds of questions that have to be asked before buying any of the required components. In many cases, they could even need to be pondered before selecting a chassis - some barebones are only compatible with specific brands of hardware.
Variations on Barebone Units
Even though barebone PCs can be individualized to an elevated degree, there are still variations on them that are geared towards specific sets of users. Here are the three main categories of barebone PC: Standard Bareone PC which is an affordable and easy way to own a custom computer. Manufacturers like Shuttle, Minix and Foxconn have a variety of options, many with extra features of their own - some offerings from Shuttle even include touchscreens. Gaming Barebone PCs are developed by many of the same companies that participate in the market for standard models. ASRock and GIGABYTE both have units that are made specifically with gamers in mind. The GIGABYTE BRIX, for example, provides top-of-the-line visuals through a Radeon graphics card, which is a common selection when 3D robot battles are going to be common occurrence. Mini Barebone PC serves as a customized media hub for their home theaters and do not want it to take up a lot of space. While barebones are generally compact in nature, they still have extra mass that might be unsightly on a small shelf. This is primarily why mini barebones exist - companies involved with barebones saw a need and filled it with slimmer options.