Send to Readability
+ Pocket
Send to Instapaper

In the parlance of PC manufacturers, a barebones machine is a desktop stripped down to the essentials. This typically means just a case and an installed motherboard. No power supply, storage, graphics card or optical media. Nor any software — barebones PCs ship without Windows or any other operating system.

Who needs these? They’re meant to be sold in bulk, destined for resellers who then add the various components and sell them as pre-loaded desktops. Or alternatively, companies and organizations looking for flexibility and to keep costs down may also opt to get entire batches of barebones PCs, allowing themselves more time and leeway in installing the parts and software tailored to their needs.

But trends are ever changing, and in this competitive market, added features have pretty much negated the very concept of a barebones computer. Take the new ASUS S1-AT5NM10E for example. It’s a compact barebones desktop designed for multimedia and home entertainment applications. But in addition to the motherboard that’s already inside, ASUS is shipping this one with a CPU and GPU, both on the motherboard.

The main processor is Intel’s powerful but efficient ATOM D525 dual core CPU, while graphics are courtesy the brand new NVIDIA ION graphics engine. These two can handle quite a lot of load between them, and are more than what you’d expect from a barebones PC. They’re also more than integrated components, retaining performance levels familiar from discrete processing units.

On the software side, PC makers are listening to their target audience and bundling more features and content even with barebones systems. The S1-AT5NM10E comes with its own mini-operating system, the ASUS Express Gate, which can get users online or using multimedia features in mere seconds from the moment they press the power button.

There’s also Q-Fan ventilation control, which governs the case fans to reduce noise and keep things cool intelligently — very good in a multimedia machine that needs a quiet environment for movies and music.

Other highlights include EZ Flash BIOS updates from a USB stick, plus one-stop system management front AI Manager. In other words, the barebones concept is evolving, getting closer and closer to what would be considered a regular desktop thanks to the addition of new features.

Guess we have the market to thank for that! At any rate, if you’re looking for an affordable desktop PC that you’ll be able to modify and tinker with, consider a barebones machine.

▼ You might also like..
The basics of good 3D
( Relevance » 13.1 )
Five good reasons to be a geek
( Relevance » 6.6 )
generic #7774 | 127
More in Uncategorized (400 of 644 articles)