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Tuesday | April 25, 2017
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MSI Cubi Review

MSI Cubi Review

For a while it seemed that all in one systems, machines which have the main PC components built into the back of the screen, would be the next big thing. That hasn’t happened and instead the trend looks to be going more towards ultra compact systems, at least as far as desktops go. A number of major manufacturers have systems based on this form factor and MSI are no different, today we test one in our MSI Cubi Review.

MSI Cubi Review – Packaging and Bundle

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Online Homework Help Or Hindrance The Cubi arrives in a compact box which resembles some of the key design aspects of the PC. Inside we find the system wrapped in a protective bag and surrounded by cardboard and foam. Bundled with the mini-PC we get product documentation, screws, a mount to hang it, software disk, power supply (65w) a drive cable and a second base. Those last two items combine to allow additional storage. We can add a 2.5″ SATA drive in this slightly expanded base, or stick to one SSD using the stock base with lower height.

MSI Cubi Review – The Cubi

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The Cubi is available in black or, as shown above, a matt white finish with both having dimensions of 115x111x35mm using the standard base (46mm height when extended. Weight is 295g vs 480g). The front left corner is slightly angled and houses the power button and LED with the front surface being the location of our first set of connectors. Two USB 3.0 ports and 3.5mm audio. A drive activity LED is also located here. Flipping the system over we find plenty of air vents, four rubber feet on the base and additional connectors. These start with another two USB 3.0 port then run through GB LAN, mini-DisplayPort (4k @60hz), HDMI and power. A lock slot is also found on the side, allowing us to secure the unit to our desk.

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We access the inside of the system by removing the four screws on the  base. This reveals the two memory slots, mSATA SSD slot and beneath it our Intel wireless-AC/Bluetooth card. The motherboard can be lifted out and on the flip side is our CPU and cooling fan (approx 22dB rating).

cpugpu

Scient Homework Helper For specifications we have a Broadwell-U based Intel Core-i3 5005U CPU. This is a dual core model with hyperthreading that runs at 2.0GHz. MSI supply one stick of 1600MHz Samsung DDR3 (2x8GB supported) and our SSD is a 120GB model from Transcend. MSI go with Intels integrated GPU on the Broadwell-U chip which is the HD5500, a DirectX 11.2 capable part.

NOTE: Other CPU options are available, an i5-5200U, Pentium 3805U and Celeron 3205U.

MSI Cubi Review – Bios, OS and software

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MSI install Windows 8.1 on the Cubi and add to that some of their own software which includes backup application, cloud media suite, boot options, mobile access and scene selection.

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As far as the BIOS goes, we get a standard Aptio layout with all of the normal options available to us.

MSI Cubi Review – Performance

All Cubi gaming tests were at 1280×720 with medium/high detail. The SSD used was a Samsung 850 Pro and the USB drive a Samsung T1.

Cinebench R15
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Memory Bandwidth
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SATA3 /USB 3.0
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Thermals
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1080p Video Playback CPU Use
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Call of Duty Advanced Warfare 1920×1080 Maximum Detail
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DOTA 2 1920×1080 maximum
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F1 1920×1080 Ultra Detail
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MSI Cubi Review – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality and design of the MSI Cubi we have no concerns. The system feels solid, is finished well and has a decent port layout. Access to the inside for upgrading components is very easy, just four screws, and we really like that MSI have supplied that alternate base which allows us to add some extra storage if needed, or keep our system as compact as possible.

Component choice is decent. Samsung memory is always good to see, though we would have preferred 2x4gb as the base option, and Intels Wi-Fi cards never let us down. As far tas the SSD goes, Transcend is ok, though there are brands out there that offer improved write speeds.Speaking of performance, overall the system gave us results exactly at the level we would expect. There is no loss of performance between this and a full size desktop with the same components. USB read speed was good, write could have been a little better but SATA was spot on, right at the limits of the high end drive. Network performance was also good with HD video streaming without issue. We outputted to a 4K screen via the mini-DisplayPort during our testing without issue and the system was capable of playing mainstream games at 1280×720 resolution (the same as Xbox 360) at medium/high detail.

As far as pricing goes, the Cubi will vary depending on the specification chosen however from initial listings it appears to be competitively priced at each level and that mixed with the good design and flexibility wins it our recommended award.

Recommended Award

About Author

Stuart Davidson

3 Comments

  1. Will

    Does the Cubi support Self-Encrypting Drives?

  2. Clayton B

    That was a great review, well done. I am looking for a solution to run the Kodi media center software. I only need to output to my 50″ plasma at 1920×1080. I will be attaching a 2.5″ portable USB 3.0 drive as the source. Will this Cubi be a good solution? Thank you for your time 🙂

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