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Mini-Box.com M300 Mini-ITX Enclosure
Author: Jason Kohrs
Manufacturer: Mini-Box.com
Source: Mini-Box.com
Purchase: Mini-Box.com
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 7 of 7 [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ]
Mini-Box.com M300 Mini-ITX Enclosure
January 09, 2007

Conclusion:

Browsing the Mini-Box.com website shows that they have a bunch of great items for Mini-ITX systems. Combining two of them, the M300 Mini-ITX Enclosure and the picoPSU-120 120W PSU, creates the basis for a great small form factor system with a bunch of nice features.

Not only is it one of the smaller Mini-ITX enclosures out there with a full height expansion slot, it manages to pack other useful goodies inside as well. Cooling doesn't suffer due to the small foot print, as the two 40mm fan mounts prove to be well positioned and well sized to keep the key components cool. And, don't forget the CompactFlash slot integrated into the front panel. This can be used simply as a card reader, but can also be used as a solid state boot drive that will generate no noise, minimal heat, and be quite resilient.


The main down side to the M300 case is its perceived ruggedness. The design doesn't seem particularly robust, and the manuals warning about limited assembly / disassembly cycles doesn't help to instill much confidence. It should be just fine in a stationary environment out of the threat of bumps, shakes, and other chances to cause damage, but the size and features make it appealing to me as an in-car computer. Mini-Box.com is quite clear about this being for embedded applications, but they do have plans for improvements in an upcoming revision, and that could make this case even more attractive for others looking for an in-car computer featuring a full height expansion slot.

The M300 sells for $59.95 at Mini-Box.com, which isn't a bad price as compared to other Mini-ITX cases out there. The size, expansion slot, and CompactFlash slot help increase its value, but it does not include a power supply or space to mount an optical drive. Just in case you want to shop around for the M300, your choices outside of Mini-Box.com are quite limited. Mini-Box.com is the manufacturer and retailer, so they have about the best deal and most of your other sources for this case are eBay sellers.

Given the size, built in features, and simple good looks, I award the Mini-Box.com M300 Mini-ITX Enclosure the rating of "Recommended" for anyone looking for a compact Mini-ITX case with some nice added touches.


Pros:

About as small as you can get with a Mini-ITX case featuring a PCI slot
Bootable CompactFlash slot built in
Simple good looks
Mounts for dual cooling fans (one fan included)
CPU, GPU, and HDD all ran cool

Cons:

Not a rugged design ("for limited assembly / disassembly cycles")
Can only use one 2.5" drive when card used with PCI riser
No room for an optical drive

Special thanks to Mini-Box.com for providing the Mini-Box.com M300 Mini-ITX Enclosure to Bigbruin.com for review!

Please drop by the Bigbruin.com Forum and feel free to post any comments or questions.

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