A Closer Look: External Features
The outer shell of the Mega mPC 945 is a neutral white that is clean and unassuming. The Optical Drive bay is masked by a spring loaded door that quietly opens when the drive is ejected and retracts smoothly when the drive door closes. You might have also noticed that MSI relocated the eject button to the center left of the unit, not in-line with the drive's eject mechanism. Instead, the button has a proprietary circuit board mounted on the rear of the bezel that connects to a header on the mainboard, signaling to eject the drive.
To the right is the Mega mPC 945's power button while the 7-in-1 card reader is masked by another door at the lower portion of the system. The 7-in-1 card reader offers good versatility, with the ability to read virtually every common memory card format available. Additionally, MSI included a 4-Pin and 6-Pin IEEE 1394 port, two USB ports as well as SPDIF, Headphone and Microphone jacks. The door that covers these components is on a press and release mechanism that requires pressing the upper right corner to release. Ideally, the user should be able to press anywhere on the door to release it, but the plastic flexes too much. Additionally, a fair amount of force is required to release and close the door, where a light-touch mechanism would be preferred.
When we switch focus to the rear of the Mega mPC 945, a host of additional outputs and inputs are revealed. The upper left is where the 260w power supply is situated along with its integrated exhaust fan. The center of the chassis also has a separate exhaust fan as well. At the upper right is the Mega mPC 945's WiFi antenna that can be adjusted a full 360 degrees for proper orientation in any environment.
Along the bottom of the mPC 945 we find the 7.1 channel audio ports, along with an SPDIF output, which are driven by a Realtek ALC880 HD Audio CODEC. Two PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports are provided for legacy support as well as a single Serial Port. An on-board VGA port supplies integrated graphics via Intel's GMA950 Graphics processor, although, oddly, no TV-out option is provided. MSI also includes an additional 4 USB 2.0 ports in addition to an RJ45 LAN jack for Gigabit LAN connectivity, powered by Realtek's 8110SB (1000/100/10) controller.