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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [10.07.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson
Manufactured by: Monarch Computer Systems 

Price: Varies
(Around $300-340 for a 'barebones' system which includes a motherboard and PSU)

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While not quite twice the size of a monster truck, the Hornet comes pretty close at a not-so-small 13"x11"x9". This isn't your momma's websurfer. Boasting a selection of one of 6 uATX motherboards (3 AMD, 3 Intel) under the hood, the Hornet is designed not only to sting competeting small PCs but their full tower desktops as well. The Hornet we have here is equipped with a Chaintech 7NIL1 nForce2 400 motherboard.

Take a look at some of these features:

- Tool-less construction
- Enough room for a FULL SIZE AGP Video Card (even the new nVidia 5900 Ultra!)
- 3 PCI Slots
- Removable Motherboard Tray
- 2 Temperature Monitors
- Detachable Handle for easy mobility
- 2 internal 3.5", 1 external 3.5", 1 external 5.25"
- 4 USB (2.0/1.1) and Audio In/Out (Speakers/Headset, Microphone) on front
- Includes Whisper Quiet front fan and side fan with optional rear fan.
- Configurable with 800 FSB Intel or 400 FSB AMD
- Perfect for LAN parties & Clusters
- Dimensions WxHxD: 11" x 9" (9.5" w/feet) x 13"
- Dry weight: 8 lbs.

What else could you need? The only thing I can think of is only one external 5.25" but let's think about that one for a second. Our unit came with a Samsung 352 DVD/CD-RW combo drive, which takes care of all my optical drive needs.  What else could you need? A temperature monitor or front mounted USB ports? All included. Anything else? Didn't think so. 

Monarch makes full use of the Hornet's additional bulk, letting you install 3 PCI cards instead of the usual one in addition to a AGP video card. You might be thinking "What would I need three PCI slots for? I hardly need one." While many components that we once needed PCI slots for are now built into the motherboard, some may still prefer to use a PCI solution for something such as the sound card or RAID controller instead of the one included. It would be nice to add a real sound card in the future, especially if I decide to use the Monarch in a home theater environment with a TOSlink output.

The ability to use three PCI cards may not be all that important to you but I always think it's better to have something and not need it rather than need it and not have it. The same goes for the AGP clearance of the Hornet. You may not HAVE a 5900 Ultra but if you decide to buy one, I believe this is currently the only SFF box that will accomodate it.

Removable motherboard trays are a must these days for all cases, not just small ones. Monarch uses thumbscrews just about everywhere they can be used and includes another handfull of extra
ones, making for a fairly easy to use case.  Simply undo the thumb screws for the tray and slide it out.  This gives you ample room to work with and the inside of the Hornet is roomy enough to allow a REAL cooling solution instead of a wimpy stock one. I give Shuttle much praise for creating a usable cooler but let's face it, you can't overclock much with the I.C.E. system.

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