SFF systems have become a well known product as space has become a premium and LAN gaming has caught on with many enthusiasts. Almost every company around today has either designed an SFF system from scratch, or stolen the design outright from another company in an attempt to attain one. This is being done in a head over heels effort to get at least one mini system to market and stay competitive. I have used many of these systems over the past two years and have watched the transition change from platform to platform, with each new generation offering just a bit more than its predecessor. This will most probably be one of the last reviews you will see on motherboards.org that still uses the socket 478 interface as the new 915/925X platforms will be the standard for the Intel desktop market and will be the direction everyone will be going soon, but who knows right?
We reviewed the original Monarch Hornet about six months back and were impressed by many of its features and its ergonomic design in its first run. The original Hornet had a few minor drawbacks but was still able to make a mark in the industry due to its uniqueness and flexibility. The new Hornet has the basic makeup of its predecessor with some cool new modifications that make it even more appealing than ever. Monarch is not by nature a manufacturer but rather a distributor and a close ally of AMD's marketing program so many may find it strange that they offer they own brand of SFF. I think Trey and his brother who run the company just wanted a mini system that was a step above the normal faire and in that light went forward and created the Hornet. I do not know of any other distributor that has gone out on a limb like this to make an innovative SFF system for their product line so they are unique in that fashion. Lets take a look at what has changed, what has not, and how the Hornet stacks up against the competition.