If you need an onboard computer that doesn’t eat up a lot of space, the new KEP Marine Barracuda series is designed to fit the bill. This little boat-brain squeezes into a 12-inch rack system and is housed in a chassis no more than 3.5 inches tall. And although its profile is slim, the Barracuda’s capabilities are more than respectable.

The Barracuda can be mounted in a rack system, or in a bulkhead surface-mount.

The Barracuda can be mounted in a rack system, or in a bulkhead surface-mount.

The Barracuda 100 series features two or four GB of RAM, a 64-GB solid-state storage drive (SSD), 500 GB hard drive options, and can be upgraded to a quad-core CPU. The next step up, the 200 series, adds a slot-loading CD-RW/DVD drive, four GB of RAM, a 64-GB SSD, and is available with 500 GB or one TB hard drives. The Barracuda 300 series consists of four models with a wide selection of drive capabilities and types, and features four GB of RAM, up to two 64-GB SSDs and, for maximum storage, a choice of two high-capacity two TB hard drives. Hard drives come in both removable and built-in versions.

All of these models are engineered for on-the-water use, with low power consumption and multiple power options ranging from six to 30 DC volts. Once installed, they’ll help you with everything from navigation to communications to media stowage. Even challenges like video processing are a snap, thanks to the AMD Athlon II dual-core CPU, and putting those videos on-screen is easy with VGA, DVI, and HDMI outputs. You need to get data flowing in both directions? The Barracudas also have 1000/100/10 Gigabit LAN and 7 USB inputs.

Want to run Windows 7? Windows XP? Linux OS? No problem, no problem, and no problem. Want to control your goodies from afar? Again no problem, thanks to the RS-232 remote control system.

Now, want to do it all without emptying out your bank account? Well… this detail could present a slight problem for some boaters since the model line starts at $2,998, significantly more than most land-based systems. But it’s no wonder; computers built for boats have to be tough, and the Barracuda is customized for marine use and encased in aluminum or stainless-steel, available with brushed, polished, painted, or powder-coat finishes. When it comes to cramming gobs of marine computing power into an extremely small package, the Barracuda has clearly earned its chops—and our respect.