AOpen EZ65 XCcube SFF PC Review
There's a well known saying that good
things come in small packages, but that hasn't always rung true with Small Form Factor (SFF) PCs.
With the birth of SFF computing, we have seen these tiny toaster-sized PC's evolve
from novelty items which could barely handle first person shooter games, to systems which rival even the
most powerful full-tower computers today. With so many custom built full-sized
computers out there forming one big ocean of beige, it's good to know that
SFF PC's aren't just for word processing on integrated graphics chips
Shuttle were the first mainboard
manufacturer to mass produce SFF PC's, and they have arguably become quite successful at it once their
first AGP-less models were discontinued. As the SFF PC movement has gained momentum, companies from
Abit to MSI, and Soltek to AOpen have each
introduced their own varying models onto the market. Some SFF PC's have
included a bewildering array of blinking lights, stereo and home theatre
options, questionable overclocking modules, and even electro luminescent front
panels. In this review, PCstats will be testing out AOpen's brand spanking
new EZ65 XCcube - a small form factor PC built on impeccable design,
with one of the best internal layouts we've ever seen.
The Aopen EZ65 XCcube is based around the powerful, yet
thrifty Intel i865G Northbridge chipset, and
ICH5 Southbridge. It supports any Socket478
Pentium 4 Northwood processor, but it is unclear if it will work with
the newly released Prescott core (known to demand a little more power than previous
processors). The board has two available DIMM slots for upto 2GB
of DDR RAM, in the PC3200 region. Other standard features include 5.1
audio, IEEE 1394, Serial ATA, Gigabit LAN (Broadcom), 8X AGP and PCI slots.
equipped well enough to replace a standard workstation PC in the home or
office, at just a fraction of the space required for a full-sized computer. AOpen's
XCcube can also be used in places where space is
an issue, and where the multimedia powers of a small computer would be great;
for example, as part of a home theatre set up.
||AOpen EZ65 XCcube
User Manuals, power cord, case
screws, IDE and floppy cables, EZ65 CPU heatsink, driver
disks, Serial ATA, ATA-molex power cord, shammy for
polishing the XCcube.
First impressions say
a lot, and after cracking open the colourful XCcube box, we immediately thought AOpen had abandoned
the PC market and gone Apple.... if not in the technological sense, at least in
The clean white front of the EZ65 XCcube is reminiscent of recent Mac's, but
what is under the glossy white aluminum chassis is certainly not Apple technology. To maintain the clean,
uncluttered appearance, Aopen have hidden the 5.25" CD-ROM and 3.5" Floppy bays behind some plastic flaps which
match the front of the case perfectly. The CD-ROM bay cover only opens when the drive's
tray is open. This is accomplished with a small chrome-plated button just to the
To access the floppy drive, if
you happen to install one, the spring loaded flap opens by pushing it in. The
same mechanism is used to hide the lower media ports. If you use a lot of multimedia devices
with your PC, it is pretty handy to have all the jacks up front, and
AOpen have made things simple for the user by placing
these ports up front on the EZ65 XCcube. There's an optical out, a microphone
and headphone jack for music, two USB and two IEEE 1394 ports as well.
When the multimedia jacks are not being used, the flap can be closed so
they are not visible.