Cable management is also a big
concern with SFF PCs, both the internal cables to and from the motherboard and
ports, and the IDE and power cables for the devices you'll add in. Overall, I would say that Soltek did a good job in this department. Where
required the cables are cleaned up with zip ties, and clamps to hold
the cables in place.
Soltek packs a pretty hefty 250W power supply into the QBiC,
which should provide your system with ample power. There are a total of four molex
and two floppy drive power connectors, plenty for any combination of devices likely to
be installed in the QBiC.
There are some other little things Soltek has engineered into
the case to make life easier for everyone. For instance, the serial ATA cable connectors are rotated 90 degrees so the cables
can run perpendicular to the motherboard. This saves valuable space and doesn't
require you to bend the cables very much when plugging them in. Soltek have also
used folded IDE cables which take up less space, a good idea and that will certainly
help system airflow in the long term.
The Soltek SL-B8E-F Motherboard
around the popular Intel i865G chipset, the Soltek SL-B8E-F flexATX motherboard
forms the heart and soul of the QBiC SFF PC, and it's a pretty powerful little
motherboard in its own right. It should be no surprise that there is no RAID
option here - no one in their right mind would use RAID in a SFF PC for the
simple lack of space. The board is pretty well equipped though, boasting
5.1-channel audio, onboard analog video (care of the i865G), Firewire and 10/100
LAN. It would have been nice to see Gigabit LAN support, but that is not
SFF systems, users are provided with two expansion slots. The Soltek QBiC has a
free PCI and 8X AGP slot, which makes the EQ340IM QBiC perfect for use as a home
theatre PC with the right hardware additions.
Unfortunately, while the Soltek EQ340IM QBiC has a slew of
overclocking options, we had no luck overclocking this little PC. The maximum
FSB it was capable of reaching was 204 MHz. This in spite of the fact that our
test processor (a Pentium 4 3.0C) can certainly do more than that. Next, on with
the testing and benchmarks!