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Breaking into the Intel SFF Market with Shuttle, Soltek and ABIT - Soltek QBIC

In the first of our looks at the increasingly popular Small Form Factor (SFF) systems, we focus our attention on Intel Pentium 4 based platform systems from Shuttle, Soltek and ABIT.

| SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Feb 29, 2004 5:00 am

Soltek QBIC

 

- External

 

 

Soltek are one of the latest companies to enter the Small Form Factor market and the particular model we have here uses the Springdale chipset from Intel. The mirror look at the front of these systems seems to be taking off and Soltek has chosen to cover the whole front of their system with mirror finish.

 

The Soltek QBIC is one of the biggest Small Form Factors available and easily fits two CD-ROMS unlike the others which only hold one drive. The mirror finish looks good but shows up fingerprints very easily in just a short time of use.

 

 

- Internal

 

Thanks to the case being slightly larger then the others, as you would expect it is a lot nicer to work in. It doesn't take much effort to set everything up and one of the best things about the Soltek QBIC system is that you can use any P4 cooler you wish, without too much trouble.

 

 

As far as heat issues go, you don't have too much to worry about as these systems are designed to be able to extract the heat efficiently. As we were testing, we didn't have any problems with stability and you can easily fit multiple hard drives and CD-ROMS without any problems which is handy.

 

 

The case isn't too bad to work with in some areas but when you go to install something like a hard drive, it can be a little bit of a squeeze. Once you set up a SFF PC you really want to try and stay away from getting into it every week like your normal desktop PC.

 

- Cooling

 

As we mentioned, Soltek has given us the ability to install a full size heatsink fan in the system. This combined with the cooler to the left of the case which sports an 80mm fan, you are set. Thanks to the overall size of this case the cooling is very effective. The cooling solution might not be as fancy as what Shuttle has on offer but due to the case being larger and having the ability to push more air throughout the case, you don't need to use heat pipes which would only increase the overall cost.

 

 

 

We wouldn't say that the cooling is better or worse than the Shuttle. Soltek has simply chosen the best solution to keep costs down yet still do the job. The overall heat that comes out of the system isn't as hot when compared to the Shuttle or the ABIT but all systems ran without a hiccup anyway.

 

Thanks to the larger size as well you won't run into any troubles with two hard drives generating too much heat. If you had a bit of creativity you could easily arrange another 80mm fan inside the case to ensure greater stability of the system.

 

- Chipset and Features

 

The Soltek QBIC uses the very well known and common Intel Springdale chipset. The motherboard offers all the features you would expect from a full size motherboard, just slightly less of them - we have only two DIMM slots like the other SFF systems here, one PCI and two Serial ATA ports.

 

While this unit is bigger, carrying it around is done with great ease thanks to the very fashionable back pack which comes included. It makes carrying the whole computer a lot easier.

 

 

 

 

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