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Iwill ZMAXap SFF Review - The Internals

While over at Computex in Taiwan this year we saw Iwill showing off their new line of small form factor PCs that were just about ready to hit the market - it was a bit hard to miss all the hype of the new Iwill small form factor systems with all the Taiwanese folks walking around the halls with the small form factor systems sitting on top of their heads. We have the ZMAX (AP) here today that utilizes Intel's 865G chipset which we haven't used for a while now with the array of motherboards coming in utilizing the new 915 and 925 chipset from Intel.

| SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Sep 27, 2004 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 8%      Manufacturer: Iwill

The Internals of the ZMAXap

 

When opening up the case, you quickly wonder why no matter how much you turn these thumbscrews, they just don't come out. This is a great little feature that uses a spring like system to keep the screws attached to the case side. This is good for people who have a bad habit of losing things.

 

Another good point we noticed with the ZMAXap before jumping inside is on both sides of the case there are areas where air can be bought into the case and pushed out - while this in itself is a good point (not all makes of small form factor systems do this), Iwill went one step further and added filters to reduce the amount of dust which comes inside the system.

 

 

Opening up the ZMAX you are greeted with a quite common looking small form factor system. Apart from the cooler and the placement of the power supply, the inside is very standard looking. Installation of the ZMAX isn't the easiest job, installing the cooler on the processor isn't an easy task, you will probably find yourself screaming for someone with skinner and longer fingers to come over and get the heatsink on for you.

 

Included in the ZMAX is a 250 watt power supply which is a larger then the power supplies which we have become quite accustom to in most small form factors. With the fans attached to the front of the unit it makes it even bigger again as you can see. This is the reason that the installation is a little bit more painful then others. The clip design on the heatsink is great for a full size case but when you're working with limited room, it is a little annoying.

 

 

Included are two Serial ATA ports and as you can see one of the cables runs directly to the back of the case so you can use the external SATA port which we talked about earlier. We also have a floppy port, two IDE ports, two memory slots for Dual Channel configuration, an AGP slot and a PCI slot and to top it all off a passive cooler on the Northbridge chipset.

 

 

 

Iwill have done a great job being able to cram such a huge amount of features into a little case. The multiple IDE ports, the two SATA ports, the multiple fan power supply and both an AGP and PCI slot makes for a solid tiny system.

 

Cooling

 

As you would expect in a computer this size Iwill are utilizing a heat pipe technology cooler. Heat pipes are getting used more and more in the enthusiast community as they cool quite well and they are typically much quieter than conventional coolers.

 

The ZMAX cooler is a giant copper tower that looks like a radiator at the top. At the top we have two 60mm fans installed which blow air across the fins of the cooler. As the CPU gets hotter, the hot air rises to the top of the tower and from there the fans cool the unit letting the temperature even out and keep the CPU at a stable temperature.

 

 

 

Since the fan speed is able to change depending on the temperature, the system is extremely quite, although at maximum volume it is extremely loud. Anyone who knows what a 60mm screaming and finger-cutting Delta fan sound likes, you can just imagine what two together sounds like.

 

 

 

 

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