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Iwill ZMAXap SFF Review - Conclusion

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

Conclusion

 

The ZMAX as we expected wasn't quite as fast as the PowerColor 9100IGP for gaming when using onboard graphics as it is quite commonly known that ATI have got one of the best (if not the best) integrated graphics engines on the market. You can see though when it comes to synthetic memory and CPU scores, the ZMAX system from Iwill holds itself extremely well and when we placed an ATI Radeon X800PRO inside both systems under 3DMark2001 SE, the Iwill ZMAX was well ahead as the numbers showed.

 

With this said, if you are really wanting to get the maximum performance out of your small form factor, you need to add in your own external AGP graphics card which can be done with great ease - even with the 250 watt power supply, the ZMAX had no problem powering the X800PRO, Western Digital Raptor hard drive and DVD burner.

 

While we did have intentions to overclock the system we didn't have much luck since we had problems booting over 205MHz, like the ZEN small form factor system from Shuttle. You can't buy these systems expecting to reach insane overclocking speeds; they just aren't designed for overclocking. You want a small form factor that has the ability to handle a high-end AGP card, have the ability to use the latest processors and run 100% stable at default operation. The ZMAX is able to do this and more which makes it an excellent choice for users interested in upgrading their old small form factor or just want to enter into the small form factor realm.

 

One thing we did notice which was missing was entertainment connectors on the back I/O plate such as S-Video and RCA video out for a home entertainment setup. And as we mentioned earlier in the review, the inclusion of the faster 802.11g standard would have been nicer than 802.11b but at least some form of wireless is included.

 

All in all we have a good first attempt from Iwill with just a few minor cons but we hope that they decide to stay on the Small Form Factor bandwagon with some more and exciting models in the future.

 

- Pros

 

Good gaming performance with X800PRO

 

Great looking case

 

Excellent features

 

Well designed cooler

 

Quiet operation

 

Air filters

 

- Cons

 

802.11b wireless, 54mbps 802.11g would have been nicer

 

Very slim package

 

Installation wasn't simple

 

Poor overclocking

 

Poor onboard graphics performance

 

Not many video output options

 

Rating - 8 out of 10

 

 

 

Find the lowest price on Small Form Factor Systems!

 

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