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AOpen XC Cube EY65 - AOpen XC Cube EY65
It’s easy to fit a floppy or card reader as well as the optical drive, but you have to remove the drive caddy to screw these in place properly. The front of the case is also easily removed, which makes it a lot easier to fit the forward facing drives.
I wouldn't bother to fit a floppy drive in the EY65 as the floppy drive connector on the motherboard is located towards the rear, which means you’ll have another cable trailing around inside the case.
As the EY65 is based on Intel’s 865G chipset there is support for four IDE devices, although there’s not enough space to use this many. There are also an additional two S-ATA connectors and AOpen has supplied a special S-ATA data and power cable, both with angled connectors that attach to the hard drive.
As I mentioned earlier, AOpen has fitted a host of features to the EY65 and around the back you’ll find two PS/2 ports, a serial port, a D-SUB for the integrated graphics, optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs, a single FireWire connector, two USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100/1000Mbit Ethernet port and three audio jacks for either 5.1-channel sound or for a line out, line in and microphone, as well as a very rare parallel port.
At the front is a further optical S/PDIF, headphone and microphone connectors, two more USB 2.0 ports and a further two FireWire connectors, one of them being a four-pin connector. There is little else to wish for in such a tiny box. At a mere 300x200x185mm (WxDxH) in size, the EY65 is one of the smallest cube style systems on the market.
Putting it together was reasonably easy and the CPU cooler has a clever design that makes installation a breeze. It has four spring loaded clips that are simple to remove and fit; this is crucial when you’re working in such a tight space. The first time you power on the EY65 you’re met by a loud noise from the fan, which contradicts the low noise sticker on it, but once in the BIOS you can set the speed in the smart control. From here on it’s as quiet as a whisper.
A word of advice if you go out and buy an EY65, fit the memory before you put the hard drive in place. It’s much easier this way around since there is very little space between the memory modules and the hard drive once fitted.
What impressed me the most about the EY65 in the end was its SYSmark 2002 performance, where it ended up beating all the but the fastest motherboard in the group test we did a few months back. This was using the same processor, memory, hard drive and graphics card used for the motherboard group test. It also mustered a very impressive SYSmark 2002 score using the integrated graphics, so if you plan to get a small PC, but are not interested in games, then the EY65 might be the ideal choice.