The latest instalment of AOpen’s XC Cube range, the EZ482, looks like a step backward when you examine the exterior design. In fact, the EZ482 looks identical to the first generation of XC Cubes from the outside. But as we know appearance isn’t everything and internally it’s quite a different beast altogether. This is AOpen’s first XC Cube with support for Socket-939 Athlon 64 processors and component video output, not that the two are specifically related of course.
The review sample of the EZ482 that I had a look at was black, although colours might vary depending on the country in which you buy it. Although I’m not a fan of this specific front design the finish is of a high quality and very glossy, so it’s good that AOpen supplies a polishing cloth to wipe grubby finger prints off.
Lifting on the lid you notice one change to the previous XC Cube models and that is the new, much larger CPU cooler. The fan now measures 80mm and a solid copper plate is connected to six heatpipes which in turn are attached to a large copper heatsink. The mounting mechanism has also changed and you now have to screw four long screws into the motherboard supports. There are also four pins sticking up from the supports to aid the fitting of the cooler.
Otherwise there are no major changes internally, besides the obviously different motherboard. It’s a shame that AOpen hasn’t managed to reduce the cable routing inside the case, as even though things are fairly neat, there are way too many cables running back and forth.
The motherboard is feature laden with four SATA connectors, two IDE connectors, a mini FDD connector with a suitable cable, two memory slots, a PCI and an x16 PCI Express slot. Around the back are two PS/2 ports, a serial, a parallel port, a D-SUB connector for the integrated graphics, two USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire connector, an RJ45 connector for the onboard LAN, a video out connector and six audio connectors. Oddly enough DVI is missing, something I would have expected to find on a recent SFF system with integrated graphics.