Abit DigiDice Small Form Factor Barebone System - Abit DigiDice

By Lars-Göran Nilsson


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

A row of buttons accompanies the jog-dial which allow you to launch various supplied applications such as WinRip, WinDVD and CloneCD as well as the built in Windows XP Photo browser. How useful it is to have quick access to these programs on the front of the case is debatable though. These buttons seem even more pointless when you consider that a remote control ships with the DigiDice, which can perform all the foresaid functions and more.

You can also overclock the motherboard with the help of the jog-dial and Abit’s Easy OC setting. Overclocking can be done in steps of 5 per cent all the way up to a maximum 25 per cent. The LCD can be used to display the current CPU speed, fan speed and CPU temperature, as well as the system temperature and system fan speed. LCD displays have become a popular addition to many PCs but they do tend to be more of a sales gimmick than a useful feature, especially since much of what’s displayed can be monitored via software.

Let me squeeze in a quick word about the power supply here, which is a 200W unit. This is quite good for such a small case, and it comes with five four-pin Molex connectors, all marked up for their intended use, as well as a single floppy style power connector for certain ATi based graphics cards. Furthermore there are two S-ATA power connectors, which is handy if you intend to use S-ATA hard drives. The only problem is that Abit doesn’t supply any S-ATA data cables.

The DigiDice was not one of the easiest SFF systems I have ever put together - you have to take out both the drive cages before you can even get close to fitting the CPU and memory. Once the CPU is in place, on goes the CPU cooler that comes with two heatpipes linked to a rear, external heatsink. The external heatsink is fitted through a hole in the back of the case, while the CPU cooler is screwed to the bottom of the chassis – make sure you take care here so as not to damage the CPU.

The CPU cooler has a fan of its own, but there is a second smaller fan that fits on the outside of the case on top of the external heatsink. This is quite fiddly to fit as it’s secured with two screws, with a push pin slotted through a third hole. Finally there’s a third fan that goes in the top of the case to draw hard disk heat out of the chassis.

Here is where one of the unique selling points of the DigiDice comes into play. There is a small metal bowl that attached to the external heatsink. This bowl can be filled with scented oil, allowing the heat from the heatsink to act like an oil burner. Yes I am really being serious, Abit even supplies a small bottle of rose lavender oil in the box.

If you don’t fancy using the integrated Intel Extreme 2 graphics, then you can fit a separate graphics card. Due to the odd shape of the DigiDice (it’s wider than it is deep), you might find it tricky to fit large graphics cards. I had some trouble fitting a GeForce FX 5900XT and the power cable didn’t make it any easier.

Next you’ll want to fit your drives. Unfortunately, it’s at this point that you realise that Abit hasn’t supplied any screws with the DigiDice, so unless your hard drive and optical drive were supplied with screws, you’re going to have a problem. This is a very strange omission and it’s likely to cause a lot of frustration for a relatively small cost saving.

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Alex Krasov

December 7, 2013, 12:57 pm

My DigiDice is already 10 years old. And I'm a little more than twice older than he. And I've long ago ceased to track any reviews about he, moreover, that they had ended even earlier.
So I was surprised and- it must be confessed- a little flattered when accidentally stumbled on this site with the review above devoted to DigiDice. The very fresh! Only 2 years ago. Did not get lost its author in Time with his calendar?..
Okay, and I'd like to take this chance and would note it as if an anniversary.

But, as you will see from my comments, it could be more praises and well-deserved praises in address as well of DigiDice, as of his creators from the illustrious company Abit.

I'll try just rummaging in a ostensibly "outdated" to give to readers something useful from a practical point of view for the modern user.

Immediately I note in praise of the author that the review is excellent but... unfair in its final evaluation. Inaccuracies could be neglected, for example: the indication of the author at the beginning on the "lack" of S-ATA in DigiDice and hence the impossibility RIDE-arrays ... etc. But on the second page the author clarified that "simply not included Serial cabels".
But S-ATA there is in general! And the desired Serial cabels was attached in my case (deluxe version)! But who needs all this in such computer that assigned to the role of one of our small... pets.

Yes, all these years DigiDice remained for me my favorite. And how could it be otherwise! After all, he was chosen not only in brain but also in heart! So, he just pleased my eyes; and very, very rarely grieved me (once I replaced the hard drive, and SP-2 mouse on the same TrackBall and... it's all!)
And most importantly, he successfully fulfilled all my tasks. Just nothing to talk about: on a par with the average standard tower computer. Truth then was wrote about DigiDice: "it is a complete replacement for full-sized computer."

I introduced he to a hundred of different versions of Linux, but he remained loyal to the very first Windows XP, and there, after vaccination with SP1, 2 and 3, and feeding of all updates up to the most recent- he friends with her.

And Windows itself and its IE8 someone annoying, especially today: the new young growth of IT-professionals do not have those hands and brains that to cope with the problems of compatibility of different operating systems. They are preoccupied with current new-fangled trends of playing up to any frivolous bells and whistles and in iron, and in programs and systems.
They are no longer Jacks of all trades, their versatile professionalism is already of low sample.

For example, Google now and then is forcing me to "new version", especially its Chrome that uncomfortable and on one occasion it littered my Registry above edges of the boards, as though a herd of elephants pushed his way through it, although giant Google is similar to them.
And do not be commemorated to night the overloaded interface and whims, and this and that ineptitudes of Gmail...

And so with many specialists, including the hosters of websites that, to put it mildly, are playing pranks causing a discontent and curses of users. And I, by the way, already have half a dozen Internet sites. And only recently I began to suffer from the "intrigues" of the hosters languishing by folly, hunting behind heavy freight trains of modern browsers and systems. And here is a shock- all took another seats on the smart-trolleys...

We together with DigiDice will stand against the ponderous PC-buses (like an aerobus)...
And so far each third user- if not half of all- has Windows XP as yet today.

Dragged overloaded by sundries as fairground vans Vists, Sevens and now this farcical Windows 8. All this does not appeal to me. Yes, progress does not stand still ... But along with its headway- are irritating its wobbles, yaws, frills and frivolous somersaults.

In the end, except of innovations in aircraft and rocket manufacturing, yes even take itself the CosmicStar Cruiser ARTBike (the most expensive, elite, super-mega-ultra "miracle" Bike)- serves us faithfully simple iron, old and good horse- almost grandfather's but never- outmoded bike!

DigiDice in his time was the most original computer of "small size" (SFF), more precisely he holds to this day the record of originality in his weight! Believe me, and if you want so check, compare.

The press did not stint on the bright epithets describing DigiDice: "ultra-fashionable solution for real gourmets"(!), "exclusive model", "original model for aesthetes", "best product" (magazine "Chip", May 2004), "most technically competent solution"(!), "attractive, extraordinary design"...
And if "strange design" or "controversial", all the same: "with excellent efficiency", and "it is more than enough for all conceivable tasks".

And even if seldom flashed "insufficiently graceful" but then was again "to somebody's taste even elegant," and what is most importantly: "from a technical point of view he's designed best of all"(!).
Just a happy medium between the pop-style and dead-alive simplicity.
In short: "the skillful and aesthetic mini-PC."

Someone has identified the design of DigiDice as "the multimedia computer model with the modding... ready for a lazy fellows"!.. But how many users at that time just dissipated their energies in dreams about a modding of their dreary gray boxes under the tables. But the hands of rare enthusiasts reached out to this.

Okay, at that time this was a fashionable design a la Hi-Fi but imitating not only multimedia home consoles, but even stylish, luxury-class household appliances, even so let it be a futuristic-kitchen equipment. Remember me (and the author of the review) when the first reports from residential moduls on the Moon or Mars of some retentive reporter will compare, for example, a microwave of astronauts with... "the barebone retro-computer DigiDice".

Without much exaggeration I can declare that the time is ripe to put up my DigiDice for Sotheby's auction with a sensational starting price (the half-joke and the prediction!..)

The initial cost of DigiDice was also much lower than the prices of the then notebooks, besides they and today have a short-lived, expensive accessories that often makes a repair of them just wasteful, but ... who is in need of them, he put up with their prices up to now.

And today there are buyers (800$) for the most futuristic computer case- the half-glazed and numbered In Win Tou as a super-car even by size (26x59x65cm)... DigiDice: 26х...21.5х30.7 To each- his own.

DigiDice has the strange, unusual proportions? Yes, he is more in breadth than in depth, as if he's open-hearted. And he has the most recognizable face, with a broad smile a la smiley (take a closer look to him!).
And how many from us till recently were able to predict that "eternal" handsets, even the subsequent mobile phones that quite voluminous though just by the size of the palm... will lose one of three spatial dimensions in our world, becoming a two-dimensional, flat and not so tiny smartphones!..

What is more, DigiDice in his youth surpassed even some from the not the weakest desktops! And additionally in comparison with almost all without exception other barebones he possessed indubitable advantages. Take, for example, his 2 drives 5.25 "(to this day they serve me for insurance each other, not duplicating (CD-ROM and CD-RW from Lite-On).

And by the way the decorative plastic sliding panel, that the author so disliked, I've never... put forward at all, especially because a connected headphones (and microphone) don't give it to close.

Needs in the DVD I have not experienced, I not carried away by video, films, or rather preferring the TV to them.
As in the terabyte chests. And 2 hard drives (3.5" like in DigiDice) always have been
not in the ordinary among barebones (I used the same one: the first- 80 Gb, and then
120 Gb- both from Samsung). For me this is more than enough even 80 Gb, and all the more 120 that still far from the overflow, although erstwhile it happened that at the same time 3-4 different systems stood in DigiDice (and one day as an experiment codenamed "Linux-train"- there is of the same name site- in the same train with Windows XP... there were 17 different Linuxes as 17 carriages or by themselves locomotives!)

And the overabundance of music (mainly classical), different programs on hand (more than 3,700), digital books (over 4,300), the huge collection of images (including painting)- all this I regularly unloaded on CD-RW (about 620 discs).
And I never was keen on games (User does not play dice, he uses DigiDice rationally.)
Why I wasn't groaning with the GeForce 5200- modest, to put it mildly (and frankly: one of the poor choice at that time), but with the passive cooling.

The mention by the author in 2011... the floppy already looks simply anachronistic, even with return to 2003, when DigiDice appeared.
And I every six months, even more rarely, create a full backup in Acronis True Image, but never (not a single time!) I didn't make use of them for System Recovery, although I applied several times the System Restore. (And, of course, in the first year of intense and extreme experiments with different "Windows Annoyances" and other "ruses of OS", "Registry Secrets" and suchlike "Computer Artifices"- happened to me, and more than once, to reinstall the system. But DigiDice was always at his best.)

Now load the mentioned by the author Shuttles or Biostars with a couple of CD-ROMs and a pair of hard disks and look at their design... And outwardly they all are pretty dull and so are begging to hide them... under the table. But DigiDice- only on the table! And besides, the tongue even do not dare to say: an optical drives under the table?!?

DigiDice appeared at the peak of a veritable Soltek-mania with its barebone Qubic, which, indeed as all the "cubes", looked equilateral only... in front, but their 30-35cm are hiding in depth, in the back of your table. While at DigiDice all his 30- stretched on his face in the prepossessing smile. And for good reason: Qubic came off a loser versus DigiDice on all counts! While Qubic was still more expensive! And bigger, like some Shuttles. However they all are with their own zests, and even advantages but also defects. An insurmountable medley of merits and demerits.

That's just an appearance most of them, unlike DigiDice, did not cause any emotions. Even all the models without exception of exaggeratedly austere style Shuttles, despite the pretentious name of one of them- XPC Glamor, but nothing particularly "glamor" has not been demonstrated.
And a completely unoriginal though beautiful Silverstone Sugo, that also as DigiDice with a couple of CD-ROMs and a pair of hard drives,- it bloated as a mini-tower. And as the Shuttle with the complement, it gone to a depth but almost into a half of meter... Here's for you the barebone of "small" form-factor (SFF) too!..

In one's time it was stressed that DigiDice had "the extremely functional BIOS", and by the way, with... Game Axelerator (Auto, Turbo, StreetRacer и F1- Formula One).
And small wonder that in Quake III of of those days, DigiDice inflicted a defeat on all 5 barebones- the undisputed leaders and competitors in one of the test)!
And in the other tests DigiDice gained in total 90 points out of 100, while these only 78 that had the much-vaunted (but also well deserved!) barebones from Shuttle- a pioneer and a long-standing trendsetter in this niche. Among the other 5 competitors, only one-another reached up to 82 points. That's what it means to properly roll the dice...

Here I turn to the promised useful part of my comment: a problem of cooling barebones, topical, if not general and eternal also for other computers.

Of course, in our climate conditions at 32 degrees of north latitude, ie of the equator, and the same to east of Greenwich, but with 35-40 degrees of constant summer heat from March to October (now November 28, outside the window in the shadow- 32 deg. of heat) - with all this, I repeat, an acquisition of a barebone looked like... a reckless scheme or something. But! Another distinct advantage of DigiDice among his fellows at "Small Form Factor"- namely his clearly more spacious, at that, aluminum cold case! The biggest PC- kid! So why not roll the dice...

And then, the presence of the harmonious display by the color of sea-depths, that shows in intervals of 3 seconds (and every 10 seconds, that is not intrusively) a temperature of the motherboard and processor, and also the frequency of the latter, as well as speeds of 2 from all 3 fans, don't mention other necessary information- it was already far from a marketing ploy or a market bait, on which the author hinted, but extremely convenient tool for monitoring the status of your computer.
For what else you would need any third-party monitoring programs, that were been far- fetched by the author, if this is it- the own proprietary program in DigiDice- Abit EQ.

It's also true that I handled DigiDice in harness with... air-conditioner tuned to 18-20 degr., why both critical temperatures were usually in the range, respectively, 27-30 and 47-50 degr., without an excessive load (see the attached photo: the air duct from a household dryer).
And, of course, against the background of not so noisy conditioner my DigiDice, which really isn't so noiseless, has never been heard.

And here's another inaccuracy of the commented review: the romantically illuminated in blue multifunctional button of DigiDice designed really to turn on him, but not for the regular shutdown: he turns off by the option Shut Down (for example in the menu of Start) and completely from the mains by switching off my UPS. But what the author described as supposedly meticulous and boring "shutdown to the account 4+7" ("a very bizarre and convoluted procedure")- it is more for 2 unordinary situations: or Reset, or a complete shutdown when the system hangs insurmountably, what happened with my DigiDice
during 10 years less than the frequency of the fingers on both hands.

Besides, this "smart" azure illuminated button, I repeat, also controls... the 6-step overclocking (!- by turning at each click; but I never applied this), and even adjusts sound. That why had been took away a little convenience from Reset and already "uncomfortable" system hang.

And what is his "niggle" to the row of 4 hot buttons on the front panel of DigiDice for launching the programs Photo, Video, Audio and CD-ripping- in mind... the availability of the same on the Remote controller? Does not the same things (ie the duplication of buttons) in front of us- on our, for example, TVs with their remote controllers?
Yes, and I did not use them, preferring other programs. But for someone, especially in the setting of LAN party it's just right: when you are next to DigiDice or in a crowd of guests but the remote controller the hell knows where is lying around. Well, everything has been thought!

Next to DigiDice his fellow countryman and contemporary- the Taiwan 15" LCD monitor, that did not inject me in the paint and later, when started the fashion for home theaters and huge displays.
And so more even now, when all buried oneself in cellphones, smartphones, tablets, e- books and other undersized objects.

Now then a resume. All without exception barebones and today are losing DigiDice in the originality, and not at the expense of a quality, and even vice versa. Although and DigiDice wouldn't mind from multicore processors or monstrous graphics card etc. novelties.
Well, you know the difference between good old westerns and today's blockbusters...

The authority of, alas, the former company Abit that created DigiDice, especially in the field of motherboards- which are indeed computer's flesh of brawn and bone- was the guarantor of his incomparable qualities that have been justified in these 10 years, the first 10...

Geoff Richards

December 7, 2013, 2:41 pm

As you correctly spotted, the date on this review is incorrect. From memory it is from 2006 or sometime even earlier.

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