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Abit DigiDice Small Form Factor Barebone System - Abit DigiDice
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.