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Abit DigiDice Small Form Factor Barebone System - Abit DigiDice
Fitting the hard drive bays is easy enough; the only problem you might encounter is that the USB cable from the card reader can be tricky to get in place. For some strange reason Abit decided to fit blanking spacers to the 5.25in drive cage, even though you can’t see these from the outside of the case. This means that you have to remove these before you can fit any drives.
Abit has supplied an extra long IDE cable for the optical drives, which has been folded in a special way to fit through a hole in the drive cage. This means that the cable runs over the top of the optical drives and comes down from above. Not the most elegant solution, but it does the job.
There is a step by step guide supplied, but it’s in black and white, with very small pictures and contains the same information as the manual, but in a slightly handier format.
All up and running the DigiDice is quite a noisy system, but fans can be controlled in the BIOS through Abit’s FanEQ. It is also possible to adjust the fan speeds in Windows through a supplied utility.
Performance is on par with other SFF systems and it’s worth noting that you do get a boost in performance by adding a graphics card, not just in terms of games, but in general applications as well. The reason for this is the shared memory that the Intel Extreme Graphics 2 uses, which can be as much as 64MB of the system memory.
For anyone wanting to carry their PC with them, maybe to a LAN party, Abit provides a carrying bag for the DigiDice. The bag can be carried by the top straps, on your back, or on your shoulder by attaching the supplied straps. There’s a main compartment for the DigiDice as well as a smaller compartment for power cables etc. Finally there’s a small Velcro pouch that I can only presume is meant to be used for plasters, as the design makes it look like a first aid kit.
The Abit DigiDice isn’t a stunning looker and the internal design could do with some rethinking, but to be fair, it is Abit’s first SFF product. On the other hand, the competition is tough and this is the kind of product that should never have left the R&D lab in my opinion. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the hardware; it’s just that it’s not very well implemented. The only compelling reason to consider buying the DigiDice is if you want an SFF system with two 5.25in drive bays, but then again, you might just as well get a micro ATX case.
The final blow is the high asking price of £170.38 which is far more than I would be willing to pay. If it had been around the £100 mark then it might have been worth considering if you weren’t put off by the looks.
Abit’s first attempt at an SFF system has landed wide of the mark. The high asking price, the design and the slightly poor construction all culminate to make a mediocre product at best.