AOpen XC Cube EZ482 – SFF Barebone Review - AOpen XC Cube EZ482 Review

The onboard audio controller from Realtek is of the new High Definition type with sample rates up to 192kHz which is far superior to the normal AC97 solutions you tend to find on motherboards for AMD processors. The rear audio connectors comprise four outputs for 7.1-channel sound alongside a microphone and a line in. The line in also doubles up as a 3.5mm optical S/PDIF input.

Behind a flap on the front of the case are a further two USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire ports – one six and one four-pin – a headphone and microphone connector and finally an optical S/PDIF output.

As AOpen has opted for the ATI Radeon Xpress 200 chipset you get integrated ATI graphics thrown into the bargain. This is not going to be good enough for playing the latest games, but it’s not terrible for most other things and it is in the Radeon X300SE class.

The advantage you get is the TV out functionality if you want a small media playback box. With component, composite and S-Video output through a dongle, the only thing missing is SCART support. I’d like to see this motherboard in the XC Cube AV EA65 chassis, as that would make the EZ482 a far more compelling offer. Also, considering all the AV features I expected to find a copy of some pre-Windows media playback software in the box, but sadly this was not the case.

The chipset is passively cooled, so the only noise will be from the CPU cooler and the PSU. As with previous XC Cubes the fans can be controlled from the BIOS or via a Windows utility. There are three available drive bays, two 3.5in – one forward facing for a floppy or a card reader – and one 5.25in drive bay for an optical drive. The 5.25in drive is covered by a flip down cover.

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