- Page 1 Scan 3XS Hoojum CUBIT 5 Media Center System Review
- Page 2 Scan 3XS Hoojum CUBIT 5 Review
Scan bundles a NorthQ PC to DVD Link Cable Kit, which enables you to hook up the system to your CRT TV via composite or S-Video without having to go hunting for more bits. The best image quality though would be to use the DVI ports of the 6600GT card and hook up to an HD ready TFT or Plasma screen. Staying with graphics for a moment, Scan has not covered over the built-in VGA port, so users could get confused the first time they set up the system.
In terms of noise I was very concerned when I first booted up the system as the CPU fan noise from the Shuttle ICE cooling system was extremely loud. But a trip to the BIOS sorted this out as the fan setting had been put on maximum. Setting this to Auto saw the noise level drop significantly and even at its lowest setting it still does a good job of extracting warm air to the rear. This means though that it needs to be placed in a well ventilated location so that warm air doesn’t linger causing ambient temperatures to rise.
One genuine bonus the supplied system has over the Shuttle MCE machine is that it has Freeview Digital TV PCI TV Tuner card – a Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T. This is a very welcome inclusion and is a far more welcome sight than a boring old analogue tuner. A big downer was that unlike the Shuttle there was no integrated wireless in the review system, which seemed like an odd omission. However, Scan assured me that it is available as an option. There is also an integrated wired network port. Also at the rear are two USB 2.0 ports, a six-pin Firewire port and coaxial and optical digital outputs. Ports for the 5.1 channel capable Realtek AC’97 sound chip are also integrated onto the board.
As far as upgrading goes the Hoojum case is quite different from the norm. As it’s a solid piece there’s no lid to lift off. Instead you have to slide the inside out by removing four screws at the rear. This makes it easy to work on the insides as you can get to the components but as soon as you try and slot the interior back into place your enthusiasm for the case might start to wane. Things have to be lined up just right which is tricky. Once you take out the insides the connections for the front panel come off too, so you have to take of the front panel too in order to reconnect it.
The Scan system was supplied with a Cherry wireless keyboard and mouse. This has a wireless USB dongle connector rather than a PS/2 connection, so you’ll have to give up one of your USB slots. The mouse is not that comfortable to hold and the keyboard is something of an acquired taste. It’s very thin which is good but the travel in the keys is almost non-existent. The layout is also odd with F-Keys down the sides. There are lots of hot keys at the top though for quick access and it’s very configurable thanks to the supplied software.
The Scan is a good Media Center system but you’re paying over the odds for the funky case design. The digital tuner is sensible but the lack of wireless is disappointing. The GeForce 6600GT graphics card also means it’s not really suited to quiet environments. Ultimately unless you have to have the Hoojum case, the conventional Shuttle MCE system, which Scan also sells, offers far better value.
Score in detail