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Soltek Qbic EQ3702M Mini Barebone System Review - Page 2 Of 7

INSIDE THE QBIC

The following series of pictures illustrate the internal layout of the Qbic EQ3702M. Space is limited and what remains will be used to accommodate accessories such as a hard drive, CD-ROM, floppy drive, and add-in graphics card, which is optional.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Inside View 1

The front panel is highly reflective and is one of the Qbic's main attractions. All the accessories are hidden behind the various faceplates, which gives the system its sleek look. However, I was quite perplexed as to how CD's are loaded into the CD-ROM with this design.

The buttons on the CD-ROM bays contain a plastic extension that when pressed, make contact against the eject button on the CD-ROM. The force of the CD tray will cause the bay, which is hinged with a spring, to open automatically. The bay will close as the CD tray is pushed back in to load the CD-ROM.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Inside View 2

When opened, the bottom bay reveals I/O ports for S/PDIF-Out, Microphone-In, Line-Out, USB 2.0 (2), and 1394. Above the bottom bay are the power indicator (orange), hard drive activity indicator (blue), and power reset button. The floppy drive is behind the middle bay and the top two bays house CD-ROM's.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Inside View 3

A system tunnel fan is the primary cooling device.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Inside View 4

The following schematic illustrates the air flow inside the Qbic.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Air Flow

The back panel provides access to the voltage switch on the 200-watt power supply. The voltage switch, which is set to 230V, has to be set manually. To the left are expansion slots for PCI and AGP cards. The installation instructions mention that a large PCI card can prevent a CD-ROM from being installed in the lower bay.

A large AGP graphics card may come in contact with the peripheral rack, which has a strip of insulation mylar that acts as a barrier. The graphics card could also come in contact with the upper bay CD-ROM. In this case, a strip of mylar insulation is included in the accessories, which can be affixed to the CD-ROM.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Back Panel

The bottom of the back panel has a host of connections that consist of a PS2 Mouse Port (green), a PS2 Keyboard Port (purple), a COM Port (green), two VGA Ports (blue), S-Video Out (yellow), IEEE1 and IEEE2 Connectors (black), an RJ45 LAN Port (yellow), two USB Ports (black), Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out (orange), Rear Speaker Out (black), and Front Speaker Out (green). Note that a Parallel Port is optional.

Below is a close up of the CPU socket, which happens to be protected. Soltek uses Anti-Burn Shield (ABS II) CPU Protection to safeguard against processor damage that could result from overheating. ABS II works with processors that are equipped with a protective thermal diode and will shut down the system if the CPU temperature exceeds the default BIOS setting of 85 degrees Celsius.

I risked damaging an Athlon XP 1800+, which costs around $60, by disconnecting the CPU cooling fan while PCMark04 was running. ABS II worked as advertised and shut the system down automatically.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Inside Close Up 1

The peripheral case rack is where the hard drive, floppy drive, and CD-ROM will reside.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Inside Close Up 2

The documentation is quite good and consists of a quick installation guide, an installation guide, and a motherboard user's manual, all of which were referred to while assembling the system. The quick installation guide is the most useful document and contains 17 step-by-step illustrated instructions.

The bundled software is Soltek's 5-in-1 Bonus Pack and consists of OEM versions of:

The bundled software looks good on paper, but the programs are either outdated or no longer supported. The drivers on the installation CD are older versions of nForce2 chipset drivers and graphics drivers from NVIDIA and DirectX 8 from Microsoft.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Documentation

Soltek also provides a hardware monitoring utility that has temperature, fan speed, and voltage read outs.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Hardware Monitor

Most of the cables (HDD, USB, 1394, and audio) were already installed. The remaining items include an ATA-66 cable for a CD-ROM, a floppy drive cable, a power cord, assorted screws and ties, and a large copper heatsink/fan.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Accessories

Next Page: Components and Assembling The System

Last Updated on January 5, 2004


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