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

ADD-IN GRAPHICS

When you are ready to increase gaming performance and visual quality, the Qbic EQ3702M can accept an add-in graphics card courtesy of its AGP 8X/4X expansion slot. Once installed, an add-in graphics card will override the integrated graphics. The 32MB of system memory that had been allocated to the integrated graphics frame buffer will also be reclaimed.

The add-in graphics cards that I had access to include a GeForce FX 5950 Ultra from XFX (on top), a GeForce FX 5700 Ultra from BFG (on the left), and a Radeon 9800 Pro from Sapphire (on the right).

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

If I were to invest in an add-in graphics card to compliment the Qbic EQ3702M, there's no question that it would be a 128MB GeForce FX 5900 SE from BFG Technologies or eVGA. Both of these graphics cards are faster and cheaper than the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra and are bundled with the retail version of Call of Duty.

eVGA GeForce FX 5900 SE

Unfortunately, we have to eliminate using the XFX GeForce FX 5950 Ultra since it takes up two expansion slots. I was actually able to line up the graphics card with the two slots at the rear of the case, but the alignment with the AGP connection, shown with the bar coded label, was off by about a 1/4 of an inch.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

The GeForce FX 5700 Ultra was a tight fit. When installing an add-in graphics card, a few motherboard connections will need to be temporarily removed and the white plastic clip located above the graphics card will also get in the way.

You might notice that the power supply lead that is to be connected to the molex connector, which is located at the top right of the graphics card, is not going to reach.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

The only way I could get power to the graphics card was to use the one remaining lead, which was shared with the lead I had already connected to the floppy drive.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

With the Radeon 9800 Pro being the smallest of the three graphics cards, it was obviously the easiest to install.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

Add-In Graphics Card Performance

Let's look at the performance of the two add-in graphics cards in Halo, Call of Duty, and Wolfenstein ET. With Halo, the resolution was set to 1024x768, with no AA and no AF, high texture quality, specular lighting on, shadows off, decals off, and particles off.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Halo Add-In Graphics Performance

With the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra, you'll be hard pressed to play Halo at 1024x768 even when toning down the graphics settings. You'll need a GeForce FX 5950 Ultra to match the performance of the Radeon 9800 Pro.

In Call of Duty, all graphics options were at their maximim levels with high quality 2D audio. Unfortunately, our Call of Duty timedemo did not perform as expected on the Radeon 9800 Pro as the GeForce FX 5700 Ultra easily won every test.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - COD Add-In Graphics Performance

There were also a few rendering glitches on the Radeon 9800 Pro as shown in the images below.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Add-In Graphics

In Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, all graphics options were at their maximim levels with compressed textures and high quality audio.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - Our Latest System

Performance on the Radeon 9800 Pro was better in Enemy Territory, which leads me to believe that the subpar performanace I had in Call of Duty was driver related.

Keep in mind that a high-end graphics card like the GeForce FX 5950 Ultra or the Radeon 9800 Pro may not be the best choice for a system with a low-end processor.

CONCLUSION

It was a pleasure reviewing Soltek's Qbic EQ3702M and I can recommend it to those of you considering a compact, lightweight, and portable personal computer. The EQ3702M is based on the nForce2, which has proven to be a great platform for systems that use the AMD Athlon processor.

Soltek Qbic EQ3702M - WET Add-In Graphics Performance

With everything I've thrown at it during this review, the Soltek Qbic EQ3702 has proven itself and will make a splendid addition to our home network.

Back to nV News

Last Updated on January 5, 2004


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