SFF barebone uses mobile CPU: Mini XC Cube MZ855-II

AOpen's newest barebone (mother­board and case) small form factor (SFF) PC is the first we've seen to use an Intel Pentium M (notebook) processor - perfect for reducing noise and heat. Processor installation was easy enough, but the circuit board to which the external 19V DC adapter connects needs to be removed. The PCI and AGP slots both require low-profile cards (the latter could be useful for installing a graphics card with TV-out).

We appreciated the MZ855-II's quietness, a result of it using just one side-firing processor fan and plenty of ventilation along both sides, assisting the escape of warm air throughout.

This MZ855-II has two IDE hard disk ports, but we felt the system would benefit from easier-to-manage SATA cables. This is more a limitation of the 855GME chipset (400MHz front-side bus, 2GB maximum memory). This SFF design doesn't provide room for a 5.25in CD/DVD drive, so you'll need to obtain a slim, notebook style optical drive, nor does it have provision for a floppy drive. Only one 3.5in device can be installed in this unit, and that device is your hard drive.

The front-left fascia of the MZ855-II flips open to reveal a 7-in-1 media card reader, while a front-bottom lip pops down, allowing easy access to connections (see "Specifications").

Verdict It's taken a while for notebook technology to creep into SFF PCs and we can't wait to see further and more positive approaches from AOpen, particularly those based on Intel's 915PM Express chipset with SATA and PCIe controllers.

AOpen Mini XC Cube MZ855-II

Price: $720 Distributor: Bluechip IT Phone: (02) 8745 8401 URL: www.bluechipit.com.au; http://xc.aopen.com.tw

Specifications: Intel 855GME chipset; two DIMM slots; single low-profile AGP and PCI slots; one slim-line optical drive bay; one 3.5in hard drive bay; 5.1 channel sound. Front ports: optical audio, headphone, microphone, two USB 2.0, 6- and 4-pin FireWire. Rear ports: two PS/2, single parallel, serial, VGA-out, S/PDIF audio, 6-pin FireWire, optical audio, 10/100/1000 Ethernet, two USB 2.0 plus surround, left/right and centre/bass audio outputs. 300x200x106mm (DxWxH).

FEATURES: 5 VALUE: 5 OVERALL: 5

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Danny Allen

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?