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Soltek Qbic EQ3701M
By Vijay Anand
Category : Barebone/SFF
Published by Jimmy Tang on Tuesday, 15th July, 2003
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

What We Dislike

Installing the CPU cooler is going to be one of the most daunting tasks in this system because the close proximity of the exhaust fan to the CPU socket leaves little room for you to maneuver and secure the CPU’s heatsink to the socket’s lugs. This picture should illustrate our concern:

A real chore awaits you when installing the heatsink as seen here. There is not enough room to apply force on the clip to properly hook it to the socket base.

The exhaust fan used pushpins to secure itself to the chassis and not the easily removable screws.

To make matters worse, the exhaust fan was secured to the Qbic’s chassis with pushpins. It is quite easy to secure objects this way but extra troublesome to remove. We would have preferred the traditional use of screws anytime to pushpins. So to install the CPU’s HSF with less effort, spend time to dismantle the exhaust fan first. We don’t recommend the lazy way out (without taking the exhaust fan down) unless you don't mind the risks of damaging the CPU core.

To install and secure expansion cards, it isn’t as easy as the Shuttle XPC systems which uses a hinged flap to secure or loosen the seated expansion cards.

Parallel port remains as an option just like the Shuttle system.

In the BIOS, we found that one could not select the desired operation speed of the memory, as the only option was ‘Auto’. We hope future BIOS versions would allow user selectable RAM operating frequency. Finally, we found that the Soltek supplied Hardware Monitor utility to be polling the system too often and that kept the hard drive busy, while the CPU usage was 2% (without this utility, CPU usage is kept at 0% as reported in Windows XP). We doubt you would want to keep a hardware monitor such as this running in the background as it would probably degrade system performance. Again this is something Soltek should look to improve further.

The Soltek Hardware Monitoring utility worked fine, but it kept polling the system until the system felt laggy. In the tests, CPU utilization went up to about 2% while using this utility.

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