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AOpen XC Cube EX18
By Vijay Anand
Category : Barebone/SFF
Published by Jimmy Tang on Tuesday, 20th July, 2004
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  

XC Cubes For AMD Athlon XP CPUs

Early this year, we reviewed the wonderful five-star AOpen XC Cube EZ65 that was based on the Intel 865G platform for Pentium 4 processors. No doubt it was a splendid SFF, it was a shame that those who preferred the inexpensive AMD Athlon XP processor, couldn't enjoy this system. No sooner when the XC Cube EZ65 was made available, AOpen sprouted multiple designs using the same chassis as the XC Cube EZ65 and they even had models based on the NVIDIA nForce2 IGP for AMD Athlon XP CPUs. We've long wanted to review an nForce2 equivalent of the XC Cube EZ65, but it wasn't till now that we were able to set aside some time for it. In this review, we take a look at the AOpen XC Cube EX18 SFF and find out if it lived up to the expectations we had for the EZ65.

The bright and bold package design of the AOpen XC Cube EX18 SFF.

First and foremost, you would want to note that AOpen has the EZ, EY and EX series for their SFF systems. Each series represents a different external design theme to fit the buyer's needs.

  • The EZ series has a simple Zen feel, but still looks cute enough to appeal to female users. AOpen calls it the Living Art concept.

  • The EY series adds modern day styling concepts and yet maintains its neat appearance. Overall, we feel this design is pretty neutral and would appeal to both youngsters and professionals. Believe it or not, it's even ideal in a corporate environment. AOpen markets this series as an SFF with a Metropolitan design concept.

  • The EX series has an ultra-modern design that simply screams for attention. Dressed in matt black, it has a striking matt silver faceplate that highlights key areas of the front façade. Users wanting their SFF system to exuberate either a gaming or sporty finish would definitely favor the EX series. Cyber Shock is AOpen's marketing concept for this series.

    With three completely different styles available for all major platforms, AOpen is really offering a wide gamut of choices. For example, the reviewed AOpen XC Cube EZ65 is also available in different flavors under the EY65 and EX65 model numbers. All three have exact identical internals with only the exterior housings differing from one another. Likewise, the AOpen XC Cube EX18 has other siblings such as the EY18 and EZ18. With the Intel 865G and NVIDIA nForce2 IGP as a major motherboard platform, AOpen has no qualms offering such variety. Not all SFF platforms would be endowed with such options, so do check AOpen's website carefully.
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