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Soltek Qbic EQ3801 (Socket-754)
By Zachary Chan
Category : Barebone/SFF
Published by Jimmy Tang on Wednesday, 24th November, 2004
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars  


Introduction

SFF PCs have been turning up the heat with impressive innovations and designs to target not only PC users but home entertainment as well. Offerings like MSI's MEGA series with Hi-Fi capabilities are such examples. However, can the SFF shake off its back seat image in terms of performance to traditional desktop systems? As recent chipsets and motherboards have started to incorporate as many features as possible, LAN, surround audio, RAID and other features have become the norm. In effect, the argument that SFF systems have weak subsystems and upgrade limitations is a thing of the past. With advances in cooling technology and more efficient airflow, high-end CPUs can also be installed for use with SFF PCs. However, the problem with selectivity and choice still exists due to the proprietary nature of SFF systems.

Up till now, there were no high performance SFF systems based on Athlon 64 for Socket-754. Even though AMD is pushing the new Socket-939, Socket-754 is still very much alive. The platform is more matured plus socket 754 Athlon 64s can now be found at reasonable prices. Shuttle is undeniably at the forefront of SFF, but while they have an nForce3 Ultra (socket 939) based SFF, their Socket-754 offering is based on the early and crippled nForce3 150.

Soltek Qbic EQ3801 Mini Barebone System

In comes Soltek to the rescue with the cubed Qbic EQ3801 for the Athlon 64. We have previously reviewed two Qbic models, the EQ3701M and EQ3701M with impressive results. Thus, we were quite pleased when we received not one but two variants of the Qbic EQ3801, the EQ3801MW and the EQ3801GD-300. The two models are essentially the same except that the EQ3801GD-300 has an updated power supply. Soltek has beefed up the power supply to a 300W unit from a 250W unit found in the EQ3801MW. The EQ3801 uses a motherboard based upon the nForce3 250Gb chipset, boasting a full 800MHz HyperTransport bus, Gigabit LAN and a whole slew of features in a petite package. With the additional power, it should be able to accommodate even more demanding components than before. In the following pages, we delve into the Soltek Qbic EQ3801 to see what makes it tick, and if it ticks fast enough to be considered a high-performance system.

Soltek Qbic EQ3801 Technical Specifications
Case Parameters
  • Soltek custom form factor ATX specification
  • Slots for 2 expansion cards (1x AGP, 1x PCI)
  • 2 x 5.25-inch drive bays (external)
  • 1 x 3.5-inch drive bays (external)
  • 1 x 3.5-inch drive bays (internal)
  • Power Button
  • Reset Button (for EQ3801MW only)
  • Power and HDD indication LEDs
Expansion Ports
  • Front Panel
    • 2 x USB 2.0 ports
    • 1 x FireWire port (IEEE 1394)
    • 1 x Line-out
    • 1 x Mic-in
    • 1 x S/PDIF-out
  • Back Panel
    • 2 x Serial ports
    • 1 x FireWire ports (IEEE 1394)
    • 4 x USB 2.0 ports
    • 1 x RJ45 LAN port
    • 1 x PS2 (mouse)
    • 1 x PS2 (keyboard)
    • 1 x Center/Bass speaker output
    • 1 x Front Left / Right speaker output
    • 1 x Rear Left / Right speaker output
    • 1 x Side speaker out
    • 1 x Line in
Motherboard Type and CPU Support
  • Soltek SL-B9A-FGR
  • Based on nVIDIA nForce3 250Gb chipset
  • Supports Socket 754 AMD Athlon 64
  • Supporting unbuffered non-ECC DDR266 / DDR333 / DDR400 memory up to 2GB
Sound Subsystem
  • C-Media CMI8768 8-channel audio with S/PDIF output
Case Cooling
  • Soltek IcyQ Technology
Power Supply
  • Soltek 250W (for EQ3801MW model)
  • Soltek 300W (for EQ3801GD-300 model)
Dimensions & Weight
  • Width: 215mm
  • Height: 210mm
  • Depth: 330mm
  • Material : Aluminum
  • Color:
    • White with Mirror front (for EQ3801MW model)
    • Andonized black with 'Spring Collection' front (for EQ3801GD-300 model)
  • Weight: 4.8KG

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