AOpen XC Cube EY855 review
You’ll find a spare PCI slot, but there isn’t a lot that you’ll need to add, as the ICH4-M chipset provides plenty of extras. There’s a FireWire and two USB 2 ports on both the front and rear panels. The front also adds a mini-FireWire port and digital S/PDIF, as well as headphone and mic sockets. The rear panel houses a serial and parallel port, plus two PS/2 ports to free up the USB connections. The onboard 855G graphics chipset outputs through a D-SUB VGA out, while the onboard six-channel audio feeds three mini-jacks. You’ll even find optical and digital S/PDIFs and gigabit Ethernet. The only thing we could lament is the lack of Serial ATA, but it isn’t a critical omission.
While AOpen hasn’t made building this system especially simple, it’s at least satisfying. The result won’t disappoint either, given that our 1.6GHz Pentium M 725 outperformed a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 550 system with four times the RAM and with barely any discernable noise.
Our Pentium M 725 cost only £136 inc VAT (www.ebuyer.com), while the cheapest price we could find for a Model 550 Pentium 4 was £181 inc VAT (www.microdirect.co.uk). It all adds up to a fantastic, good-looking foundation for all but dedicated gamers.