Internal Layout and Assembly
The AOpen XCcube EZ65 looks much similar to other barebones from inside. Well, it must be hard to suggest anything new and better in this respect, I assume.
To transform the AOpen XCcube EZ65 into a fully-fledged computer, you should install the CPU and memory and attach the HDD and optical drive. An expansion card, external graphics card, floppy-drive or card-reader can be installed at your wish. Of course, the developers did their best to ensure easy installation of the components. The assembly process is simple and you can do it even without any previous experience with small form-factor PCs and without the user’s guide.
The engineers also ensured that the cables in the system case wouldn’t hang about. Every cable goes through a “pipeline” riveted to the case, while the interface cables (IDE, FDD) can be tucked neatly by special clips. The inter-case space of the AOpen XCcube EZ65 is absolutely clear, without the usual web of cables.
I won’t describe the assembly process in detail. It’s typical enough, so you can refer to our previous reviews, like that of the Shuttle SN85G4, for instance. The assembly procedures for the AOpen XCcube EZ65 are actually the same with only one difference: the bay for the FDD and optical drive is detachable in the XCcube: you have to unscrew it to install the devices. The HDD bay is also released by removing the single screw and you can put the drive into it then.
The CPU is also easily put in its place. The CPU cooling system is fastened with two clips and you don’t even have to detach the drive bay to access it.
After you screw the drives bay back, you can think of installing expansion or graphics card. By the way, the AOpen XCcube EZ65 allows installing “short” graphics cards as well as “long” ones like the NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti. Unfortunately, the graphics cards that require one more PCI slot for their cooling needs (in ordinary system cases) don’t fit into the barebone. Here I am talking about various GeForce FX cards in the first hand.
I would like to note that I only used a screwdriver to put the AOpen XCcube EZ65 together. The cover and the cooling system can be installed without any tools at all, since they are fastened by screws with special fingerholds.