ASUS DIGIMatrix: Closer Look
First of all, I would like to point out that I was greatly surprised after I took the system out of the box. The thing is that this system turned out much smaller than I had imagined looking at the pictures.
Here is a very funny poster we found on the site of one Asian reseller offering ASUS DIGIMatrix systems. Look how nicely it characterizes the size of this mini-system:
Really, DIGIMatrix is only 4.4 liters big, while the cubic system from Shuttle is 11 liters in volume. This way, if we regard DIGIMatrix as a computer, we will have to assign it to a more light-weight category than “cubic” SFF systems. It is exactly the small interior volume of the ASUS system that limits the maximum clock frequencies of the CPUs, which can be used in it. The manufacturer considers it impossible to efficiently cool down CPUs with more than 2.4GHz core clock frequency in a case like that. I would like to point out here that despite this claim, we carried out the full set of tests for DIGIMatrix and Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz processor, and didn’t reveal any problems. So, the 2.4GHz maximum limit set by ASUS should be regarded as a recommendation, but not a must.
I would also like to note that unlike typical cubic systems ASUS DIGIMatrix uses an external power supply unit from Lite-On, which provides the constant voltage of 19V and maximum current of 6.3A. This way, this PSU features only 120W power capacity, which should actually be more than enough keeping in mind the limitations imposed over the maximum frequency of the CPUs used in DIGIMatrix. Besides, you will also be unable to install any external graphics cards or other expansion devices into this system, which also lowers the required power consumption.
The exterior of DIGIMatrix is very similar to the design of consumer electronics devices, such as video-players, DVD-players, etc. That is why putting this ASUS device next to your TV-set will not disturb the atmosphere and interior design of your living room. ASUS DIGIMatrix goes very well with consumer electronics devices, so that most of your guests will never tell that it is a personal computer at the same time.
“False” front panel of ASUS DIGIMatrix is actually none other but just a cover. It carries only traditional controls, like those you usually see on many home appliances. I am talking about a massive volume control wheel, PC Power On button and 5 control buttons, such as Play/Pause, Stop, Forward/Rewind buttons and Video/Audio Functions enable/disable button, which allows using DIGIMatrix without starting the computer and the operation system. Moreover, the front panel is also equipped with three LEDs indicating the status of the system power, HDD activity and card-reader activity. Next to them there is a digital indicator displaying the current time in standby mode (by the way, this time is taken from the PC system timer), and the PC temperature when the system is running. If you are using DIGIMatrix as a player or a tuner only, then this indicator can also display the frequency of the radio station you are listening to, the track number and the like.