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The iDEQ 210P didn’t astonish me in the slightest: the classic component layout and the lack of any new-fangled devices will suit to people who want a computer for work rather than for entertainment. Yet it is quite possible to transform the iDEQ 210P even into a compact gaming station, sufficiently fast for the majority of current games. The overall impression can be worded as “assemble it, turn it on – and it works”. And I hadn’t expected anything more from it. This neat and inconspicuous device would make an ideal second PC at your home. It is also quiet at office work: the cooling system is excellent, despite being designed in the classic way. I don’t recommend this barebone to those who need more than just an ordinary computer. This barebone just cannot do too much.

If you want a small modern home PC with the functionality of desktop systems, the iDEQ 300G may suit you well. I can’t think of a home application this machine wouldn’t be able to handle. It can be the foundation of a computer that can equally well cope with the latest games and the role of a home information-and-entertainment center. The cooling system is perfect. The intake fan stops altogether at small load or in the idle mode and the exhaust blower works at such a low speed that the system becomes absolutely noiseless. Then, the working system looks splendid, but there’s a single drawback to it – you cannot turn the highlighting off. When the system is powered down, the display shows the current time and you cannot disable this feature, either. As I’ve said above, this illumination is rather annoying when you’re watching video in a dim room. You may even want to cover the barebone with a thick napkin.

If you hope to use it as a juke-box, i.e. to reproduce Audio CDs, MP3s and radio channels without booting the OS up, I have to disappoint you – the radio feature is the only one available, and in a limited variant. That is, you can control the volume, select the station and enable/disable the FM mode from the device’s front panel only. Without the working OS, there’s only one active button on the remote control – Power Off. The rest of the buttons become available as you boot the OS up. But there’s limitation even in the choice of the OS: Windows XP Media Center Edition only. I don’t say this OS is bad for a home system, but any limitation is bad.

As for advantages, there are almost no problems with setting up and using the iDEQ 300G. You don’t have to bother about additional device drivers, about purchasing a remote control or anything else. You just install the OS, the drivers for the mainboard and peripherals, and you’re ready to work. All of this seems to be the result of the steady progress towards standardization and unification. The new creation of Biostar looks more like an audio/video player with a colorful onscreen menu rather than a media-PC in terms of multimedia functionality. And the end-user decides for him/herself if it’s good or bad. I, personally, returned to the classic PC without regret having played with the handy remote control and enjoyed the conveniences of Windows XP Media Center Edition. Many friends of mine, however, on seeing this small gray miracle with lacquered panels and hearing my account of what it could do, expressed the desire for a closer acquaintance. The fair sex were even ready to replace the plain gray box with the iDEQ 300G right away. Well, this is something the marketing folk should think about, while you must know one thing: it would be extremely hard to find a match for the iDEQ 300G in terms of functionality, capabilities and design. At least, today.

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