The barebone computer we are reviewing today is based on an Elitegroup S4-2 mainboard which supports Intel Pentium 4 processors working with 400MHz and 533MHz FSB frequencies (Socket 478, “Willamette” and “Northwood” cores). Thus, the most powerful processor this system can run is the Pentium 4 3.06GHz, with its 533MHz FSB and Hyper-Threading technology.
For a thorough description of the chipset (SiS 651+ SiS 962) and the integrated graphics core (SiS 315) you may refer to ourMSI MEGA: Mini-System with Maxi-Features Review. Let me only note that the use of the SiS651+ SiS962 duo as a chipset doesn’t fully satisfy the processor’s need for the memory bus bandwidth. The memory bus is clocked at 333MHz at the most (PC2700), when the 533MHz FSB is used. There are two 184-pin DIMM slots on the mainboard, while the maximum supported memory amount is 2GB. That’s quite a lot for a barebone system, since they don’t usually require that much of system memory.
There are only two expansion slots: AGP 4x and one 32-bit PCI. That’s again pretty usual for a mainboard of such form-factor. The user of the EZW-3060 is unlikely to have any problems with USB devices connection. There are six USB 2.0 ports available, and two FireWire (IEEE 1394a) ones, to the bargain.
The small dimensions of the system case slow down the assembly process a little bit. Particularly, memory installation and IDE cable connection become a daunting task. The HDD and optical drive fitted in and could be screwed up to the case without any problems. Note also that the optical drive is covered with a curtain at the front panel, so you don’t need to seek for a black-colored device: you will not see its front panel when the curtain-lid is closed.
The CPU heatsink cannot be installed in any way: there’s only one right position, because the cooler’s wire is short and the power connector is placed perpendicular to the memory slots on the mainboard. The retention mechanism of the cooler is designed with metal braces. You may have already seen them in the Spark cooler series from Thermaltake. By the way, Thermaltake patented this cooler retention.
When you install an external AGP graphics card, you at the same time block the only PCI slot with the cooling system of the card (the cooler on the RADEON 9800 Pro has quite small dimensions, by the way). The installation of a full-size graphics card may be also pretty difficult sometimes.
There is nothing really exciting about the connection of other devices, so we will skip this part and pass over to the benchmarks and performance of our EZ Watcher 3060.