Closer Look at Qbic Design
As a rule, all Qbic models look very nice, and the barebone we had in the labs was no exception. Despite the multi-color package, the EQ3901M is designed in a very strict, I would even say ascetic, manner, which still made it look fine. The case with straight side lines and corners, mirror front panel with rounded corners will fit nicely into the office workspace as well as into a cozy living-room interior. The only issue is this mirror panel, which looks beautiful but is highly unpractical, because it easily gets stained, scratched, catches dust and retains noticeable fingerprints. Here it would be good to keep in mind that there is also an EQ3901 modification of this system equipped with a matt aluminum front panel.
The front side of the Qbic system looks very uniform: you will not anything that wouldn’t belong here in terms of the design. All the drives and ports are hidden behind the covers and lids that can be opened any time. The two top panels hide the optical devices, then comes the floppy drive cover, and the last one is the cover for Audio In and Out (stereo) ports, SPDIF Out, two USB 2.0 ports and an IEEE1394 port.
On the mirror surface of the front panel you can clearly distinguish the section cover borders, hard disk drive activity LED and four buttons. The first one is Power On/Off with a built-in status LED, the second is a standard Reset button, the remaining two buttons are eject buttons for the optical drives. There is only one problem about these last two buttons. If you install a device without a moving-out tray in one of the top 5.25-inch bays, then you will have real difficulty using it, as it is hard to open the top covers with your fingers.
The back panel of the barebone system case features the following connectors and ports from the mainboard:
- 2 PS/2 connectors
- 2 COM Ports
- 4 USB 2.0 ports
- 1 IEEE1394 connector
- 1 LAN connector
- 1 Line-In jack
- 1 Front-Out jack
- 1 Side Surround-Out jack
- 1 Center-Sub Woofer-Out jack
- 1 Rear Surround-Out jack
The power supply cable connector is located at the top of the system’s back panel. There are two slots behind blank bracket covers intended to accommodate an AGP and a PCI expansion card. And the last thing to top this picture is the ventilation grids of the power supply unit and cooling system.
The dark-gray housing of the EQ3901M case you can find not only the mainboard, which we will talk about later in this review, but also a small power supply unit. Even though it is of relatively small size, it is quite powerful and can generate up to 300W of power for the system. There are ventilation holes all over the back and side panels of the PSU. At the very bottom you can also find a small fan sucking air into the PSU. But will 300W be enough to power our system? Let’s try to make a few simple calculations. For our example we will take an average barebone configuration:
90W (CPU) + 2x20W (2x256MB RAM) + 30W (mainboard) + 50W (AGP) + 10W (PCI) +15W (HDD) + 5W (FDD) + 20W (CD/DVD) + 2x4W (2 fans) = 268W
We took average values of the devices power consumption, sometimes we even took higher values than the average, but we still fit into the 300W limit. So, I assume that Qbic EQ3901M will have no problems with insufficient power supply.