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Reviewed by: Ed Lau [04.25.04]
Manufactured by: Soltek

Street Price: $255 at
$260 for mirror finish version

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In addition to the CPU fan, cooling is provided by the vent holes in the sides of the case as well as the large blower fan mounted on the right side. This provides adequete, effective cooling but don't expect it to run icy cool temperatures. Overclocking is an option in the BIOS but I wouldn't push it too far. The power supply also has a small fan built in. With a stock Intel CPU cooler, noise caused by the cooling is reasonable. Not silent but also not noticable.

Extra!  Extra!

Of course the package also comes with the usual box of screws and manuals but the highlight is the carrying case which is a great, convienient way to lug around a big hunk of metal to LAN parties. While there are quite a few slot and pockets for your cables and mouse but a strap for your keyboard would have been nice.

Like the Qbic, the bag is also not the most stylish thing in the world but it serves its purpose quite well. It shows Soltek has the LAN enthusiast in mind.

Soltek isn't going to shake the foothold Shuttle has on the SFF market, especially with a lackluster looking case. But the features rival or exceed those of equivalent i865 SFF boxes, including just about everything short of built-in wireless network and rocket-powered, laser-guided, monkey-navigated spaceships (I know...why would it be laser-guided and monkey-navigated?  Because it's just that awesome).

The problems with the Qbic are minor but they do add up. All those features need room and that leaves very little for breathing. To say the inside of the Qbic is cramped would be an understatement. The outside also lacking as it's style leaves much to be desired. The front panel is quite unique but is a little tacky. The mirrored version would probably look much better but would be easily scratched and often fingerprinted.

The same goes for the bag. It's a great inclusion to an already feature-rich product but like the Qbic, it also lacks in style. It's a great idea but c' looks like something a 5 year old designed. Not as nasty as Rosie O'Donnell but it could be a lot better. Of course, you might like the looks a lot more than me.

If you're not concerned about looks, then by all means, pick up the Qbic. It's a bargin at a street price of roughly $260. Like a Hyundai, it will get you everywhere you need to be but not necessarily looking all that great. Soltek has to address this if they want to play ball with Shuttle because, let's face it, SFFs just have to look great to be a success. This is a great product but let's hope for even more in future additions to the Qbic line.

  • loads of features. SATA, Firewire, 5.1 + TOSlink audio
  • two external 5.25" drives
  • great size
  • carrying bag
  • decent cooling and sufficient room for Intel stock cooler

  • style, or lack of it
  • weak plastic hinges
  • front drive covers are functional but prevent certain 5.25" devices from being used
  • cramped internal quarters
  • I still haven't seen a real SFF cooling solution

Final Score: 88%