While Shuttle pioneered the Small Form Factor computer, some of Shuttle’s competitors have been making real efforts to stand out from the SFF crowd. Soltek is one of those companies, and we were pleased to take a look at their latest offering — the Qbic EQ3401M. Soltek seems to have a thing with mirrored fronts, so they have extended this design from their earlier Qbic series. However, the big news with this new small Soltek is the expansion capability. Soltek managed to get two 5-1/4" bays in the EQ3401M, instead of the single 5-1/4" bay that we see on competitor’s systems.



While the Soltek is about the same depth and width as the Biostar and Shuttle, you can see that the extra bay makes it a bit taller. As we take a closer look at Soltek’s new Qbic EQ3 series, we also found a number of other innovations. It is clear since our last look at Soltek in the March SFF Roundup that Soltek has listened to the comments about their SFF and made many improvements.



The Soltek, like the Shuttle and Biostar we recently reviewed, is based on the latest Intel 800FSB Dual-Channel 865 chipset. The Qbic EQ3401M uses the onboard graphics of the G version of the 865, but also has an 8X AGP slot for graphics expansion. Soltek supports any current 800FSB C Series Intel processor, as well as earlier 533 and 400FSB socket 478 CPUs. Add to that 8 USB 2.0 ports, 3 Firewire, Serial ATA, a large 250Watt Power Supply (by SFF standards) and 5.1 audio, and you have the makings of a formidable SFF competitor.

 System Specifications
   Soltek Qbic EQ3401M  Biostar iDEQ 200T  Shuttle SB65G2
Expansion Bays (5.25"/3.5"/Hidden) 2/1/1 1/1/1 1/1/1
Front USB Ports 2 2 2
Rear USB Ports 4 2 4
Internal USB Ports 2 4 2
Front Firewire Ports 1 Standard 1 Standard 1 Mini
Rear Firewire Ports 2 Standard 1 Standard 1 Standard
On-Board Parallel Port Internal Header Internal Header Internal Header
On-Board Game Port None Internal Header None
On-Board Serial Ports 2 Rear 2 — One Rear & One Internal Header 2 Rear
Front Audio Jacks 2 — Mini Mic & Line-In 2 — Mini Mic & Heaphone 3 Mini
Rear Audio Jacks 3 Mini 3 Mini 3 Mini
SPDIF One — FrontOptical Out Two: Rear Optical Out & Front Optical In Two: Rear Optical SPDIF In & Out
Number of Fans (including CPU/chipset) 2 2 1
Power Supply 250W Enhance 200W Enhance 220W Enhance

Soltek Qbic EQ3401M: Qbic EQ3 Chassis
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  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    hey wesley, great review...one thing tho...would u be able to post some temperature readings...especially the case temp...and compare that to a regular tower..doesn't really matter which...i just want to see if the inside of the case is hot. especially with the 9800pro in there...i know the case is very quiet...but my concern is that if the case is the quietest, would that compromises the temp of the system? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    #6, show us proof that Apple released an SFF before Shuttle. I don't believe it. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    Found the EQ3401A here in the UK (www.pcnextday.co.uk) - no idea if they ship to the US though. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    Hey where are you located and where did you get the EQ3401A? I'm in the USA, but I haven't found any site in the USA that carries the EQ3401A or any site outside the USA that carries the EQ3401 and ships to the USA. Thanks for any help. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    I don't want to spark a horrible war here... but Shuttle didn't pioneer the SFF machines. Apple did. While I'll admit that Apple's machine had problems (mostly cosmetic), they did debut before the Shuttle boxes did.

    <flame away>
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    At last 2x DVD! But lacking ICH5R, shocking!!!
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    I notice you didn't use a serial ATA drive. On my EQ3401A (aluminium finish), the supplied ATA cable sticks out from the side of the case, preventing the lid from being replaced. A right-angled S-ATA cable would have solved this, but wasn't included. Can you confirm this is the same as yours?

    To answer Shalmanese - the shiny finish is extremely intolerant of fingerprints unfortunately.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    I was wondering how the noise levels of the SFF systems compare to regular systems.
    Anybody?
    Reply
  • Shalmanese - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    Is the shiny finish tolerant of strany finger marks and the like?

    It seems that many shiny computer things look very good out of the box but quickly become grungy after everyday use.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    Thank you for the nice article. A nitpick: I guess you installed 1 GB of DDR400 memory, not 1 Mb DDR400 (page 8)... Reply

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