Soltek Qbic EQ3401M: Qbic EQ3 Chassis



Soltek’s EQ3 chassis front is finished in the mirror panels we have seen in past top-line Soltek SFF systems. This time, however, all of the internal drives and ports are hidden behind push-out or drop-down mirror doors. This keeps the machine looking clean and uncluttered — and will likely be something you either love or hate. Not many are neutral about the design. The low-luster black one-piece shell complements the mirror-front very well, and we found the “push-out” feature worked just fine with our Samsung combo DVD/CDRW. Soltek includes a warning sheet of operation difficulties with optical drives that use irregular-shape tray fronts.



Front ports are hidden behind a “push-to-drop-down” mirror door and include SPDIF optical Out, audio Mic and Line-in mini jacks, 2 USB 2.0, and a Firewire port. The floppy drive also mounts behind a similar drop-down door to keep the sleek-looking front when all the doors and optical drives are closed.



The rear of the chassis is very complete, and includes ports and a punch-out for the optional parallel port. We were pleased to see a complete selection of rear ports including the rare arrangement of two serial ports and a VGA port. Most boards replace a COM port with the VGA and get by with one serial port. Other rear ports include PS2 mouse/keyboard, 4 USB 2.0, 2 firewire, a 10/100 Ethernet LAN port, and 3 programmable audio mini jacks. The 2 rear firewire give 3 total firewire ports for the Qubic EQ3401M, which is 1 or 2 more than we usually see even on systems with firewire.

You can also see the outlet grill at the top rear for the 250 Watt Enhance power supply, and the outlet on the left for the IcyQ cooling duct. This is the largest SFF power supply we have seen. 200 Watts is common, and 220W has been seen only on top-end SFF systems.



As sleek as the Soltek is on the outside, the interior wiring, while improved since AnandTech looked at Soltek in March, is still quite cluttered compared to the competition. If there is an Achilles heel with the Soltek, it is definitely the internal wiring. It is clear that the apparent simplicity of the Biostar interior is not an accident, but the result of careful engineering. As you can see in the open view of the chassis, while the Soltek is taller than other SFF units we have reviewed, it still appears quite cluttered. We have loaded the system with a CD Recorder/DVD combo, floppy, and 120Gb hard drive. As you can see, there is still room for a 2nd optical drive



Soltek uses a very unique cooling system. The black shroud on the right contains a very large cooling fan facing the CPU, which uses a standard heatsink/fan (in this case stock Intel).



The large fan faces the CPU area, turns at slow speed, but exhausts large volumes of cooling air. Soltek calls the entire system, which includes bottom case vents, “Icy Q”. The cooling system itself is extremely effective and very quiet.



The CPU uses the heatsink/fan of your choice in a standard Intel CPU “cage”. The CPU fan and Icy Q fan are controlled by the BIOS in Smart Mode or high speed.




The poor wiring layout is particularly an issue with the AGP/PCI slots. This area is already tight, and the cables outside the slot area make mounting cards even more difficult. Our suggestion would be to unplug the cables and move them out of the way before installing a card(s), then reattach the cables.

Index Soltek Qbic EQ3401M: SL-B8E-F Motherboard
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  • ducsauce - Saturday, January 24, 2004 - link

    Does anyone know whether this would accomodate the upcoming Prescott? I have one that's been sitting around for months. I've been waiting for the new 90nm procs but wonder whether it'll be compatible.

    thanks
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Friday, October 17, 2003 - link

    www.newegg.com carry it, but not in stock till oct 31, Reply
  • Anonymous User - Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - link

    U. S Suppliers please?? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    2 5.25" bays? woohoo - this means that I can now get my 4 drive raid 10 array in one :)


    What do you lot think? 2 drives in the 5.25s, one in the floppy 3.5 and one normal drive bay. The raid card in the pci slot, a Radeon 9700 pro in the agp and a DVDRW/CDRW combo in an external case on the USB2.

    Lan is already in, sound too - what else do i need? (a P4 2.4c and a pair of geil platinums)


    My only reservation is the power supply - I know for a fact that (using an extenal meter that measures power drain) my rig pulls 220W when running 3dmark2001 and copying 2 files simultaniously and the only real difference is an SB live and my p4 is a 2.4b. Im just not sure that even 250w will be enough.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - link

    I still would get the Shuttle SB65G2 or SB75G2 , who cares about quiet? I need colling and performance. What y'all think? Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    Put anything next to an 800W amp in a cramped stereo rack and you will have cooling problems. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    I agree. Could we have some temp. readings of the case and of the rear exhaust. I currently have an older Shuttle SV25 and the case gets really hot at times. I already burned out one powersupply. I am mostly concerned about temperature since I use these SFFs as stero components along with the rest of my stero equipment. Put a little computer next to a 800W amplifier in a cramped stero rack and you will have cooling problems. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    Apple introduced the Cube back in July 2000, if I recall correctly. But then again, the Next Cube came out long before that (Oct. 1988!). It was a fairly big cube, though. Of course, if you go really far back, things like the Sinclair were, um, small, too.

    Anyway, it seems like the Shuttle, Biostar and Soltek (that were recently reviewed) are all good PCs. Praising the Soltek for having more capacity is a little odd, though, since I thought the whole point is for these to be small.

    I'm shopping for a new system right now and have gone back and forth between mid tower, laptop, and SFF, and between Shuttle, Biostar, and Soltek. I think I've settled upon the Shuttle, though, since it's the smallest while still being full featured. (And it will take an ati 9800xt, unlike a laptop. Sweet!)
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    #9 I'm no apple lover by any means but #6 is right the apple launched the Apple ICube quite a while before shuttle started making sff computers. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Monday, October 06, 2003 - link

    #9 what do you consider to be a sff?
    i remember some macs being very small(compared to hulking pc's at the time).

    while i cant say for a FACT that they were the 'first' to make a sff, i can say that i have seen similar sff-like-macs many, many years ago.


    btw, i am not #6, i am some other person.

    Reply

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