8 SFF PCs: Small, But Not So Quiet

Gigabyte G-MAX CA2LSE: Colorful Packaging

Note: The model is not yet available on the US market. Only in Asia and Europe

Even right after unpacking the G-MAX, we wondered: To whom is the packaging supposed to appeal? Surely no businessman, because the box is decorated with brightly colored cartoon characters (Ragnarok).

Still, the decoration doesn't extend to the case and packaging is far from our main concern. The Gigabyte PC SFF includes a 16x DVD drive and PowerDVD. But to complete the hardware, we first had to dismantle it laboriously. The G-Max has smaller dimensions (275 x 184 x 160 mm) than a Shuttle or AOpen bare-bones, which you realize quickly when you are assembling it. It has two further disadvantages. For one, the 220-watt power supply has been moved 50% outward and only an AGP port is available on the motherboard. There is no PCI slot to be seen.

Chic but useless packaging

The DVD drive is part of the package

Everything available, including a serial and parallel interface

Wild inside: a few cable ties would have created some order here

Excess length? No, that was on purpose, to save space on the inside

Pros

  • 6-in-1 card reader
  • No front panels
  • Small format
  • Built-in DVD drive with PowerDVD software

Cons

  • Overhanging power supply
  • No PCI slot
  • Large and thus noisy CPU fan
  • Unruly interior cabling
  • No external 3.5" access
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