Cooler and Quieter Barebones PCs?

Choices Galore

In the last article, PC Size Means Everything , we showed how quality has greatly improved compared to the past two years. Today, for example, the end-user gets nearly all of the features with which a conventional desktop PC comes. Meanwhile, Mini-Barebones are available for the Intel Pentium 4, the Celeron, as well as for AMD's Athlon XP.

We featured the Shuttle XPC SN85G4 based on the new Athlon 64 (socket 754). Here, three new test candidates found their way into the THG laboratory: Abit's "DigiDice," Epox' eX5 Mini ME and Elitegroup's EZ Buddie. We tested the EZ Buddie last time, but the manufacturer claimed to have improved a few details, which is why we let it take part in the new test.

Here, we emphasized noise and heat levels in the benchmarks, and reviewed the systems' features, equipment and usability as well.

We also compared and contrasted the results of the last review to those of the new systems.

Great: a big multi-functional display on the front side

Completing the Mini-PC experience: the blue backlit keyboard from Keysonic

Hundreds of e-mails from our readers and users lay claim to how important noise levels are. Indeed, while a typical desktop customer expects high performance for a comparatively low cost, a potential customer of a barebones system looks at noise levels. Of course, higher-performance also means hotter systems, which thus means high-performance cooling systems.