The Mailman Has Arrived: Four Mini-PCs on the Test Bench

Soyo Mini Dragon 651: Old Fashioned Hi-Fi Charm, Not Yet Fully Mature, Continued

Hard disks and additional drives are located in the second housing..

All the components are installed in the main housing.

Compared to the other test candidates, which use lightweight aluminum for the most part, Soyo uses conventional sheet steel for the housing. On closer inspection, the cheap impression cannot be overlooked. Located behind a rickety plastic flap at the front are connections for USB 2.0, audio and FireWire. The drive cover of the clumsy second housing is more reminiscent of a poorly constructed children’s toy. In addition, the color of the front panel has not been coordinated with the rest of the housing design. The system interior contains the highest density of components of all of the test candidates, provided an AGP graphics card and a 2.5" hard disk is installed.

Like ECS and MSI, Soyo also opts for the somewhat outdated SiS 651 chipset for the Intel P4 platform. Nevertheless, there is only a single DIMM slot for a DDR 333 memory, at the most, in the Mini Dragon system. At any rate, should the memory be upgraded to a maximum of 1 GB, the model would have to be replaced. Soyo opts for a heat pipe CPU cooling solution. In addition, there are three fans altogether in the housing, which ensures good air circulation. Heat is conducted via the large louvres on the upper side ; extra dust protection would be a welcome feature. Quality-oriented users will criticize the protection provided by the housing hood, which is aided by plastic pins. The manufacturer should make some improvements here. While ECS, MSI and Shuttle all offer 5.1 audio, Soyo has only integrated stereo sound (two-channel).