Four Quiet and Powerful Mini PCs for Intel CPUs

AOpen XC Cube MZ915-M: An Intel Mobile CPU Alternative

A half-height barebone for Intel's Mobile CPUs
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The Open Cube Mini series provides positive proof that form factors can shrink still further from the mini-cube format. But what's unusual about this barebones model isn't so much the exterior as what goes inside. The MZ915-M uses an Intel i915M chipset and a Pentium M processor, components more frequently associated with notebooks than desktop PCs. This design also features a notebook-like external power supply brick, and makes room only for a slimline optical drive.

When you remove the screws that hold the top cover in place, you'll find a rat's nest of cables, condensers, and other components normally tucked away inside a conventional power supply, or on the PC's motherboard. Be careful to remove the power cable, and give yourself some time to clear the way when installing interior components. To shoehorn additional hardware into this tiny enclosure, you must also be prepared to remove numerous screws and various retainers. It's curious, if not downright amusing, that this motherboard offers four Serial ATA connectors, despite a lack of room for that many drives. Likewise, there are no SATA power connectors inside this case, nor will you find adapters in the accessories included with this unit, either.

Brief Overview
Model AOpen XC Cube MZ-915M
Chipset Intel 915M / ICH6
CPUs supported Pentium M
Front-side Bus 533 MHz
RAM Modules DDR2 Dual Channel 400/ 533
HDD Interface 4 x SATA / 1 x IDE
LAN 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
Sound 7.1 High Definition Audio
Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Many SATA connectors
  • Integrated memory card reader/writer
  • Tiny footprint
  • Barely audible
  • Available in black or white
  • External power supply

Cons

  • Poor extensibility
Temperature Measurements

Ratings
AOpen XC Cube MZ915-M
Weighting Categories Results Achieved
35% Equipment 75%
35% Ergonomics 80%
10% Noise Levels 95%
10% Price-to-value 75%
5% Design 90%
5% Service 85%
Total Results 80%

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