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  Iwill's XP4 Mini-PC, cutting size but not performance 
  Apr 01, 2003, 08:30am EST 
 

Basics


By: Dan Mepham

Iwill ships the XP4 essentially as a barebones unit, including the miniature case and power supply, as well as Iwill’s proprietary small footprint motherboard. In addition to a Quick Install Guide and driver CD, Iwill includes an IDE cable, power cord, and small bag of extra screws and zip ties in the package.

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The miniature cube-shaped case is actually quite sleek and attractive. The casing itself is a high gloss brushed aluminum, with a matte-finished silver front which is covered by a 4mm sheet of plexiglass. The plexiglass front is screwed on with four custom polished screws to enhance visual appeal. The front of the unit itself features power and reset buttons, both of which are chrome-colored plastic to match the screws, as well as two front-mounted USB ports, and headphone and microphone connectors. Only one 5.25” drive bay is available, so those requiring both DVD and CDRW capabilities will need to employ one of the many combo drives available on the market, as opposed to two separate drives.

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The rear of the unit features the standard I/O connectivity, such as PS2 mouse and keyboard connectors, one serial and parallel port, and two more USB connectors. Iwill’s motherboard provides on-board sound and networking capability, and optional on-board video as well. There will be two versions of the XP4 available, the XP4, and XP4-G. The XP4 uses Intel’s 845GV chipset, and features on-board video and a single PCI expansion slot. Those seeking a more powerful video solution can opt for the XP4-G, which employs the 845GE chipset, and offers a single AGP slot to be used for a video card, instead of the PCI slot. Gaining access to the unit is made easy by Iwill’s use of thumb screws on the casing cover.

Overall we’re very pleased with the appearance and quality of the casing exterior. We have only two minor quibbles, both relating to the front of the unit. Firstly, the thickness of the plexiglass bezel might potentially interfere with the proper seating of some USB or audio connectors. Iwill has made large cutouts to attempt to prevent issues (see first image), however we wouldn’t be surprised if the odd connector caused a bit of trouble. Our second minor complaint is that the Power and Reset buttons have a rather cheap and flimsy feel. A more substantial button would leave a greater impression of quality and durability.



1. Introduction
2. Basics
3. Inside the (Mini) Beast
4. Installation & Setup
5. Performance
6. Summary

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