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

Installation & Setup


By: Dan Mepham

An expected shortcoming of a system of this size, installation of the hardware proved to be more difficult than roomier full-sized cases. Thin-fingered individuals hold an advantage here. Our best advice is to follow the installation instructions given carefully, and be sure to install components in the order listed in the Guide. Iwill has devised a strategy for routing the cables inside the case to reduce clutter and promote air flow as much as possible, and we recommend sticking to their plan.

Iwill has actually done an excellent job, following the PCI specification to the letter in insuring that there is adequate clearance on all sides of the PCI slot. We dont foresee any issues installing PCI cars, save that full-length cards can obviously not be accommodated in a case of this size.

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While we did not have access to an XP4-G unit with the AGP slot, we do have some small concerns with respect to that unit. Firstly, as the AGP slot is directly against the edge of the case, air flow will be greatly impeded. There is sufficient clearance for most video card fans (any fan conforming to the AGP specification will fit), however its surface will be directly against the side of the case, so air flow will be reduced at best. In addition, any video card requiring an overly large fan also requires increased amounts of current current the XP4s 150W power supply may be stressed to provide. Note also that the power supply offers only two 4-pin Molex connectors (which would both be used by a hard disk and CDROM), and a single floppy drive power connector.

What were driving at here is that pairing a high-end processor with a demanding video card may be more than the system can tolerate in terms of power delivery and cooling. Physically, the XP4-G can accommodate a 3.06 GHz Pentium 4 and a Radeon 9700 Pro, but practically, the power and cooling limitations may make it impractical. With respect to the XP4, however, we doubt there are many PCI cars that would push the power and cooling limits.



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

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