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  PCChips EZ-Watcher EZW-3060 Mini-PC 
  Nov 10, 2003, 09:30am EST 
 

Under the Hood


By: Dan Mepham

The EZW-3060 is powered by an external supply, as is the case with many small form-factor PCs (including Iwill’s XP4, which we reviewed some time ago). In this case, the supply provides 12V DC power to the case, which has a small internal regulator to step the voltage down to 3.3V and 5V as needed. Fortunately most of the power in a P4 system is drawn from the 12V rail, so there shouldn’t be too much strain on the 5V and 3.3V rails.


As with any small form-factor PC, space is tight. Our unit shipped with its own heatsink and fan assembly, however there’s sufficient room around the socket for Intel’s OEM cooler. The case is also equipped with a rear 80mm exhaust fan. The fan is covered with a grille, and is temperature-controlled automatically - a nice touch.


The unit uses SiS’ 650GL chipset. Frankly, this was an unfortunate choice by PCChips. We think the type of user that would be interested in a PC like this in the first place would prefer to pay the extra ten dollars for an Intel chipset, given the choice. The 845 chipset should have been used, and given that PCChips has managed to find room for two DIMM slots on the board, even 865/875 is a possibility.


In addition to two DIMM slots, PCChips has also found room for two expansion card slots; one AGP slot, and one shared PCI/CNR slot. The AGP slot is a welcome feature, as it allows users to use their own AGP card, and free themselves from the on-board, low-performance SiS video and questionable video drivers (yet another reason why 845 should have been used).


All things considered, PCChips has made good use of the limited space available, and managed to provide a board that can stand up to most full size ATX boards in terms of features, minus a few PCI slots.



1. Introduction
2. Meet PCChips' EZ-Watcher
3. A Look at the Exterior
4. Under the Hood
5. The Heart of the Beast
6. Performance
7. Summary

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