Thereís no denying that Shuttle has sparked a whole new category of SFF, small form factor, PCs ever since they introduced their first SFF. AOpen is one of the manufacturers that entered the SFF arena rather late but fortunately chose not to make a simple copy of the Shuttle design. The XC cube is styled like something weíve come to expect from Apple; sleek, stylish with little to no external frills. Itís a design thatís far from the usual anodized aluminum SFFs weíve seen left and right, in an assortment of colors. Obviously the XC cube is also manufactured from aluminum, although the outsides are a high-gloss white finish complimented by a milky white lexan face plate.
Fig 1. A look at the AOpen XC cube, the white face plate and case lid both have a high gloss finish.
Pretty? Well, itís a matter of taste, either you like it or you donít. We do feel that AOpen has taken extra care to make sure itís design is not another blatant copy of someone elseís. For example a welcome addition to the XC cube is the fact that the cdrom and floppy drive are hidden behind a closed door, so the face plate will not look awkward with different color cdrom or floppy drives. If youíve ever owned, or considered buying, a SFF PC with an aluminum faceplate youíll know how hard it is to find a matching cdrom or cdrw drive. The same approach was used to hide the front I/O connectors behind a small hinged door, which opens and closes by a touch of the lid.
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