FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review :: The Unit

12-08-2004 · Category: Hardware - Systems

By Doc Overclock

FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review

Condor Specification

  • Model Name: CD-VL91
  • Operation System: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • CPU Support: Up to Intel Pentium 4 3.4 GHz Prescott w/HT 800MHz FSB (A higher CPU has not been tested yet)
  • Chipset : Intel 865G+ICH5
  • Graphics: Chipset Embedded Graphics
  • Audio: AC97 Codec
  • Memory : DDR 400 DIMM x 2
  • Hard Drive : 3.5" HDD x1;FDD x1 (or 2nd HDD)
  • Optical Drive: 5.25" ODD x1 bay
  • Wireless LAN: PCI
  • Media Reader: SD/MS/MMC/Card Reader plus PCMCIA Type II x 1 (Optional)
  • Keyboard/Mouse: PS2 KB/ Mouse
  • Remote Control: None
  • Panel/Display: None
  • Tuner: None
  • Wired Connectivity: 10/100 LAN ( Gigabit LAN optional) + 56K MDC Modem
  • Expansion: ATX Standard PCI x 2; AGP 8X x1
  • Front I/O: USB2.0 x6, SPIDF-out x 1, Headphone and Microphone-in
  • Rear I/O: PS2 KB/ Mouse, VGA, USBx4, RJ45x1, Line in, Line out, Microphone
  • Power Supply: 200W with PFC option
  • Dimension: 172(W) x 252(H) x 341(D)mm
  • Form Factor: Proprietary in Cube Form Factor
FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review

Right off the bat you can see the Condor SFF unit is not a utilitarian piece of equipment as its visual aspect is noticeable at first glance, long before you even start delving into the features of the unit itself. Getting into the unit is also unique in its design as a top mounted slide is used to first unlock and then enable you to pop open the side like a cool European sports car in able to access the heart of the system. This is a first in this design style and shows FIC going that little extra step to make a mark for their system outside the normal hum-drum that pollutes the public market.

FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review

As far as internal features go, the Condor offers the most usual and commonly required options that most gamers would simply expect in a system used to travel and frag opponents at LAN events. Even though the Condor is based on an aging i865G/ICH5 chipsets, it can still be configured to play all the latest game titles as all the higher-end Socket 478 CPUs combined with a decent VGA card have the ability to tackle even the latest system intensive games such as, Half Life 2 or Doom 3. You can see the complete CPU support chart. The system supports all Socket 478 400/533/800MHz FSB CPU's up to the 3.4GHz Prescott. LAN is provided by the Intel 82562EZ chipset supporting 10/100 Mbps LAN connections through the RJ45 connector located on the rear I/O.


FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review
FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review

There are two memory slots available supporting up to 2GB of DDR 266/333/400 SDRAM. Nowadays, most gamers use a Gig of memory in their systems in a dual 512GB stick configuration, the Condors design is not contrary in that aspect and should provide adequate memory support for any user. Dual UDMA 66/100 connections are available for your optical and hard drives supporting up to four devices, although honestly there is not even enough room in the system for more than three ATA devices anyways so there is no drawback there. Serial ATA support is available and there are two headers on the board. AGP 8X is present, and even though the Intel i865G has included on-board graphics, any real gamer will be using the AGP port in any case as Intel's inbred graphic solutions are mediocre at best and not even up to par for the latest FPS games.


FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review
FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review

All the drives mount sideways, and this is something I do not care for in the best of cases, but in this case the design works well enough as the drives tray does not get stuck on the door when it closes as I have experienced on other systems. You have space for one 5.25 and one 3.25 drive that you can access for the front. Your input/output options can be described in one word; Spartan. This is one aspect that really is very limited in its design as the Condor is one, if not the one SFF system that has just the basics with no frills of any type whatsoever. Usually there are just more available connections and at least one old-school COM port and some other unique thing that is cool to make it appealing. The Condor has its appeals; not having multitudes of feature options is not on of them though.

FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review

In total there are six available USB 2.0 ports, with two being on the front panel and four more located on the rear I/O. No com port, no rear SPDIF, and again no Firewire. Firewire headers are located on the motherboard, but actual ports are an optional buy purchase and not included. The Realtek ALC202A audio source that is provided by the on-board sound controller is AC97 Codec propelled, and it will function okay albeit with a performance hit noticeable by dropped frame rates during gameplay. If I were really making a gaming system a Creative Labs Audigy 2 would be a must have as it uses its own Codec and has no performance hit on the CPU, unlike any imbedded solution available currently. Cooling is handled by an included Tai Sol heatsink and fan combination that is also very visually nice on the eyes and from what we hear very efficient as well. Well that about wraps up what the Condor is made up of so let us now move on to the setup and performance phases of the review where we can see if the Condor is all that it looks to be or if its all just flash.


FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review
FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review
FIC SFF Condor Mini System Review