AOpen XC Cube MZ855 II Mini PC Review :: The Unit

09-12-2005 · Category: Hardware - Systems

By Benjamin Sun

The first thing you'll notice when looking at the MZ855 II is the size. The unit is the smallest SFF I've ever seen. The dimensions of the unit are: 320mm (L) x200mm (W) 106mm (H). By way of comparison my Shuttle Zen XPC measures 300mm (L) x 200 mm (W) x 185mm (H). The size of the computer makes for an easy fit anywhere in the house. Couple it with a LCD monitor and you have a portable computer in every sense of the word.


AOpen XC Cube MZ855 II Mini PC Review

The box the MZ855 II comes in is petite, like the unit itself. The box front has a picture of a beautiful woman with a full tower PC and a mini-system PC picture right next to the XC Cube computer for comparison's sake. The side panel has a sticker with Pentium M Exclusive to make sure the user doesn't stick a Pentium 4 CPU in there along with the model name, the panel color, the model # the part number and a website link for the product. The top of the box has a list of awards AOpen has won.

Opening the box, you will find the AOpen mini-system surrounded by Styrofoam end pieces. This effectively holds the unit into place during shipment. The other contents of the box include: a Power Brick to provide power for the unit, manuals in Chinese and English, a SATA cable, a front plate for the DVD-ROM, 2 power cables, a S/PDIF cable, and a cleaning cloth.

The software bundle of the MZ855 II is rather sparse by most standards. AOpen includes the drivers, WinDMI, Acrobat Reader, AOConfigure, and Ezskin. The drivers have an automatic install process, simply hit the button and the drivers will install. WinDMI gives the user detailed system information including the BIOS version, the expansion ports, and other components of your system. Acrobat Reader reads .PDF files. AOConfig is a Windows-based utility with a user-friendly interface that allows users to obtain information of the operation system and hardware such as the motherboard, CPU, memory, PCI devices and IDE devices. Also, the powerful utility displays the BIOS and firmware version for your convenience.


AOpen XC Cube MZ855 II Mini PC Review Front

Front

AOpen XC Cube MZ855 II Mini PC Review Rear

Rear

AOpen XC Cube MZ855 II Mini PC Review IDE Ports

IDE Ports

AOpen XC Cube MZ855 II Mini PC Review 9-1 reader

9-1 reader


The front of the unit has a drive bay for an optical disk drive. This is where you want to put your DVD or CD drive. You can use any drive that'll work on a laptop. In our case, we used a DVD drive provided by AOpen to match the color of the case. The front of the unit also has 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 Firewire ports (1 A 1 B), a Microphone jack a headphone jack, and an S/PDIF video out port. The rear of the unit provides 2 more USB 2.0 ports, a parallel port, the DB-15 port, the RJ45 jack for Gigabit LAN, 3 audio jacks and a S/PDIF Video In port. AOpen has a 9 in-1 card reader on the left side of the case. Expansion options are provided by an AGP 4x slot and a PCI slot. The motherboard the XC Cube comes with has 2 IDE controller ports for hard drive expansion and ODD (Optical Disc Drive) and 2 SATA ports for SATA drive installation. There isn't room in the chassis for more than one HDD and one ODD, so this is a good choice.