965 in mini format
Apart from the well known Shuttle Aopen is basically the only manufacturer that produces cube barebones. The brands like Abit, Epox and MSI have all stopped when the hype passed away, but these two keep at it. The newest addition to the Aopen range is the EU965.
As you might guess from the name the newest model from the XC Cube program is based on Intel's 965 chipset. There is compatibility with Intel's latest dual- and quad core processors, so you can easily transport your core 2 duo to LAN parties in this barebone. Up till now we have only tested the XC cubes on this website, the EU is new to us as well, but as you will see the only thing that differs in these models is the front of the barebone, the inners are virtually identical to the XC series.
When we open up the EU965 we see that Aopen has made a bold descision in design, as next to the PCI-Express x 16 slot there is a PCI-Express x 1 slot in stead of the usual conventional PCI slot. The graphics card goes on the outside of the cube, making it impossible to use a powerfull state-of-the art high end card. However the supplied PSU would not be sufficient for one of those anyway as it is a 275 Watt model. At the back however we do find the backwards compatibility as Aopen has used PS/2 connections for keyboard and mouse, as well as USB ports, FireWire and analog and digital sound.
Inside the EU965 we find one 5,25 inch slot, one 3,25 inch slot for cardreader or a diskdrive and room for one hardrive. The motherboard has connections for a diskdrive, one PATA connector (max two devices) and three SATA ports. You can place two memory modules on the board and as stated before the EU965 comes with a 275 Watt PSU.
We find the EU965 a very attractive and is more than adequate for users loonking for a compact 965 system. It might look small, but it does have the potential to be a proper high-end monster. The 275 Watt PSU however is a bit on the weak side for using a top-end graphics card, but it will be more dan sufficient for a decent mid-range card.