Iwill XP4G MiniPC - HotHardware

Iwill XP4G MiniPC

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The Iwill XP4-G Mini-PC
Iwill Enters the SFF Fray...

By, Marco Chiappetta
June 25, 2003

Putting together one of these mini-PCs is very straightforward.  Once you mount your drives, and insert your memory, CPU and video card, it's only matter of connecting a few cables and powering on the system.  Working inside such a small enclosure may be frustrating for some though, especially when trying to route cables neatly for proper airflow.  The XP4-G is no different than any other small form factor PC in this respect.

Setup & Quality
Small!  S - M - ALL

 

Front Mounted Connectors:

  • 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
  • Headphone-Out
  • Microphone-In
  • Power LED
  • IDE Activity LED
  • Power Switch
  • Reset Switch

 

Rear Mounted Connectors:

  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse Connector
  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard Connector
  • 1 x 25-pin Parallel Port
  • 1 x 9-pin Serial Port
  • 1 x DB15 VGA Port
  • 1 x RJ-45 Connector
  • 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
  • 3 x Audio connectors (Line-in / Line-out / Mic)

The Iwill XP4-G has a full compliment of ports and connectors located on both the front and rear of the system.  Mounted on the front of the enclosure were 2 USB ports, microphone and headphone jacks, power and IDE activity LEDs and the obligatory power and reset switches.  On the rear you'll find PS/2 mouse and keyboard connectors, serial and parallel ports, 2 more USB ports, an RJ45 connector, a standard DB15 VGA connector and the remaining audio jacks.  Also visible at the rear of the system are the two exhaust fans used to cool the system. Both fans blow hot air out of the rear of the case, while cool air is pulled in through perforations at the front of either side of the enclosure.  With a third fan in the system used for cooling the CPU, we felt the volume levels were tolerable, although the XP4-G was definitely louder than the Shuttle's XPCs.  To find out just how much noise was being generated, we took a quick decibel reading 2 feet away using out analog sound meter and found the XP4-G registering about 52db on the meter.  This isn't too bad considering how close we were to the system.

         

    

Removing the lid, which is fastened to the chassis with three thumbscrews, reveals the innards.  Generally speaking, it seems the motherboard and enclosure used on the Iwill XP4-G were well thought out.  We would have liked to have seen active cooling on the Northbridge, but the system remained stable throughout all of our testing, so any extra cooling on the Northbridge would probably have been overkill.  When looking at the mainboard itself, one word comes to mind, "simplicity".  Iwill took a very minimalist approach by only including a single DIMM slot, a single AGP slot and by positing the socket and drive bays in such a way that a stock Intel heatsink / fan combo could be used to cool the CPU.  All of the internal cables are in good locations, but things could have been a bit cleaner.  We re-ran as many of the cables as we could under the motherboard and cleaned things up quite a bit.

The BIOS
Good Enough...

     

     

     

The Iwill XP4-G is equipped with a Phoenix / Award BIOS, similar to the vast majority of motherboards currently available.  If you take a look at the screenshots above, you'll probably be familiar with most of the menu items listed.  We did not find anything revolutionary in the XP4-G's BIOS, but the usual assortment of options for manipulating and tweaking all of the on-board components, memory and other features were there.  In the "Iwill Smart Setting" section of the BIOS we found all of the overclocking options.

Overclocking Tools:

Browsing through the "Iwill Smart Setting" section proves overclocking was not a top priority when they were designing the XP4-G.  That's not to say you won't be able to overclock your CPU, however.  From within the BIOS, users can raise the processor's Front Side Bus up to 250MHz, in 1MHz increments and the AGP / PCI clock speeds can be set to Auto, or locked at 66 / 33MHz, 75 / 37MHz or 88 / 44MHz.  Unfortunately, there are no voltage tweaking options.  We were able to run our 2.4GHz CPU at 2.68GHz with an FSB of 149MHz without a problem, but core temperatures got a little too high for our liking.  At stock speeds we saw core temperatures hovering around 60°C, which is already relatively warm, but with the system overclocked, temperatures soared past the 80°C mark.

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