Skyhawk echo-Q IMC6375 SFF PC
If at first the SkyHawk IMC6375 looks a bit familiar, it's because SkyHawk was the original builder of early Shuttle SFF PCs. While that makes for a good start, it also means that some of the bad points that we've come across in other reviews popped up here as well. The boxy unit comes with the now standard brushed aluminum outer shell. Venting is provided on both sides of the unit to help dissipate heat buildup within the case. The 5 1/4" bay comes with a matching silver face-plate so any drive can be added without clashing with the overall look of the system. Not shown, but included in the package, was an silver bezel for a floppy drive as well, should the user wish to install one.
Following in other manufacturer's footsteps, the IMC6375 is twin-billed as a Media PC featuring "Music On-Now" capabilities. Instead of fully booting into Windows, the IMC6375 is able to play CDs or DVDs directly from a mini-OS built into the system. Playback is then controlled by buttons on the front of the chassis, or by the included remote control. Two silver buttons allow the user to power up and restart the system, and there are also multi-function buttons and a volume jog-dial situated around a LED display. All of the buttons feel and look a bit flimsy, however, and detract from the value of the system. The jogdial in particular felt very insubstantial, and the divot was too small to be pressed directly. The LED readout can be used in conjunction with the multi-use buttons on the left to display such readouts as temperature, fan speeds, as well as a music equalizer.
The main cooling unit of the IMC6375 was a brass Spire heatsink with a single heatpipe running through the radiator fins. A 60mm fan installed onto the end of the heatsink blows air through the fins and cools off the gases in the heatpipe, which then condense back into liquid and return to the where the heatsink and CPU meet. Although that's pretty standard stuff as far as cooling is concerned, SkyHawk has also included another 60mm fan that mounts directly to the chassis and blows air from the side of the unit onto the heatsink. The good news is that not only does this keep temperatures under control, but the sound output is quite low. In fact, this was one of the quietest SFF PCs that we have ever tested. So much so that during one day of testing/research in the labs we weren't even aware that we had left the SkyHawk IMC6375 running.
Once the outer shell was removed we got a peek at the innards of the IMC6375. It was a relative mess of wires running to and fro, and that was before we added any drive cables. Power cables coming off of the power supply unit were tied to the drive cage and various cables ran from front to back along the side of the chassis over the AGP slot. Removal of the cage gave us a closer look at the socket, but also at the temperature readout cables to be used with the LED readout. It's best to insert the CPU, heatsink, and RAM at this point, as there will be little to no room available to move around once the hard drive and CD-ROM drives are installed. As we mentioned on the previous page, cables are not pre-routed, so it's up the user to determine the best placement. We've really become accustomed to wires already set in place for easy installation and optimum airflow, and felt that this was an area that SkyHawk should improve on.
Once everything else was in place, we got to adding in the final component, the GeForce 5900XT that we've used in other SFF PCs. We immediately got concerned with the length of the 5900XT as it appeared it might not fit around the connectors on the motherboard. Two capacitors at the end of the BFG 5900XT card were dangerously close to the wiring and it was tight fit all around. Last, but not least, there was barely any clearance between the heatsink/fan on the 5900XT and the outer casing. Many of these issues are gripes that we've had with some of the early SFF PCs we've tested that haven't been addressed with SkyHawk's unit.