Aopen EZ65 vs. Biostar iDEQ 200T

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Aopen EZ65 vs. Biostar iDEQ 200T - Page 4

The AOpen EZ65 & Biostar iDEQ 200T
Shuttle Isn't the Only OEM Making SFF Systems...

By, Marco Chiappetta
December 16, 2003


To isolate CPU performance, we ran some low-resolution tests with Novalogic's Comanche 4 and Epic's Unreal Tournament 2003. We often use these tests in our evaluation of 3D Graphics cards, but they are actually well suited as processor / system bandwidth benchmarks when run at low-resolutions with a high-end graphics card. Frame rates in Comanche 4 and UT2003 generally scale upwards with increased processor and memory clock speeds, especially at low resolutions. To further isolate CPU performance, we also disabled audio in the Comanche 4 test.

Gaming Benchmarks With The AOpen EZ65 & Biostar iDEQ 200T
Mini-Gaming Machines

All of the systems performed similarly in the Comanche 4 benchmark, with only 1.6 frames per second separating the "fastest" and "slowest" performers.  The AOpen EZ65 and SN85G4 outpaced the Biostar iDEQ 200T and Shuttle SB65G2, in Comanche 4, but the tides turned in the Unreal tests.  With UT2003, the Athlon 64 equipped SN85G4 surged ahead of the P4 powered systems by a sizable margin.  The Biostar iDEQ 200T bested its i865 based competition, followed by the Shuttle SB65G2 and then the AOpen EZ65.

"Real World" Application Benchmarks
We Can't Play Games All The Time

To test "Real World" application performance, we used ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2002 and Content Creation Winstone 2002 benchmarks.  We'll directly quote the eTestingLabs website for an explanation as to how Business Winstone 2002 derives its score. (Content Creation Winstone 2002 uses the same process, but the tests are comprised of different applications):

"Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running today's top-selling Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98, Windows 2000 (SP2 or later), Windows Me, or Windows XP. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores."

Business Winstone 2002:
  • Five Microsoft Office 2002 applications
    (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Content Creation Winstone 2002:
  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

After looking at these results, two thing become abundantly clear, (1) the Athlon 64 3200+ dominated in the Winstone tests and (2) all of the P4 / i865 based systems performed at very similar levels.  In the Business Winstone benchmark, the Shuttle machines took the lead, outrunning the  Biostar iDEQ 200T and AOpen EZ65 by .1 and .4 points respectively.  In the Content Creation benchmark, the iDEQ 200T beat the other Pentium 4 based machines by a small margin, followed by the EZ65 and then the SB65G2.

The Biostar iDEQ 200T :

Biostar does a lot of things right with the iDEQ 200T.  After working almost exclusively with Shuttle's XPC line of small form factor systems for the past year or so, we had grown accustomed to some of their shortcomings.  We have always been somewhat disappointed with their cluttered wiring and were glad when Shuttle unveiled the new, more aesthetically pleasing, G4 type enclosure.  We found Biostar's enclosure with its sliding drive door very attractive and the iDEQ 200T's wiring is the standard by which all other SFF systems should be judged.  The neatly routed cables really opens up the system's internals, which should help keep the system cool, and the pre-installed wiring also helped make building this machine an absolute breeze.  The iDEQ 200T's performance was on par with the other Pentium 4 powered machines, and it is priced extremely well at about $250 U.S., which is another plus.  The one area where this machine could use some improvement is with it's BIOS.  We found the BIOS' overclocking options to be somewhat lacking.  Overall though, we were very pleased with the Biostar iDEQ 200T, and think it is worthy of your consideration should you be in the market for an SFF PC.  We're giving the iDEQ 200T a solid 8.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.

The AOpen EZ65:

We were also impressed with the AOpen EZ65 XC Cube.  This machine's enclosure is very clean and appealing, with its designer colors and folding drive / connector covers.  The EZ65 is also incredibly quiet, in fact, it is the quietest small form factor system we have tested to date.  The AOpen EZ65's BIOS was very impressive as well.  This machine's BIOS was actually more complete than some of the so-called enthusiast motherboards we have recently reviewed!  The EZ65 also proved to be a capable overclocker and a decent performer.  Unfortunately though, after building the system, we were a bit turned off by the jungle of wires and cables, and at $325+ U.S. the AOpen EZ65 is priced at the high-end of the scale.  If you prefer the AOpen EZ65 XC Cube's looks over the competition, however, and want as close to silent a system as possible with traditional air-cooling, you'll be very pleased with this machine.  The EZ65 has earned itself an 8 on the HotHardware Heat meter.

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