The iDEQ 350G: Exterior
Looking at the exterior of the system, we find several key aesthetic features Biostar has come to use in all of its iDEQ mini PC's. Here, the company combines a silver acrylic with a matte silver finish and a chrome front plate. Overall, the system's appearance is high-tech without seeming too flashy or gaudy. Granted, it won't exactly fit in with any home theater components in your living room. However, you won't be going to any great lengths to hide the system from view in an office or bedroom, as it does look to be a high quality part.
Along the bottom of the front panel, we see Biostar's common array of IO ports. Here, we have 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 SPDIF input, a Mic port, headphone port, 1394A Firewire port, and an IrDA/IR receiver. In addition, the system has a 7-in-1 card reader on the left side of the front panel which supports CF1, CF2, CD, MMC, MS, MS Pro, and SM media formats.
The center of the front panel houses the system's power and reset buttons. When the system is offline but receiving power, there is an amber LED which is illuminated. Once the system powers up and comes online, the LED changes to a bright green color. Although bright, Biostar has wisely refrained from using anything too intense.
Glancing at the front of the system, one quickly realizes that Biostar is using a stealthed optical drive bay. Here, there is a fold-down cover that is spring loaded to return to its original position. There is a small button below the cover that actuates the button on the optical drive itself through the use of a tiny plastic lever. To allow for the slight variations in button placement between optical drive vendors, the bulk of the lever's end can be moved from side to side roughly an inch. Overall, we had no issues using the Sony DVD+/-RW drive for testing and were able to open the drive with a single press of the button on every occasion.
Moving our attention to the back of the system, we see a fairly densely populated backplate. Here, there are 2 USB 2.0 ports, an SPDIF audio output, a 1394 Firewire port, Gigabit LAN port, VGA port, serial port, 2 PS/2 ports, and a full array of 7.1 audio outputs. On the left of the system we see two slots allowing for a PCIe and a PCI device. On the opposite side, there is a slot for an additional PCI device should the PCIe device take up two slots or if you're building a multimedia powerhouse with several expansion cards and need additional space. Filling in the remaining space, we have exhaust ports for both the PSU and for the internal blower fan. Overall, Biostar has done a very efficient job of utilizing space on the back of the iDEQ 350G.