Foxconn e-bot Small Form Factor PC

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Summary and Conclusion

Benchmark Summary: Due in large part to the single channel memory that the SiS661FX chipset supports, the Foxconn e-bot didn't fare as well against two other Pentium 4 driven SFF PCs such as the Shuttle SB61G2 and Epox eX5-320S.  Both of these systems are based around the i865G chipset, which utilizes dual memory channels, providing much more bandwidth for applications to use.  When testing benchmarks solely based on CPU performance, the results were usually similar, with 3DMark03 being the sole exception.  In all memory intensive testing, including gaming and business related applications, the e-bot generally fell behind the other systems anywhere from 5-10%.

 

Honestly, the Foxconn e-bot does so many things well, that it's a shame that its performance isn't up at the same levels as other Small Form Factor PCs that are in the same price range.  It's quite clear that Foxconn knows how to build a unique device, and there are design ideas used with the e-bot that will undoubtedly find their way into other manufacturer's plans.  Removing the power supply unit provides needed space within such small confines while also keeping heat buildup to a relative minimum.  The e-bot was also one of the first mini-pcs we've seen to come with a pre-installed slimline drive.  The drive serves as a DVD-ROM as well as CD burner, and is much thinner than the typical drive that a DIY builder might have added.  Again, space is always an issue with SFF PCs, so having a single drive that serves multiple purposes is a definite plus.

CD/MP3 playback, while not necessarily unique, is also a welcome addition although we wonder how often we would use this feature over playing music from a standard CD player.  We much preferred the way Epox handled this idea with the eX5-320S, where we could sample MP3 tracks from the hard drive rather than being limited to using only the CD/DVD ROM drive. 

The Foxconn e-bot is priced slightly higher than we might have originally expected, finding it currently selling at about $350 on most major retailers.  This price is somewhat mitigated when you consider that adding in your own DVD and/or CD burner would cost an additional fifty dollars or so.  For performance freaks, this system might not necessarily be what you're looking for.  For just about everyone else, however, the e-bot is an elegantly designed small form factor system, suitable for everyday computing needs.  We're giving the Foxconn e-bot an 8 on the Hot Hardware Heat Meter...

 

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