Full System Testing with the Winstones and Final Thoughts
PC Magazine's Winstone Test Suite is an excellent benchmarking tool for testing the CPU, memory, and overall system performance. Content Creation Winstone focuses on common media intensive tasks, while Business Winstone assesses general workstation application performance. Below is a breakdown of each package's software complement that is used to issue an overall score when complete.
|Content Creation 2004 v1.0.1||Business Winstone 2004 v1.0.1|
Once again, even in real-world testing with the Winstone's, the scores were very close. Here we see the ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe top the Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro by 1.5 points in Content Creation 2004. Conversely, Business Winstone 2004 leaned ever-so-slightly in favor of the Soltek unit, although it was effectively a tie.
When the first mini PCs to arrive started to take shape, there were only a few players in the fledgling market. Today, the user has choices available from a broad range of manufacturers. While variety is always a good thing, it does make the decision making process a bit more daunting as you need to filter through many more options before making the final choice. In the end, if an Intel solution is what you are searching for, we think the Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro deserves to be on your short list.
From a performance perspective, the QBIC EQ3501-Pro offered competitive scores, showing that even though it may be small, it has a big heart. In each round of tests, the mini PC managed to compete on the same level as full-sized 915G board from ASUS. We were a bit disappointed by its overclocking potential, but from a stock perspective, this unit is pretty snappy.
When we look at the design of the system, we were relatively impressed. The front of the unit is elegant and clean and the mirrored finish was a nice touch. While the drive cage may prove to be a bit of a struggle with certain CD/DVD-ROM drives, it is workable and the added ability to fit a second CD/DVD-ROM was great. The four SATA ports may seem to be overkill since there is room for only two hard drives, but since SATA DVD drives have started to hit the market, you'll be ready if needed.
With excellent performance and a modern design, we walked away from this QBIC EQ3501-Pro with a good feeling. We would love to see a heat-pipe solution with future models to help get fan noise under control, but as it stands now, this is a nice design that will surely evolve over time.
We give the Soltek QBIC EQ3501-Pro a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of...