Review: Hush ATX PC

Complete|Mobile Systems
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April 8, 2004 by Mike Chin

Product
Hush ATX PC
Manufacturer / Supplier
Hush Technologies
Price
Starts at US$1675, depending on options;
US$2,286 as reviewed (Windows XP Pro preinstalled)

Seems like only yesterday that we were oohing and aahing about the Hush Mini-ITX PC but amazingly, it was five months ago. It was around the time that the Hush ATX PC was released: A larger more powerful version of the original fanless Hush M-ITX PC, this time featuring an ATX motherboard and the Intel P4 processor. It is a well-proportioned scale-up; you really need an A/B comparison to see the difference between the two.


Original Hush M-ITX PC with the new Hush ATX PC.

A fully loaded world-travelling sample of the Hush ATX PC made it into the SPCR lab in early March, but alas, it was damaged in transit. Only a half hour of uptime with the ATI 9800 All-in-Wonder VGA card's remote control was seen before the abused unit called it quits. Naturally, this unfortunate incident led to a whole series of time-consuming procedures best forgotten altogether.

Round Two began a week later with a replacement Hush ATX PC sample, one somewhat less loaded than the first:

- Intel Pentium 4 FSB800/HT 2.8Ghz processor
- FIC P4-856PE Max motherboard
- 512 MB RAM
- Teac Slimline CD-RW / DVD Combo drive
- Windows XP Professional - English
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 120 GB Hard Drive
- Radeon 9600PRO 128MB DVI/CRT/S-Video out
- Front Panel USB/Firewire/Audio I/O board

Here is a photo of this sample.

Here are the general specifications for the Hush ATX PC.

HUSH ATX PC SPECIFICATIONS
Dimensions
W440mm x D380mm x H99mm (incl. Feet)
Construction
Aluminum alloy up to 15 mm thick. Antivibrational
Colour
Silver or Black
Front Panel
Power Button, HDD LED,Optional I/R, 2 x Fire-wire, 2 x USB, 2 x 3.5mm Audio Jacks
Rear Panel
ATX Plate Mount, 2 x Riser Card Slots, Power Socket, Additional slot for external USB/Fire-wire connectors
Weight
Approx. 15kgs
Power Supply
Fanless 240W Max Output, ATX Spec 2.01 Standard. Auto-switching 100v-240VAC (82% efficient)
Motherboard
ATX, M-ATX
AGP/PCI Expansion
Either 1 AGP slot and 1 PCI slot Or 2 x PCI slots
Optical Drive
1 x Slim-line Optical Drive (Optional)
Hard Drive
1 x 3.5” Drive Bay or 2 x 2.5” Drive Bay
Working Environment
Max 36°C ambient air temperature

Other CPU options are available, starting with a Celeron P4-2.0.

It should be noted that there are three sizes of Hush PC products:

  • The original smaller lower profile M-ITX version.
  • This larger ATX version.
  • A third AVX Music Server version, which looks like the same width and depth as the ATX, but not as tall, giving it a slimmer profile. This unit is probably based on P4-ATX, though the Hush web site is not clear about it.

Here is a comparative photo, showing (from left) the VoodooPC using a Zalman TNN500A fanless case (~100 liters), an early ARM Systems / Evercase 4252 case (~40 liters), the Hush ATX PC (17 liters), the Hush M-ITX PC (7.4 liters), a recent Shuttle PC (10 liters), and the Mappit A4F (3.8 liters).


Left to right: Goliath to David

BASICS

The Hush ATX PC is a fanlessly-cooled PC designed for desktop use. The hefty all-aluminum case is its cooling system, with massive heatsinks on both sides, much like a stereo power amplifier.

Its key features allow easy acceptance and integration into living spaces, with existing electronic or entertainment equipment, with both the man and woman of the house, or in executive offices that call for more style than the standard PC box:

  • Smaller size
  • Low noise
  • High style
  • No sacrifice in computing power

Judging by the existence of a "medical" version, the Hush PC has obviously tapped markets in the health care field as well. One can well imagine them in hospitals or doctors' offices where the smaller size and reduced noise would be welcome.

DETAILS

Details are nicely thought out on this hefty 15 kg PC. Handling Tip: Because of its high weight, I found it easiest to carry the unit by grasping the front and back, rather than the sides. This seems to put less stress on the case. It's also the technique recommended for similarly constructed audio hi-fi amplifiers.


Front panel connectors for USB, Firewire and audio symmetrically placed beneath CD drive door.


Chunky machined aluminum feet with rubber centers. Note the ventilation slots; the draw in air for convection cooling.


Lit high quality power button, heatsink and machined bolt detail.


The side view: It's all heatsink fins.


The back panel sports three PCI slots: The one on the left for additional sound card connections is just a remote plate, not a real PCI slot. The VGA/AGP on lower right and an additional unused PCI slot above it are plugged into a riser card that has both an AGP and a PCI slot. Note the AC input in the center: No brick PS box for this Hush; the PSU is internal.



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