AOpen XC Cube EX915: 775-socket SFF barebones

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The interior is just like that in the EZ65: Neat, tidy and well laid out. Extensive cable management with plastic zap straps and cable sleeving routed along the metal channels keeps clutter to a minimum. The removable drive cage makes it especially handy to get access to everything directly.

Tidy layout and great cable management for ease of installation.

As in most SFF systems, the PCI slot is closest to the CPU and the PCIe video card slot is closest to the edge of the board. There is a simple physical reason for this arrangement: It's only on the edge that any of the larger AGP boards can be physically accommodated, due to space restrictions. The drives in front get in the way otherwise. This location also allows more direct access to outside air for GPU cooling.

PCIe video card slot is closest to the edge of the board.

The first step is to remove the drive cage assembly by undoing two screws, slipping it back, then lifting it off. Much of the board is then completely accessible. Note that there is only one parallel IDE connector, which is apparently dictated by the 915 chipset.

Removing the drive cage gives access for CPU, heatsink and memory installation.

Another view without drive cage.

The drive cage holds all the drives. Ideally the drives should be installed in the cage, and then the populated cage mounted in the case. The external 5.25" and 3.5" drives should not be screwed tight so that you can get the alignment just right before doing so.

Cage for all the drives. A thumbscrew allows removal of the bottom sideways HDD even after installation in the case.

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