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The interior is very similar to previous AOpen SFFs: 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 good cable management for ease of installation.
As you can see in the photo below, the PCI slot is closest to the CPU and the AGP 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.
AGP video card slot is closest to the edge of the board.
The above photo also shows the HSF on the CPU socket. The fin spacing is very wide, which is a clear sign of optimization for low airflow cooling. AOpen engineers were definitely thinking about the low thermal output of the Pentium M.
Socket 478 HS retention bracket eliminate the need to create a custom HS mount.
Note thermal sensor for Smart Fan control in center of CPU socket and chunky NB passive heatsink.
The drive cage is identical to the one used in previous AOpen XC Cube systems. It 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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