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Underneath the front bezel, the front panel is surprisingly perforated with holes.
Did we miss an intake vent on the bezel? A closer inspection of the front bezel confirmed
that there were no hidden intake vents.
The front panel is well ventilated. Too bad there's no vents in the bezel.
The bezel has slots for a memory card reader below the optical drives, but
the actual hardware is not included.
The layout of the airflow does not get any less confusing with the cover removed.
The one useful intake vent is located directly beside the fan in the power supply.
This means that, although the power supply gets fresh air and should not ramp
up much, the rest of the system must fight with the power supply for fresh air.
The system fan at the top of the case does not cool any essential components.
The CPU is the closest heat-critical part, but the included heatsink sprays
exhaust heat in all directions, not just towards the system fan.
As noted, there is very little airflow around the expansion slots. Hot, passive
graphics cards are not recommended, since heat has nowhere to go once it comes
off the surface of the card. Cards with rear-mounted heatsinks are also problematic,
since the power supply does not give much clearance above the expansion slots.
There is room for a single 3.5" hard drive mounted sideways at the front
of the system. Like the expansion slots, there is little potential for airflow
around the drive, although the exhaust heat from the processor heatsink should
provide a small amount of airflow to the inward-facing side of the drive.
The power supply must be removed to access the CPU socket.
The motherboard uses a proprietary form factor.
As expected of a barebones system, the motherboard comes preinstalled with
all of the cables in place. Cables are kept out of the way with plastic straps
but are not especially neat. Cables from the power supply sprout just above
the CPU heatsink, and there were several times when the cables accidentally
got caught in the CPU fan. A large bundle of power and drive cables travels
along the top edge of the motherboard just above the CPU heatsink, which also
needed to be kept out of the way.
The northbridge has a passive aluminum heatsink, and the southbridge survives
without a heatsink at all.
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