Biostar keeps pace in SFF race with BTX chassis

— 4:15 AM on June 3, 2004

COMPUTEX — After seeing Shuttle's new XPC models, I thought the competition would have a difficult time keeping up with all the innovations. However, Biostar is proving me wrong, showing off a robust range of revised and brand-new IDEQ systems. The existing models, like the 200P, are being replaced with tweaked and updated versions, like the nForce3 250Gb-based IDEQ 210P with a slick-looking new front face.

The most exciting developments are in Biostar's new chassis design. These new models sport HTPC features, including a front-panel display and a control logic card capable of playing music, DVDs, and the like without booting the system into Windows.

Most strikingly, Biostar has developed a very nifty hinged chassis opening mechanism, lovingly dubbed the "shark mouth."

This ingenious arrangement allows easy access into the guts of the case—better than anything I've seen in any SFF system. This new chassis is, like Shuttle's P series, based on a slightly modified version of Intel's BTX specification. Unlike Shuttle, Biostar has retained BTX's shrouded, front-to-rear cooling channel. Also, Biostar expects to deliver Athlon 64 systems based on this form factor, with the necessary accommodations. Like Biostar's current IDEQ's the new chassis can swallow a pair of 3.5" internal drives, but the external 3.5" bay has been replaced with a vertical set of flash card slots located on the left side of the unit's front face.

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