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Birdwatching
Now that we've seen the specs, let's take a look at the Condor.

Here's a general overview shot. The Condor is both taller and deeper than a Shuttle cube, and has a rounder, sleeker look. Take note of the silver tab in the middle of the top; I'll talk more about it later. The bumpy looking area behind the tab is actually an exhaust grill for the processor fan.

Here's a head-on shot comparing the Condor to an SB65G2. The Condor definitely goes for a different look, but it wears it well.

Here's a close-up of the bottom half of the Condor's front face. As you can see, the bottom section is a door which folds down to reveal two USB ports, a headphone jack and an optical digital out. Above that, you'll notice that the rounded black accent on the left has an eject logo on it. This is actually the eject button for the optical drive. The middle mirrored panel is hinged as well, and opens to the right. Obviously, the silver button in the middle is the power button. There is no reset button.

This is what the drive area looks like with both doors open. I've propped the optical drive cover open for this picture. Normally, the cover would swing open when the drive tray pushed it out of the way, then snap closed when the tray is retracted.

One important thing to note here is that, with the door open, the eject button on the front of the door loses contact with the buttons on the optical drive. As a result, the only way to close the drive is to push on the tray so it will retract. This is a factor because some optical drives will close the tray when you push on them, and some will not. If you have one of the latter drives, you probably don't want to use it in this system. You can pull the drive cover open farther and reach in to touch the drive's close button manually, but having to do that would certainly get old after, say, the first time.

You can see that the mirrored panel actually covers the 3.5" bay, along with the power and hard drive lights.

The middle panel is actually semi-reflective and semi-transparent, so you can still see the lights when it's closed. With the panel open, the power light has a soft glow that's a nice change from laser-bright blue LEDs.

Speaking of lasers, the digital out on the Condor has a spring-loaded door instead of the more traditional plastic plug. A side effect of this is that, with the bottom panel open, you can see angry-looking red laser light leaking around the edges of the door. It looks like a tiny little gateway to hell. Or perhaps I've just been playing too much Doom 3.