Lugging a 45lbs gaming PC to a LAN party isn't a whole lot of fun, especially since you have to bring it back home. Small Form factor PCs (SFF) is one solution, and given a lot of manufacturers produce SFFs with modern day parts, using one of these starts to look much more attractive. Of course, the portability comes at the cost of expansion opportunity, which is why todays SFFs usually come loaded with every integrated peripheral included.
FIC aren't new to the SFF market, as they've released no less than (though many are either redeigned versions of previous models). For the enthusiast, the Ice Cube series features a more eye-catching design than their other SFFs, and their first model, the VG61, sported the 845GE chipset. Of course, by todays standards, such a SFF wouldn't be that impressive right now.
Thus, the was born. The new Ice Cube has a modern Springdale based motherboard, with plenty of integration packed into it. The case design screams "look at me" (or "my god, that's tacky" if you're the more conservative type), and includes a handle that makes transport as easy as unplugging the rear cables and walking off.
Intel Socket 478 Pentium 4 Processor
Intel Socket 478 Celeron Processor
800MHz Intel NetBurst micro-architecture bus
Hyper-Threading Technology supported
Intel 82865G + ICH5 chipsets
Dual Channel DDR consist of two DDR DIMM sockets
Support DDR400/333 DIMMs up to 2 GB
Integrated Graphics controller in 865G GMCH
Support extent AGP 8X slot
AC'97 2.2 Compliant
PCI X 1, AGP X 1
Realtek RTL8100BL 10/100 Base-T Ethernet controller
Full Duplex supported, WFM 2.0 Compliant
Back Panel I/O Output
SPDIF -OUT optical connector
2 USB 2.0 connectors, 1 RJ-45 LAN port
2 1394 vertical connector
1 fast serial ports, 1 D-type 15-pin VGA connector
Line-in, MIC-in, Speaker-out
Self-Defined @ 262 mm (L) x 180 mm (W), 6 Layers
Packaging and Contents
The FIC Ice Cube IC-VL67 is packaged in a white box slightly larger than the SFF itself. The Cube is wrapped in plastic, surrounded by a good amount of packing foam to protect it during shipping. I found the box design to be fairly amusing, displaying generic business-type people with the Ice Cube, as given the features, this SFF would certainly appeal more to the enthusiast market.
There are also two small boxes, neatly secured by the foam that contains some of the extras, including a copper core heatsink and LED fan.
A motherboard manual, driver and software CD are included, as well as round IDE and floppy cables, a SATA cable and power splitter, zip ties and plenty of screws. All the round cables are point to point, and in the case of PATA, the cables included will allow up to two IDE devices to be installed, though you can easily swap that for a regular IDE cable.
FIC Ice Cube IC-VL67 - The Case
The Ice Cube IC-VL67 chassis is constructed fully out of aluminum and clear acrylic panels. It's about the same size as Shuttle's XPC, though quite a bit larger than the MSI MEGA PC. The Ice Cube measures 11.5"(L)x7.3"(W)x7.8"(H), which isn't very large, but the interior is quite easy to work in, especially since FIC's case choice has a few functional features for those who like to swap parts often, which we'll discuss shortly.
Though the case is an all aluminum design, there are a number of acrylic panels placed on top of it. It's a matter of personal preference if the acrylic panel on front is something you'll like, but personally, I find it a nice touch. It also serves to protect the aluminum front of the case from scratches, and although I haven't found replacement panels being sold, you can still remove it if it bothers you.
On the front of the Ice Cube, there are two external bays; a 5 1/4" for optical drives, and a 3 1/2" for floppy, ZIP drives, or even a card reader. You can forgo occupying the 3 1/2" bay to leave it available for a second hard drive should you choose to go that route.
The power and reset buttons are placed opposite of one another just below the 3 1/2" bay. Both of the buttons are also metal, matching the case, and are exposed through the acrylic cutouts. Between the buttons are the HDD and power LEDS, which are quite bright.
At the bottom portion of the front panel is the fron IO ports and cutouts for case ventilation. These holes are all the vents present on the Ice Cube, and although more holes would allow more air circulation, there would also be more noise. For your front IO options, there is a SPDIF In-connection, 5.1 analogue speaker connections, a Mic-In, two USB 2.0 ports, and a FireWire connection.
On the back of the Ice Cube, you have your rear IO connections, PCI and AGP backpanels, the power connection, a PSU on/off switch, and two fan exits. The PCI and AGP slots have an additional door to ease the installation and removal of cards that can be raised or lowered by tightening or untightening a screw.
The Ice Cube IC-VL67 doesn't give you one, but two side windows. One case window gives you a clear view of the AGP card, and the other window will give you a clear shot of the LED fan on the CPU heatsink. These side windows are secured by thumbscrews.
Since the entire side paneling has an acrylic cover, there isn't really anything to hold on to to pull the panel backwards to remove it. Now, the panel isn't secured so tight that you can't just put some force with your hand to pull it off, but the Ice Cube's window extends past the front of the case. Simply push the front towards the back, and off comes the side panel.