ECS i-Buddie XP Desknote Review
Exterior Features Continued
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective's website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.What I just showed you on the previous page was all pretty normal information that you would expect to find on every laptop computer or desknote. Some of the other items are little more unique and only found on high-end notebook PCs.
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The left side of the desknote shows us the ventilation ports on the i-Buddie XP. The farthest to the left is the exhaust for the processor fan and heatsink. With a fast Athlon XP processor, you can expect to have quite a lot heat coming out of this corner of the unit. So hot in fact, that it actually made “lap” use a bit uncomfortable on the leg – while it wasn’t burning out by any means, it was noticeable. The other exhaust port is for cooling the motherboard voltage regulator components. It remains cooler than the CPU exhaust. Also on this side are the 56 K modem port and the power-in port for the AC adaptor to connect to.
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On the back of the i-Buddie XP there is yet another exhaust port of the Athlon XP processor heatsink. With as much heat as the Athlon XP processors produce, ventilating the system was the key concern of the engineering team. Also on the back we have the integrate network port, an S-video output port, a standard 15-pin VGA output, a parallel port, an infrared port and both an input and output audio port.
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The right side of the desknote holds a lot of the unit’s most interesting features. First, the optical drive on our review unit was a standard CD-ROM drive. ECS is reporting that the retail versions of the unit will come with DVD-ROM drives and will offer the DVD/CD-RW drives as an upgrade option. There is an IEEE 1394 connector (Fire Wire) as well as four USB 2.0 connectors. With this combination, the i-Buddie XP has one of the most advanced connections suite of any motherboard we have seen, let alone notebook. There is also a standard Kensington locking mechanism on the right side to attach corded locks.
If you are this far in the review and are wondering where the battery for the unit is, you probably aren’t alone. As the ECS i-Buddie XP is a desknote unit and not a notebook unit, there is no internal battery at all. This is based on the fact that there is little to no room available inside the unit at all for anything more and that addition of the battery heat along with the heat from the standard desktop components may have been too much. So, powering your desknote will require you to have either a external battery or an external power supply. Currently, the power supply is the only thing that ECS will be providing with the unit and the battery will cost extra. While we didn’t have one to test, ECS quoted me as saying the battery would be able to provide at least 1.5 hours of use.
Of course, because it would be an external battery, there would be more of a hindrance to using one than on a standard notebook. It is because of this that the i-Buddie series of desknotes is not really meant for the true mobile market. You won’t be plugging this one up on the plane or on the bus ride unless you want the external power supply to dangle at your side or in your bag. But, if you want to take the same computer to home and work and on vacation, the desknotes are a great solution.
The external power supply that is provided with the ECS unit is actually quite powerful. Unfortunately this power means that a lot of heat is generated in the unit – so much so that the power supply actually has a fan in it to exhaust the heat that is created. This is not something that you want to be holding on your lap for any amount of time!