Giga-Byte G-MAX TA4 Mini PC Review - A Look at the System
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As I mentioned before, the first thing that impressed my about this system was its sheer size. The design garnered more than a few “oohs” and “aahs” from some of the Dev Hardware staff, including an exited “Ooh… that’s cool!” from “Cardboard” Nathan, a staff member and DevH contributing writer. In fact, as you can see in the specifications, the TA4 is listed as being 64(D) x 213(W) x 234(H) mm. That puts it at about two thirds the width of a PlayStation 2, and just about as high. Due to its small size, I was able to fit it comfortably right next to my monitor on my desk.
Its small size makes it perfect for anyone who needs a computer, doesn’t have a lot of space, and doesn’t have either the capital or inclination to spend the money on a similarly powered laptop.
The system’s external layout is pretty straight forward. The system has a somewhat bulky power button at the top of the box, as well as its Slim CD holder. The lower half includes all the most commonly used system features, including an audio port (for headphones), a MIC, two USB 2 ports, and a PCMCIA slot. Overall the front design is quite comfortable to work with. My only complaint was with the center-snap CD tray, found on most laptops. Due to the vertical orientation of the CD-ROM, it made it a bit uncomfortable to load the disk (the computer kept tipping over every time I loaded one). Although the original setup doesn’t come with an optical disk drive of any sort, this is something that prospective users might want to keep in mind when dealing with this thing.
The back of the system is laid out in a pretty much a standard manner, so there’s nothing much to note. I was a bit surprised to see the native use of a DVI (LCD display) connector, but after thinking about it for a second (and finding the adaptor in the box), I realized that it made more sense than a VGA (for CRT monitors) connector. This unit is targeted more towards corporate uses, and most large corporations today use LCD monitors for the sake of power consumption (besides, they’re easier on the eyes, look better, and take up less space). In addition, if you’re in the market for a space saving PC, you’re probably already rid of your old, bulky CRT.
Other than the monitor connector, the rest of the system is a standard affair, including PS/2 connectors for the mouse and keyboard, two USB ports, FireWire port, onboard LAN (RJ45), S Video (TV-Out), SPDIF Out, COM 2 port, power plug for the external power supply, and system fan. Giga-Byte has done a great job with creating a plainly laid out system that’s comfortable to work with. (Note: I’m sure that you’ve noticed the large “Pull” knob on the side of the unit. I’ll cover that later. In short, it’s what lets you pull out the system motherboard from the casing.
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