The M9000 inside the case is no ordinary
EPIA M board - it has had the standard heatsink and fan removed
and a meaty heatsink and heatpipe arrangement fitted to the
board by pushpins (and thermal paste no doubt) instead. It
would be a non-trivial (and warranty voiding) procedure to
fit this ourselves, so luckily Hush have done it for us.
A better view of the rear of the case,
which has a wealth of outputs - in direct contrast to the
front of the case. 3 kinds of video output, 6 channels of
sound, 4 USB 2.0 outputs and more... all the connectors the
EPIA M motherboard has with a PCI panel fitted.
Power is provided with the ubiquitous
110-240V, 55W laptop "brick" power supply that also
drives the Cubid cases. In a PC, there is a large current
draw on startup from most components, but 55W is acceptable
when a slimline optical drive is used in place of a full size
unit. The advantage of the "brick" is worldwide
compatibility, and of course silent operation.
The slimline combo drive and matching front.
We tried to take a decent
photo of the gorgeous blue power switch, but this is the best
we could manage. Our camera got stolen at CeBIT, so we had
to borrow an unfamiliar one. We continue a fine tradition
and blame our tools.
The case has four substantial rubber ended
aluminium feet - very welcome.
The Hush PC is whisper quiet. With a monitor
unplugged, the only way we could tell it was on was by looking
at the blue LED on the power switch. Even on startup, there
was no clunking or whirring. If we put our ear directly up
to the side of the case we could just about hear the hard
drive. Even the slimline drive hardly made a noise. The case
gets moderately warm during operation, but of course it would.
The included EPIA M9000 motherboard is powerful
enough to playback DVDs and most DivXes, has 6 channel sound
and can output to a TV and VGA monitor. Apart from the heatsink
modification it is a standard M9000 and has the same strengths
and weaknesses as the retail board. We'd like better Linux
support, improved TV output quality, dedicated graphics memory
and MPEG4 decoding in hardware, but these are specific issues
with the EPIA M boards in general and not with the Hush. The
Nehemiah version may improve things slightly, but it will
be some months before VIA release a board that can playback
*all* video content without dropped frames or losing sound
sync occasionally. Those (admittedly rare) AC3 high bitrate
DivXes need yet more processing muscle and will have to be
viewed on that noisy Athlon or Pentium for now, and we won't
even attempt to play Planetside on this machine when it is
The Hush must be the best looking PC to date.
Even in gold it looked excellent - we just need to find a
gold-enamel monitor, keyboard and mouse to match. We don't
expect to hear of many people "modding" this case
- the only way you could mod this is by encrusting it with
For 95% of standard PC tasks the Hush Mini-ITX
PC performs admirably - office applications, file and webserving,
DVD and MP3 playback all can be achieved for the first time
in complete silence. The case is airtight - no dust can disturb
the components and there are no fans inside to eventually
clog up and get even louder.
The Hush has set a new benchmark in silent
computing. Owning a piece of history comes at a price - it's
not cheap, but then such things rarely are. From now on all
quiet PCs will be compared to it.
Hush Mini-ITX PC Gallery
All the pictures in this review and more now
showing in the Gallery
*Shameless plug* You
can buy the Hush from
the Mini-ITX Online Store!