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At first glance, Ultra Products’ MicroFly might look like a clone of Aspire’s X-QPack (reviewed October 2005) but it isn’t. The MicroFly is longer by about an inch, which lets you use a standard power supply (although the rig comes with a PSU rated for 400 watts).
The MicroFly is also windowless, and we prefer this design. After all, you should only flaunt your innards if they’re worth flaunting. And let’s be frank: Most of us don’t have the patience to pull off a wiring job worthy of close inspection.
Access to the MicroFly’s internals isn’t quite as easy as with the Qmicra, but you do get a mobo tray. A single 8cm fan mounted in the front sucks air in while a rear-mounted 12cm fan handles exhaust duties. The cooling configuration is better than that of Silverstone’s SG01 (another “medium” formfactor rig, reviewed January 2006), but probably not as good as the Qmicra’s, which pushes more air over the videocard.
In hardware, the MicroFly can handle a two-slot graphics card and up to two hard drives. And the MicroFly’s relatively long body can house a greater assortment of optical drives. Unfortunately, the MicroFly feels just as flimsy as the Qmicra (and Aspire’s X-QPack, for that matter). The front handle doesn’t feel secure when the system is empty, let alone full of hardware.
The real problem the MicroFly and the Qmicra face, however, is that they’re both straddling the SFF and standard tower worlds, awkwardly. Attempts at elongating and widening the SFF design have pushed these formfactors beyond even “medium.” The MicroFly, for example, is more than three inches wider than a standard tower case, and it looks huge. It begs the question: Why not just use a standard tower?
Month Reviewed: September 2006
+ Datsun Roadster 2000: Much improved over Aspire's X-Qpack, the MicroFly even takes a standard PSU.
- ALFA ROMEO SPYDER: A flimsy handle could send your system tumbling.