Well, that was a bit of a let-down!
The box itself is great! The RAM I'd bought, however, is not.
I tried installing pfSense and was getting all kinds of weird crashes during the installer's boot process. Crash dumps, kernel panics, the lot.
I tried a few flash drives and re-wrote the image files from my PC and my Mac. Each time it seemed to crash in some different spectacular way. Eventually I found my high-quality Patriot flash drive and it still failed.
So then I wrote a memtest86 installation to a flash drive and booted that up. RAM errors galore.
I've got another stick arriving tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have more luck then. In 25+ years of building PCs I've never had a bad DIMM (or even SIMM back in the day!). I suppose it was about time!
Still, here's a quick mini-review of the Qotom box:
It's solid. Really solid. The fully-metal case is great. I checked the PSU with my multimeter and the voltage was spot-on. The mounting bracket, designed to attach to the VESA mount on the back of a monitor, is a great idea. The computer comes with four metal stand-off screws which you screw into the base of the PC. These stand-offs have a little 'nub' at the top that slot into four keyholes in the bracket. So the machine is easily attached and detached from it. I'm planning on screwing the mount to the inside wall of the cupboard under the stairs, alongside a gigabit switch and a multi-way mains extension. The bracket will also provide a nice bit of airflow underneath the case.
I had a nose around the American Megatrends BIOS. Seems to have all the requisite weirdly-named knobs to twiddle.
The USB ports are rather close to each other. So if you've got a chunky flash drive, you'll need a USB extension cable to fit it in beside the keyboard plug.
The power button doubles as a power LED in the usual retina-searing blue. There's also a green power LED on the other side of the machine which is a bit calmer.
One last point on disassembly: You only need to undo the four screws on the bottom, NOT the four on the sides. If you do all eight, it rapidly disassembles itself into lots of pieces and you need at least two-and-a-half hands free to keep everything lined-up to get it back together again.
So, until tomorrow!