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Shuttle XPC SN45G Nforce 2 400 Ultra

Review A high end AMD thingie
Tue Feb 03 2004, 10:58
AFTER WE tested the Shuttle Nforce 2 machine a while back, we found ourselves with a chance to spend some time with the Shuttle SN45G unit that uses Nvidia's latest chipset for the Athlon XP and earlier. It uses Socket A, and that won't disappear anytime soon.

Shuttle also took the K8 road with its Athlon 64 solution but at this time, for many budgets, Socket A still remains primary choice. Don't forget that you can buy an Athlon 2500+ for around €100. This machine actually uses a discrete chipset that doesn't have any integrated graphics so means you will have to spend a few more bucks to get yourself graphics for this system.

alt='launchbox'The whole system looks better than the SN41G2, as the SN45G case is Abhinavagupta'd up, and it looks more attractive, while the motherboard looks very similar to the preview board. You have two memory slots that you should fill with two memory modules because Nvidia's dual channel memory architecture that simply works better when both are populated.

This unit can use 400 MHz FSB CPUs, which means that you will be able to plug all existing Athlon CPUs up to the 3200+. The AGP slot needs a graphic card bunging in, but there's another PCI slot that you can use for expansion.

The lunch box gives space and provides enough power for one hard drive and CD/DVD device that works just fine. As this is a very small case, it might get a little crowded inside.

The machine ran a Radeon 9800PRO with an external power plug fine, and with two Corsair DDR 400 memories. We send our compliments to the designers of the power supply unit, capable of powering all these devices.

The cooling system is based on good old Heath Pipe marchitecture that seems to be quieter then before, but still we would like to have it even quieter, as Shuttle sees this machine as sitting in your living room and you don't want Granny Abazovic disturbed by a relentless whirring noise. Still this is a good step forward.

The BIOS is significantly improved in this system, letting you overclock and monitor it, just like a high end retail mobo.

Shuttle did a good job here since you can shut up your PC's face with fan control and at the same time monitor all voltages and temperatures. You can adjust FSB, memory timings, memory frequency, voltages and even the CPU multiplier. You will be able to do some overclocking with this system but I would not expect miracles since the heat pipe is not a conjuror or an avatar.

Features
This lunch box has two USB ports at the front and two at the rear. Also, up front, there is a very useful phone and speaker and microphone outputs as well as a small Firewire connecter. Only thing that you might miss is a parallel port, so we're talking USB printers here.

Also at the back are two extra Firewire ports, networking, a serial mouse, a keyboard socket and a PS/2 port for Mr Mousy. SPDIF IO is also at the rear.

For this machine we used:

Athlon 3000+ FSB333
Shuttle XPC SN45G bare bone
Epox 8HDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400 board
2x256 MB Corsair PC3500 DDR 400 CL2
WD 80GB JB HDD with 8 MB of cache
Sapphire Radeon 9700 PRO

Results
We decided just to focus on the chipset and motherboard performance of desktop ATX board since that is only solution that could match this XCP at the time of testing. As you can see from the results, Shuttle is very close to Epox performance which means that we are talking about high quality design motherboard and system. This will be fast enough for just about anything and at the same time won't take up much space and won't be too noisy.

Conclusion
This machine is a great platform for Athlon XP CPU and if you want XPC and want to be able to plug FSB 400 CPUs up to 3200+ this is definitely a system that you should consider. If you play games you have to upgrade the card anyway and plug something that will offer you decent performance. SPDIF sound will let you connect your nice 5.1 speakers to this machine. The BIOS will let you overclock your CPU which gives this PC a new dimension. We set 3000+ to 3200+ and gained some serious speed notches and a 400MHz system bus counts in the performance game. Who know? Maybe Shuttle plans to introduce KT880 dual DDR VIA chipset but we still don't know about it. With an AIW card you can turn this little box into a real multimedia system. It's highly desirable for people that like nice small systems that will fit in every home and office and still give some overclocking flexibility. µ

Quake 3
640x480
1024x768
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
317.8
302.1
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
318.2
303.7
Aquamark
640x480
1024x768
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
104.3
90.9
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
104.5
91.2
Serious Sam 2
640x480
1024x768
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
148.1
111.1
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
150.5
111.8
3Dmark 2001SE
Nature
1024x768
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
101.5
15429
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
102.3
15524
UT 2003 Fly
640x480
1024x768
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
217.4
209.5
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
218.9
209.5
UT 2003 Bot
640x480
1024x768
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
78
78.3
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
78
78,5
PC Mark 2002
CPU
Memory
HDD
Shuttle SN45G Nforce 2 Ultra 400
6824
6246
942
Epox 8RDA3+ Nforce 2 Ultra 400
6901
6364
1022
Sandra 2002
Shuttle SN45G
Epox 8RDA3+
 
CPU
8075
8089
 
3233
3234
 
Memory
3115
3161
 
2938
3019
 
Multimedia
11941
12009
 
12603
12892
 

 

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