The system looks a little bit different from those Shuttle barebone systems that we are already familiar with (see our review called Shuttle XPC: Small Form-Factor PCs with Big Capabilities), even though this new system is also design as a “cubic”. The dimensions of this system are also very similar to what we have already seen. However, the changes have first of all touched upon the front panel design. Here are a few pictures for you, compare them:
Of course, Shuttle decided that the today’s user doesn’t need the floppy-drive any more and even preserved no spot for it on the front panel. To “make up” for the absent floppy the system is now equipped with a 6-in-1 card reader, which supports CompactFlash Type I and Type II, Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick (MS), MultiMedia Card (MMC) and SmartMedia (SM). Well, this is a really worthy compensation, I should say, especially since all operations including BIOS reflashing can now be done with a CD-disk or any sort of Flash-cards or USB-Flash drives, and the floppy-drives become less and less demanded. On the contrary, digital cameras and other devices supporting various Flash-cards become more and more popular, which totally justifies for the implementation of a card-reader in a contemporary system like Shuttle SN85G4.
I would also like to stress that the front panel of the new Shuttle barebone is no longer removable, so you will not be able to change the exterior looks of your new SN85G4 system that much. However, the system already looks very stylish, and I personally didn’t feel inclined to change the color of the panel at all.
In fact the black surface has one pretty bad drawback. The thing is that every time you touch it your noticeable and not very nicely-looking fingerprints remain there. So, if you are going to get a system like that you should keep this fact in mind.
Now let’s take a look at the key technical characteristics of the product:
- Supports Socket 754 AMD Athlon 64 processors;
- Features a mainboard based on NVIDIA nForce3 150 chipset;
- Two DDR DIMM slots supporting up to 2GB DDR200/DDR266/DDR333/DDR400 SDRAM (memory controller is built into the CPU);
- AGP 8x slot and one PCI slot;
- 6-channel AC97 Realtek ALC 650 audio codec with SPDIF In and Output support;
- IEEE1394 controller - VIA VT6307;
- One 3.5" internal bay for the hard disk drive, one 5.25" external bay for the external optical drive;
- Integrated 10/100Mbit Ethernet controller - Realtek 8201BL;
- 240W power supply unit equipped with PFC (Power Factor Correction);
- Four USB 2.0 ports (two on the front panel and two on the case rear panel);
- Two IEEE1394 ports (one on the front panel and one on the case rear panel);
- Dimensions: 295 (depth) x 200 (width) x 180 (height) mm.
The package also contained a cooling solution based on the Heat Pipe technology and called I.C.E (Integrated Cooling Engine). Moreover, I have to point out (even though it has already been mentioned in the specs list above) that the mainboard of SN85G4 has no integrated graphics core, that is why you will also need an AGP or PCI graphics card to have the system running.