If this is the first time you see the new cubic design from Shuttle, you must be surprised. We have already had a chance to play with the new cubics from Shuttle when we reviewed a solution for Athlon 64 processors (see our article called First Athlon 64 Barebone System Reviewed: Shuttle SN85G4 for details). So, we didn’t expect to find anything new in our today’s hero. We were wrong: Shuttle astonished us once again. The front panel of the Shuttle ST61G4 is decorated with a mirror surface. So far, only Soltek has been using mirror front surfaces in its SFF PCs, and now Shuttle has decided truly very beautiful until you touch it: dirt, dust and fingerprints are all too visible on it. Shuttle took care of that, though, and included a soft cloth to wipe the spots off your Shuttle ST61G4 front panel.
The front panel of the box carries two USB 2.0 ports, one IEEE1394 port, a headphones output, microphone and line inputs. Of course, there are also Power and Reset buttons, a blue Power indicator and an orange HDD activity LED. Note that you can’t reach the Reset button with your finger, because it is small and sunken. There are also slits for the flash card reader, which replaces the 3.5” FDD in all new SFF PCs from Shuttle.
So, Shuttle thinks the advanced user of today doesn’t need a floppy drive anymore, there is no spot for it in the front panel. The “6-in-1” card reader is a kind of compensation supporting flash cards of the following formats: CompactFlash Type I and II, Secure Digital, MemoryStick, MultiMedia Card and SmartMedia. I think that’s a nice substitution, since all operations (including BIOS update and system boot-up) can be done with a CD, flash card or USB flash-drive. Thus, the good old floppy drive is not so necessary nowadays. Moreover, digital cameras and other devices that rely on flash cards as storage media are becoming ever more popular every day.
You also access the 5.25” bay from the front panel. The bay is for an optical drive, and you may find it difficult to pick up a device of the color to match the color of the case: unlike other manufacturers, Shuttle doesn’t cover the bay with a lid or anything like that.
Let’s now take a look at the back of the ST61G4:
We have the back panel of the PSU here with a connector for the power cable and a small fan. The back panel of the mainboard peeps out with its three audio mini-jacks, PS/2 connectors for the mouse and keyboard, D-Sub and TV-Out outputs, one RJ45 network port, two High-Speed USB connectors, one 6-pin IEEE1394 port and one serial port. Add also an SPDIF input and output.