A week after AMD introduced its socket AM2 processor line up, Shuttle introduces the
XPC SN27P2 small formfactor barebones PC; a potentially perfect mixture of
expandability, power, and quiet in a toaster-sized package.
The cutting edge
Shuttle XPC SN27P2 is a fine example of the company's excellent history with SFF
PCs - the elegantly designed system is easy to access, easy to install, and
packs in the latest nVidia nForce 570 Ultra chipset technology.
The official hardware features of the Shuttle XPC SN27P2
are similar to most other SFF PC's, but care of a BTX-layout it can accommodate
as many as three 3.5" hard drives, a 5.25" optical drive, and still operate
quietly with plenty of room for a quick upgrade. Care of the nForce 570 Ultra
chipset, the system can even be configured for RAID if you wish. Other
technologies like nVidia Firstpacket, MediaShield, and nTune come part and
Fully installed, the Shuttle XPC SN27P2 has enough space
for a dual slot PCI Express x16 videocards like the GeForce 7900GTX or Radeon
X1900 XTX. Its active power factor correction 350W power supply is more than
capable for this class of videocard, and power and data cables are pre-routed
inside the case to reduce clutter, improving installation.
A proprietory cooling solution operates quietly, and is
equipped with a Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) fan to reduced fan speed and noise
as much as possible.
Looking at the
benchmarks, it's clear that the Shuttle XPC SN27P2 and its nForce 570 Ultra
chipset offer performance qualities on par with high end nForce 590 SLI based
motherboards. In SYSMark2004, the office productivity tests and PCMark05 and
content creation, the Shuttle XPC SN27P2 is in a virtual dead heat with an Asus
M2N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard. That's pretty good company to be in.
On the whole there is very little to be critical about
with the Shuttle XPC SN27P2, but that is not to say it is
completely ideal. The rear cooling vents are poorly thought out, and an extra
Gigabit ethernet jack probably should have been added to take full advantage of
the nForce 570 Ultra's capabilities like DualNet; teaming, TCP/IP acceleration,
A set of media card readers in the space occupied by
just a pair of audio and USB jacks at the front of the PC would have been a
better use of this spot, but these options are absent.
Lastly, wireless network connectivity would have been
awesome, but it's not integrated in the model PCSTATS tested. While the absence
of extensive IDE support may make some readers balk at the thought of adopting
an entirely new set of SATA hard drives, in a compact PC like the Shuttle XPC
SN27P2 it just makes sense. With SATA hard drives cable clutter is greatly
reduced, not to mention installation simplified.
PCSTATS expects the Shuttle XPC SN27P2 small form factor
barebones system to retail for around $400 CDN ($360 US, £196) when it hits
stores later this month. There is nothing else on the market as of this writing which
consumers can turn to if they want a socket AM2 small formfactor system with these kinds of
expansion possibilities. If you're in the market for a top of the line socket
AM2 SFF PC with plenty of storage support, there is no question that the Shuttle
XPC SN27P2 is among the best!
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