Since this is a barebones computer, you'll need to
provide your own socket AM2 Athlon64 processor, a serial ATA hard drive or two,
IDE optical drive, DDR-2 memory, and things like a floppy disk or media reader
bay. Once you have all these items, assembly is really quite simple and not
particularly time consuming for novices and computer junkies alike.
Shuttle include a large poster sized quick
installation guide to help direct you through the many steps of
computer building, but the layout of this SFF chassis is so intuitive that you really
only need to read up on the heatsink and processor installation steps.
Installing the 940-pin socket AM2 processor, adding thermal compound,
positioning the heatsink and then carefully tightening down the retaining screws
is the only tricky bit. The case fan swings out, and it can also be pulled up
from its hinges to give you a little more room when installing the CPU as well.
The motherboards' headers and important connectors
are generally situated towards the outer edges of the board, so access to things
a mundane as the fan header is unrestricted. The CMOS can be resent without even
opening up the XPC SN27P2.
Optical and hard drives all mount into their own
aluminum trays, and the necessary power and data cables are pre-routed to the
general vicinity which is a nice touch. Cable routing is one of the hallmarks of
the XPC SN27P2 small formfactor computer, and since the wires are already cut to
length there's no way you can create a rats nest of messy wires. Nice.
All the cables included are custom and cut to the right
length so you won't have to worry about stashing the excess out of the
way. This is one area where Shuttle is far ahead of its competition.
When fully installed, the Shuttle XPC SN27P2 Small
Formfactor PC runs pretty quietly. Careful placement of fans creates cool
airflow in a right-to-left direction, so you should be mindful of leaving at
least 6" on either side of the computer unobstructed. There are two small
cooling fans at the rear of the chassis, but the majority of the cooling work is
tackled by the CPU heatsink and chassis fan which are located up front, set
to blow hot air through small side vents.
Now that we've gone over the highlights of this first
ever socket AM2 small formfactor barebone PC which is based on the nvidia nforce
570 Ultra chipset, let's take a much closer look at some of its best