IntroductionThe recent introduction of Shuttle's P-series XPC chassis, in the form of SB81P, caused me to wonder if the perfect platform for a fast Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 XPC was that very chassis. Think about it. None of the platform migration issues that Intel's new P4 platform has in the SB81P, excellent processors for the Socket 939 itself, more low latency DDR choice than ever before and all of the expansion goodness and thermal management that the P-series brings to the table. So I was heartily hoping that Shuttle would drop their next Athlon 64 XPC design into the P-series and blow everyone away.
That they haven't done so isn't that much of a cause for concern. The G-series of XPC chassis' arguably hit their highest point with the G4 revision, seen so far on the ST61G4 (ATI IGP, Socket 478 P4) and SN85G4 (nForce3 150, Socket 754). Stylish to the extreme, it's my favourite looking XPC to date, and while it doesn't allow the power-user to cram as much into the unit as a P-series XPC does, it's a tried and tested chassis that a lot of people have learned to live with and love. So another time round the block with the G-series, with a bit of a facelift to boot, isn't such a bad thing.
Combining new Socket 939 Athlon 64, nForce3 250 Ultra core logic and a sexier G-series seems pretty good to me.
Before we jump right in, just a recap on the physical features a G-series brings to the SFF table. You get support for a single optical drive and either two 3.5 inch hard disks, or given the cooling concerns, a floppy drive and a single hard disk. Shuttle's famous ICE cooler gets the processor heat out of the system, and it houses Shuttle's custom form-factor mainboards.
After the smoked mirror finish of the black SN85G4, Shuttle would have to try hard to best that aesthetic. Let's take a look to see if they've done so.