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DriverHeaven Review

Before receiving this product for review I was extremely sceptical about how well a Small Form Factor PC would handle my needs, both as a performance user and as a reviewer. The nature of my PC use demands that I use the latest components which as well as drawing a lot of power and creating a lot of heat always stress the other parts of the system to their limits. I just didn’t think a machine as compact as this would be able to handle it… lets see if I was right or wrong…

The Shuttle comes packaged in a stylish box (including handy handle). The box, as with most products gives you an idea of the features of the unit within as well as some product photography.

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Opening the box we see that the Shuttle within is well protected by foam and the CDs/bundled products are nicely stored at the side of the system in a box. We believe this foam will protect the shuttle from all but the worst courier, infact UPS went some way to proving this when our original sample turned up in terrible condition – torn, bashed etc. The unit inside however seemed to be fine aesthetically. There was an issue with a memory slot not working however this wasn’t the case in our replacement and so we can put this down to extremely rough treatment by UPS – something which shouldn’t happen to you.

Shuttle are very thorough in their software/accessory bundle. Pretty much everything you are going to need is included.

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Above you can see the manual for the xPC, motherboard manual, NV Raid Manual, Driver/Utility disc, case feet, screws etc, additional power splitter, additional IDE cable, Sata cable and Sata Power cable. A second Sata data cable would have been nice incase you choose to install a second HD rather than a floppy drive however they are very cheap to buy separately if needed.

Shuttle use Phoenix Award Bios in their SN95G, the bios is fully configurable from overclocking settings and memory timings to fan and voltage control. As far as we could see there is nothing to set it apart from the options available in full size motherboards which is excellent.

The Board/System:

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Above you can see the xPC in all its glory. The case is extremely stylish and well designed from an aesthetic point of view. Both sides feature the Shuttle logo with air vents below and the top/sides are brushed metal which looks and feels high quality. The front panel is very sparse which is nice and all drives are hidden away. Behind the top panel is a DVD/CD-rom slot, the second panel is your floppy drive and the base panel hides the front USB/Firewire and audio ports. As well as giving a nice clean look these panels can also hide your horrible old white components and keep your system looking good regardless of what’s inside.

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The buttons used to open the panels are slightly different, the CD rom button is raised and connects to a plastic arm which moves from the button to press the cd eject button where as the two other panels use a push to click closed and open design.

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Finally on the front panel we have the IDE/power lights which are in the centre of the case and the reset power buttons which are either side of the activity lights.

Moving to the rear of the system and we see that the shuttle doesn’t lack in connectivity. There are the various audio ports required for your surround sound including coaxial and optical digital out and optical/line in. 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 network card, 1 Firewire and a serial port. Pretty much everything you are going to need. Placement of the optical out is somewhat strange (top right) however it works so no real complaints there. You can also see on the rear of the case the 2 grills, the larger is to allow airflow for the CPU and the other (smaller) is for the PSU. On the right of the system you can see the AGP and PCI brackets.


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