the media centre world, Shuttle really need no
introduction, they are renowned for creating some
of the most beautifully designed media pc chassis.
They have been ploughing through the competition
in the Small Form Factor world for a good few
years now and when it comes to building a high
performing PC or new media centre there really
isn't any reason we shouldn't consider any of
the offerings from Shuttle. So with this in mind
lets take a look at Shuttles top of the range
AMD AM2 barebones system.
package their systems very well and upon opening
the glossy package we are greeted with the familiar
reassuring sign of ample foam protection. All
of the cables, screws, manuals and disks are in
a small white box which protects the case finish.
unpacked we can further study the unit and although
similar to many of the other shuttle systems,
each new chassis has subtle yet important changes
in design. This AM2 based system has been finished
in a high quality black veneer that is a refreshing
change from so many shiny silver, red or white
units available. The black finish also has an
advantage of blending into the background if hidden
away in a TV cabinet when used as a Media PC.
Additionally the CD/DVD unit and floppy driver
are hidden behind small flaps on the front giving
the cube a totally minimalist appearance. If you
yearn for an overuse of LED lighting and other
flashing gimmicks, look elsewhere.
Looking at the system from the front the CD/DVD
drive is located about 1 inch from the top of
the system and is hidden behind a brushed metal
flap that opens as the drawer of the optical drive
tray is ejected. One of the little details which
separates Shuttle from many of the lower priced
options is that the opening mechanism is smooth
which gives a feel of quality.
optical drive open button is operated via the
chromed eject button located on the front, below
the eject button is an LED that displays the Hard
disk activity and below that is the power button
displaying an electric blue light when powered.
At the base of the front is a panel that clicks
open to reveal another 2x USB slots, 1x Fire Wire
(mini 1394), microphone, headphone and a reset
switch, basically everything you would find on
the front of a standard desktop.
at the rear of the system you can see how packed
with connectivity and goodies this really is,
left to right, the system has 6x USB, 1x Fire
wire (1394) 1x External SATA (data only, no power)
1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x audio optical out, 1x
coaxial digital out, 1x Audio Optical In, 2x Surround
outputs, 1x Center/Sub output, 1x Standard stereo
outputs and 1x line in.
that's the external aspect of the P2 chassis,
lets take a look at the inside...