Shuttle went through a complete metamorphosis as a company a few years back, and they haven't looked back ever since. Their wildly successful line of "XPC" small form factor (SFF) PCs has taken off like no other physical incarnation of the PC has in a very long time. Not even Mr. Jobs could have predicted the kind of success this product line has enjoyed. For all intents and purposes the Mac itself never garnered this much interest solely as a result of some of the various small footprint versions it has come to market in over the years. Apple may have been ahead of its time but SFF PCs seem to hit right on time, when everyone seems to be making an effort to miniaturize technology any way they can. iPod anyone? Come on now, let's just call it what it is, a slim-line MP3 player.
But I digress, when you are an "innovator", as Shuttle likes to call themselves (and they certainly are), you are afforded the luxury of refinement, as you blaze the trail, all the while improving upon a product. Without question, Shuttle's very early XPC's made compromises in many places, in order to accommodate their petite figures. What, no AGP slot? These days however, they've got all the goods found in a full tower system, with very high levels of integration at the motherboard level.
The following is a HotHardware.com look at the new Shuttle SB77G5 XPC. Based on the Intel i875 chipset and outfitted with an LGA775 socket for the new generation Pentium 4 CPUs, this SSF PC looks to be cut from the same cloth as its brethren XPCs, with great small form factor styling and lots of leading edge functionality. Let's dig in a bit and find out the rest of the story.
In terms of its feature set, this XPC has all of the latest bells and whistles that you'd find in a full sized machine, save for a few PCI expansion slots. Again, the SB77G5 is based on Intel's i875 "Canterwood" chipset, so although it doesn't support DDR2 or PCI Express Graphics (both technologies which have yet to truly come of age in the retail marketplace), it does have integrated Serial ATA with RAID capabilities driven off the ICH5-R Southbridge, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, USB2.0 and Firewire ports, and integrated 5.1 surround sound with optical SPDIF outputs.
The real differentiator for the SB77G5 however, is its Socket T (LGA775) CPU interface. This socket is Intel's sole physical interface vehicle for all forthcoming version of the Pentium 4. In fact, while the i875 chipset wasn't initially intended to support Socket T, Shuttle has taken it upon themselves to support the new CPU package, associated new CPU voltages, and dare we say, bus speeds. More detail on this later in this article, rest assured.
The Bundle: Shuttle equips the SB77G5 with a nice assortment of cabling, fastener hardware, and software, to help complete a full build-out of the system. As you can see, you're afforded 1 SATA cable, 2 IDE ribbon cables, a floppy cable and a molex power splitter complete with a mini-4 pin head. Shuttle also includes a small packet of thermal paste and assorted chipset drivers and manuals for the motherboard, as well as a installation guide. All documentation was easy to follow and well illustrated with pictorials on installation procedures, which can be slightly challenging if it is your first time working with an SFF PC. Finally, Shuttle rounds out the bundle with OEM versions of Trend Micro PC-Cillin 2004, Muvee autoProducer and Acrobat Reader V6.0. In short, the SB77G5's bundle is well rounded and respectable but we would have liked to have seen another SATA cable in there, just to support the extra channel that is available on the motherboard.