Shuttle's SS50 Mini Barebones System

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Shuttle's SS50 Mini Barebones System!
Good Things DO Come in Small Packages!

By, Marco Chiappetta
May 30, 2002

For years, the only decisions computer user's had to make, dealt with speed and capacity.  How fast is the CPU?  How big is the hard drive?  How much memory is included?  These types of questions were heard by prospecting computer sales people throughout the world.  Recently, in part due to the efforts of companies like Apple Computer and Compaq, things have changed.  The days of plain, beige computers are long gone, and now buyers can not only choose from an assortment of colors, but also an assortment of sizes.  Looking to capitalize on the trend started by these large companies, late last year Shuttle introduced the aluminum SV24 mini-barebones system, reviewed here, and the small form factor craze took off.  These "mini-PCs" were so cool, people began searching for reasons to justify purchasing one.  A little time passed and the Pentium IIIs solution powering Shuttle's SV24, were falling a little behind the performance curve, so the market began clamoring for a more powerful version.  That is what we've got in the HotHardware labs today.  The SS50 is Shuttle's Pentium 4 powered mini-barebones system.  This tiny system packs quite a punch.  Step into our office and check this thing out...

 
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW...

Specifications / Features of the Shuttle SS50 Mini Barebones System
How'd They Fit It All...

CPU Support:

  • Socket 478

  • Intel Pentium 4 in the 478 pin package with 400MHz FSB

Chipsets:

  • SiS 650

  • (North) SiS650

  • Support 533MB/s MuTIOL Connect to SiS961

  • (South) SiS961

  • Support UDMA 33/66/100 IDE interface

  • Support USB1.1 interface

Memory:

  • 2 x 184 pin DDR SDRAM Socket

  • Support DDR200/266 un-buffer DDR SDRAM up to 2GB capacity

VGA:

  • Build in SiS 650

  • AGP v2.0 Compliant

  • Built-in high performance 256-bit 3D engine

  • Built-in programmable 24-bit true-color RAMDAC up to 333 MHz pixel clock

Audio:

  • C-Media 8738-PCI-6CH/LX

  • Support 5.1 speakers, C3DX positional audio in 6 CH speaker mode

IEEE 1394a:

  • Lucent FW323

  • Support 400Mb/s, 200Mb/s, 100Mb/s data transfer rate

Ethernet:

  • Realtek 8100B

  • 10 Mb/s and 100 Mb/s operation

  • Supports Wake-On-LAN function

TV-Out Function:

  • SiS301

  • Supports PAL and NTSC Systems

  • Supports Composite, S-Video, and Component R/G/B Output Signals.

  • Supports maximum input active resolution at PAL and NTSC system to 800x600.

H/W Monitor:

  • Built in ITE 8705F

  • 2 thermal inputs from remote thermal resistor to monitor system temperature

  • 1 thermal inputs from thermal diode to monitor CPU temperature

  • Smart Guardian Controller to provide programmable fan speed automatic control

IDE interface:

  • 2 x UltraDMA/100 IDE Channels Master from SiS961

  • ATAPI IDE CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, and LS-120 Supports

Power Management:

  • APM 1.2 compliant

  • ACPI 1.0 compliant

  • Support multiple system suspend types- suspend to DRAM, suspend to disk, and all with hardware automatic wake-up.

BIOS:

  • Award PnP BIOS

  • DMI 2.3

  • Bootable from Floppy, ATAPI device, USB device, SCSI device

Form Factor:

  • Shuttle Form Factor

 

On Board Ports / Connectors / Jumpers (front/back panel):

Front Panel:

  • 2 x USB ports

  • 1 x 1394 ports

  • 1 x Mic-In

  • 1 x Speaker-Out

  • Power-On

  • Reset

  • 1 x 3.5" bay

  • 1 x 5.25" bay

Back Panel Ports and Connectors:

  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard

  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse

  • 1 x VGA port

  • 2 x Serial Port

  • 2 x 1394 ports

  • 1 x S-Video and Composite connector

  • 2 x USB ports

  • 1 x RJ45 port

  • 1 x line-in connector

  • 1 x line-out connector

  • 1 x Center/Bass connector

  • Other connectors and jumpers

  • 3 x fan connectors

  • 1 x ATX power connector

  • 1 x 4 pin 12V ATX power connector

  • Clear CMOS

Headers:

  • 1 x COM port header

  • 1 sets of 2 x5 pin Front Panel USB header

  • 1 sets of 2 x5 pin Front Panel IEEE1394a header

  • CD_In header

  • Microphone_In header

  • Speaker_Out header

  • Dimension / Chassis

  • 200(w) x 181(h) x 280(d) mm

  • Aluminum casing

  • Power

Expansion Slot:

  • 2 x PCI slots

  • PCI 2.2 compliant, 32-bit BUS Master Slots

Dimension:

  • 201(w) x 188(h) x 291(l) mm

Input:

  • 110/220 auto or manual switchable - without PFC

  • 220 only - with PFC

  • Power Cord depends on individual region demand

Accessory:

  • CD-ROM Disk

  • CPU Cooler

  • SS50 Install Guide

  • FS50 User manual

  • FS50 CD-ROM Disk

  •  SIS IDE Driver

  • SIS AGP driver

  •  CMEDIA Audio driver

  •  CMEDIA Audio Utility

  •  ITE Smart Guardian Utility

  • User manuals in PDF format

Accessory Box:

  • 1 x 21cm ATA 100/66 cable

  • 1 x 55cm ATA 100/66 cable (bend 90° from M/B side)

  • 1 x 32cm Floppy cable (bend 90° at 16.5 cm from M/B side)


    
SCANNED IMAGES FROM THE BACK OF THE BOX

Now is that an impressive list of specifications, or what?  The Shuttle SS50 Mini Barebones System brings a lot to the table, especially considering it's compact design.  This system is barely larger than a shoebox at 8"x7.1"x11", yet it is jammed with features like TV-Out, IEEE-1394 and 6-Channel surround sound.

   

   

Besides the system itself, you'll find quite a few extras included with the Shuttle SS50.  Inside the box, you'll find an Installation Guide, a User's Manual and a CD containing all of the necessary drivers to properly configure your system.  A slim-line, copper cored CPU cooler with an excellent, hinged clip is also included.  This cooler may not be very big, but it did an adequate job cooling our 2.2GHz. CPU.  Under load, our CPU temperature never went past 45° C.  Two 80-Wire IDE cables, a floppy cable, a power cable, thermal grease and a small bag of screws and wire ties also ship with the SS50.
 

The BIOS & Setup
Nothing Out Of The Ordinary Here...

The BIOS found on the FS50, the Shuttle motherboard used in the SS50, is a derivative of the Phoenix / Award BIOS we have all seen on countless boards in the past.

     

     

In all of the "standard" sections of the BIOS, we did not find any extraordinary features or options.  Users do have adequate control over all of the integrated on-board components though, most of which can be enabled or disabled with the BIOS.  We were pleased to see the "CPU Fan AutoGuardian" feature in the "PC Health Status" sections of the BIOS.  With a system as compact as the SS50, some users are bound to have stray cables interfering with the CPU fan.  It's nice to see at least some level or protection.

     

There were also a few options in the "Frequency / Voltage Control" for the overclockers.  Unfortunately, none of them were for tweaking the CPU core voltage and memory voltage.  What is there, is the ability to adjust the FSB in 1MHz. increments between 100 and 165MHz. and selectable CPU to DRAM clock ratios of 1:1, 3:4 and 3:5.  Shuttle doesn't claim the SS50 officially supports PC2700, 166MHz. DDR RAM, but using the 3:5 clock ratios does give user that ability. Obviously, without the ability to raise any voltages and because a relatively small CPU cooler has to be used, overclocking will not be the SS50's strong suit, but we did have decent luck overclocking our 2.2GHz. "Northwood" P4.  We were able to take the FSB up to 110MHz., for a top speed of 2.42GHz, a 10% overclock.  Anything higher than that and the machine would not even post.
 

Setup and Initial Benchmarking

 

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