Half Life 2 Benchmarks, Performance Analysis and Conclusion
We thought you would never let us live it down if we didn't fire up the game that everyone on the scene seems to be playing right now, none other than Half Life 2. This time we tossed in our Radeon X800 XT, just to mix things up a bit.
Once again, more than enough power to spare, if you are a Half Life 2 or Counter Strike: Source junkie, is available with the Shuttle SB77G5 as a base system. We actually prefer the more modest power requirements of the Radeon X800 XT for a high end graphics configuration in this XPC. As you can see from our custom demo benchmark scores, it's also a no compromise setup with the ATi's flagship Radeon at the helm.
System Performance Analysis:
The Shuttle SB77G5 impressed us on all fronts, from a performance perspective. As you could see in our extensive testing, the system kept pace and occasionally edged out its i925XE counterpart. The i875 chipset that the SB77G5 is built upon, still has plenty of legs left in it and even though 533MHz DDR2 can offer an advantage at CAS 3 settings, the SB77G5 with its DDR400 memory at CAS 2, came within striking distance, even in the memory intensive tests like Windows Media Encoder 9. The other notable that our testing showed is that the SB77G5 should be able to run new 1066MHz FSB P4s, although "unofficially supported", as they become available. You'll just have to adjust the system's memory divider in the BIOS, to keep things running within spec for the DDR memory, which shouldn't be much of an issue for virtually all of the latest modules from the major players.
Reflecting back on our experience with the Shuttle SB77G5, we can't help but be impressed by its stylish design, build quality, efficient layout, easy build-out effort, and extremely quiet operation. Even with a 3.6GHz Prescott core Pentium 4 in its LGA775 socket, the system kept thermals in check and fan speeds well underneath the radar acoustically. The system also demonstrated an ability to run even the highest end GeForce 6800 Ultra and Radeon X800 XT graphics cards, at full stability, on what turned out to be a very robust 250 Watt power solution. Optimally, we think a GeForce 6800 GT or Radeon X800 XT would be your best bet for quiet operation and reasonable thermals inside the system. Regardless, the SB77G5 took our most power-hungry card we had in the lab and ran it full tilt, with the most power-hungry processor we had available, in its socket. If that isn't a ringing endorsement for this XPC's component quality, we don't know what is.
The only draw-back we considered for the SB77G5, is something very much out of Shuttle's control. Simply put, Intel's Socket T (LGA775) processors, at many speed bins right now, clock for clock, can't match the price/performance ratios that the Athlon 64 can offer, at this time. Regardless, if you're in the Pentium 4 camp, the SB77G5, with it's i875 chipset and LGA775 socket, does a real nice job of straddling the fence to Intel's latest processors, while enabling you to work with current AGP graphics card solutions and your good ol' DDR PC3200 - PC4000 DDR RAM. That does wonders for bringing total system cost down as well. Bravo Shuttle, bravo!
The Shuttle SB77G5 XPC scores a 9 on HotHardware.com's Heat Meter.