Performance Analysis and our Rating
System Performance Analysis: The Shuttle SD31P matched the full-sized Gigabyte 8I945P-G in every benchmark, with barely a few seconds or points separating the two systems. As with their other 'P' series models, the SD31P comes with a 350W PSU and PCI-e graphics, giving this SFF PC all of the power and capabilities of systems 2-3 times its size.
We were very impressed with the SD31P. As we mentioned in the earlier, it seems Shuttle is no longer content with hanging back, producing units that are slightly behind the technology curve. By releasing the SD31P at the same time that other manufacturers are coming out with their full-sized i945 boards, it makes the buyer's choices and options much more open. There's no reason to "settle" anymore. If you're looking for high-end performance, then Shuttle has what you are looking for, just in a smaller package.
We were also pleasantly surprised to find that all of our gripes over the earlier 'P' chassis-based SB95P have been corrected. The drives and drive cage are all locked down tightly now, which we feel is very important for any system that's expected to be carried around often, a la the typical LAN party. Adding in new options such as a PCI-e power connector and improving the routing of the cabling only serves to further increase our good feelings about the SD31P. The only negative aspect was the price, currently a hefty $450, and the unmarked Clear CMOS button from the back panel, as that could have saved us countless times during overclocking the unit. The button issue will be corrected for retail, but some might still find the price to be a bit high for their tastes.
We've said it before, and it's worth repeating once again: when it comes to innovation, few SFF manufacturers can stand up to what Shuttle has been doing these days. The SD31P is a tour-de-force in its product class, with performance on-par with "full-sized" counterparts, multiple setup options, and just plain good looks. We're giving the Shuttle SD31P XPC a 9.5 on the Heat Meter and an Editor's Choice award. This is our favorite Intel based SFF PC yet.
|•_Cutting edge technology in a SFF PC
•_Supports Dual-Core CPUs
•_Runs nearly silent in Smart Fan Mode
|•_Expect to shell out for this one - ~$450
•_The 'Clear CMOS ' button needs labeling
•_Heat buildup could be issue when OC'ing