An interesting aspect of all Shuttle SFF systems is the ability to run a piece of proprietary software called XPC Tools. This system management utility is specifically designed for Shuttle XPC systems and allows the user to monitor system performance, adjust fan speeds, overclock on the fly, and even customize their system's VFD display.
The first screen we are presented with is a reporting window which illustrates fan speeds, temperatures, and overall voltages. Warnings and indicators can be configured to alert the user once certain thresholds have been exceeded.
The next screen we see controls all aspects of fan speed and ultimately noise control. Here, the user can set ceilings for both CPU temperature as well as for minimum fan rpm's. Should the user opt to enable the Smart Fan mode, the fan speeds will either increase or decrease to minimize overall noise while keeping temperatures under a particular threshold.
Perhaps the most exciting screen in XPC tools is the page which allows the user to dynamically overclock their system. Here, we find voltage options for the PCI-E bus, processor, and memory modules as well as FSB and multiplier adjustments. So after playing with these options, how far were we able to push the SD36G5M?
As you can see in the image above, we were able to push the system to a stable FSB speed of 223MHz for a resulting 4.0GHz. Given the fact that the system is so limited on air flow and the ICE heatsink assembly was not designed for overclocking, we were more than pleased with these results.
For those systems which are equipped with a Vacuum Fluorescent Display, XPC Tools allows the user to customize what information is displayed on the front of the system. This ability can be especially useful when the system is placed in tight surroundings or in an A/V rack as you can report CPU and system temps to ensure that the system is receiving adequate cooling.
An added bonus to the customization of the VFD display is the ability to output any custom message you'd like at any given refresh interval. Here, you can report the date and time or you can show your ties to your favorite hardware centric website.