Shuttle XPC SDXi: Up Close - Outside
When it comes to appearances, the SDXi Barebones kit doesn't disappoint. With a high-gloss flame finish, the unit is reminiscent of the paint jobs found on a classic muscle car. The flames are most intense on the front of the unit and blend nicely as it flows to the rear, fading to a solid black. Note that both sides of the unit sport matching perforations for ample airflow within the tight confines of the case, while the top of the unit also offers a mesh area which helps ventilate the VGA water cooling kit. On the inside, Shuttle outfits the SDXi with a motherboard based on Intel's 975X Chipset, offering support for all Intel Core 2 processors from economy processors up through the Extreme series. The mainboard offers a surprising four DIMM slots that support up to 2GB of DDR2 memory per slot, clocked as high as DDR2-667.
The board offers plenty of storage options, including 3 SATA 3.0GB/s ports and an External eSATA port off the rear of the unit. Masked by a pressure sensitive door, the front of the case offers front mounted Mic and Headphone ports as well as two USB 2.0 ports and a mini IEEE 1394 port. Along the right side is a vertical chrome strip that has Power and Reset buttons as well as Power and Hard Drive LEDs. The upper half of the case is comprised of two drive bays that support both optical and hard drives with the overall unit capacity maxing out at three hard drives.
When shifting the focus to the rear of the unit, we find two slot loactions that complement the CrossFire ready motherboard's dual PCI Express x16 slots. The rear console also delivers a broad selection of inputs and outputs including a standard IEEE 1394 port, one External SATA port, one RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet port and six USB ports. Most unique is external access at the upper left corner for clearing the BIOS, which is a handy option for overclockers. For audio, the options are plentiful, with a Coaxial S/PDIF output, S/PDIF input/output, Line-In, Side, Rear Surround and Center/Base ports.