Shuttle SN41G2 XPC

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The Shuttle SN41G2 XPC - Page 3

The Shuttle XPC SN41G2
Small Form Factor + nForce2 = Perfect Combination

By, Marco Chiappetta
February 27, 2003

Novalogic's combat helicopter simulation, Comanche 4 is a heavily CPU dependant DirectX gaming benchmark.  We ran Comanche 4's built-in timedemo at a resolution of 640x480x32 with audio disabled.  With these minimal settings, CPU performance and memory bandwidth have the largest impact on performance. 

Gaming Benchmarks With The SN41G2
An Electronic Playland

Clearly, the integrated GeForce4 MX graphics core cannot hold a candle to the Radeon 9700 Pro, but it's not supposed to.  When using the IGP, even at low resolution, the SN41G2 doesn't handle Comanche 4 very well.  It's probably adequate for the casual user, but gamers will definitely want to use and add-in graphics adapter.  With a Radeon 9700 Pro installed, however, performance increases dramatically and brings the SN41G2 back to the A7N8X's performance level.

Next, we ran MadOnion's 3DMark2001 SE (Build 330) at the benchmark's default resolution of 1024x768.  3DMark2001 uses the "MaxFX" engine, from Remedy's very popular Max Payne, to simulate an actual in-game environment.  Like Comanche 4, 3DMark2001 is a DirectX benchmark that scales well as CPU performance and memory bandwidth increase.

The IGP takes another pounding in the 3DMark2001 test, falling over 10,000 points behind the other system configurations.  As all of the other benchmark results have shown, when the Radeon 9700 Pro is used, the SN41G2 hangs right in there with the A7N8X.  Both systems break the 15,000 point barrier, with the A7N8X holding onto a minimal 146 point advantage...which is basically meaningless in this benchmark.

"Real World" Application Benchmarks
Yes, We All Have to Work Sometime!

To test "Real World" application performance, we used ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2002 and Content Creation Winstones 2002 benchmarks.  We'll directly quote ZD's eTestingLabs website for an explanation as to how Business Winstone 2002 derives its score. (Content Creation Winstone 2002 uses the same process, but the test is comprised of different applications.):

"Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running today's top-selling Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98, Windows 2000 (SP2 or later), Windows Me, or Windows XP. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores."

Business Winstone Applications:
  • Five Microsoft Office 2002 applications
    (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Content Creation Winstone Applications:
  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

Performance was very good in both the Business and Content Creation Winstone benchmarks, across all three system configurations.  Using the integrated graphics in these tests does drag the performance down a bit, for two reasons.  One, as we mentioned earlier, is the decreased amount of available bandwidth.  The second reason is because there is also less system memory available.  When using the add-in Radeon 9700 Pro, the full 512MB we installed is available to the system.  When using the IGP, however, 64 of those megabytes are allocated for the graphics processor, leaving "only" 448MB available.

  
COMPLETE SN41G2 WITH DRIVES PAINTED TO MATCH

Shuttle has done an excellent job with the SN41G2 XPC.  The nForce2 powering the FN41 motherboard used in this small form factor PC, seems like the perfect chipset for this type of system.  The nForce2's integrated GeForce 4 MX graphics processor may not be ideal for hard core gamers, but it is still the best integrated solution on the market today.  With the SN41G2, you'll also be treated to some of the best integrated audio, and a host of other features like USB 2.0, Firewire, 10/100 Ethernet and near silent operation.  Aesthetically, we also find the new case design more appealing than previous models in Shuttle XPC line.  When using an add-in graphics card, performance is every bit as good as a full sized system, in a package about 1/2 the size of an average ink-jet printer.  The only drawback to the SN41G2 is the limited upgrade path, unless your comfortable using external components.  Had the internal wiring been cleaner, and the overclocking tools more robust we would have given the Shuttle SN41G2 a perfect 10.  For now though, Shuttle will have to "settle" for a 9.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, a coveted Editor's Choice Award and our declaration of the SN41G2 the best small form factor PC we have seen to date. 

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Tags:  Shuttle, PC, XPC, XP, g2

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