Shuttle's SB51G XPC

Shuttle's SB51G XPC - Page 2

Shuttle's SB51G XPC Mini Barebones
The i845GE Based Mini-PC That Feels Full Sized

By Dave Altavilla

There's a of ground to cover, in these XPCs.  It is a true mechanical wonder, to see how much Shuttle can pack so much technology  into a chassis this size.  Things certainly are tight in there however, and good cable layout is essential for proper airflow and cooling.

Setup & Quality
Munchkin Land



There is a "card cage" of sorts, to help retain the  PCI and AGP cards in their respective slots.  The back-plate of the system has color coded connectors, with Dual Firewire, Dual USB, Ethernet and the appropriate sound, keyboard and mouse ports.  There are additional Firewire, USB and sound jacks, on the front of the case as well.  In actuality, this little system has more connectivity options than some full sized motherboard setups we've seen.  The power supply is an adequate 200 WATT model that is Pentium 4 compatible with the standard ATX12V power plugs.




Then of course there is Shuttle's Heat Pipe solution for cooling the power hungry and heat radiant Pentium 4 processor.  Our test system was configured with a 2.26GHz Northwood CPU, so you can imagine there was a fair amount of heat to expel from the case.  There are 4 pipes rising up from the core of the copper based aluminum hybrid heat sink.  They connect up to a radiator section with dozens of fins that spread the heat out over a large surface area.  Then a fairly quiet 80mm fan, blows cool air through the radiator fins and pushes all that heat out the back side of the case.  All told, the system works very well and kept our CPU at a comfortable temperature, as you'll see in the following BIOS screenshots.  Finally, as you can see, a somewhat stout GeForce 4 Ti 4400 AGP card fits comfortably sitting in the AGP slot along the side of the chassis. 

Spartan but adequate



The BIOS in the SB51G is somewhat light duty but that is to be expected in a system of this type.  There are FSB speed adjustments (in 1MHz increments) in the BIOS but you certainly aren't going to be doing a lot of oveclocking with a rig this size.  Overclocking means heat and any additional heat inside a small setup like this is not good.  There are no voltage adjustments in the BIOS, so your results would be limited regardless.  We were somewhat impressed however, that the SB51G was able to overclock our 2.26GHz P4 to 2.45GHz with an FSB of 145MHz.  However, with a 2.26GHz Northwood under the hood, even at stock clock speeds, you should have plenty of horsepower and even keep a few pennies in your pocket, since prices for a Pentium 4 chip in this range are becoming significantly more attractive.  We should note, that although the system is capable of supporting an HT enabled Pentium 4, that CPU wasn't available at the time of testing for this article.  Keep in mind however, that the i845GE chipset that powers the motherboard in this unit, does in fact work with  this great new feature for the 3GHz Pentium 4.  Now all we need is HT enabled mainstream CPUs like a 2.26GHz P4.

The rest of the BIOS is fairly straight forward.  There is a DDR266/333 setting, various memory timing adjustments and integrated peripheral settings that can also be enabled of disabled.  As you can see in the Health Monitoring screenshot, our 2.26GHz Pentium 4 was running at a fairly tepid 34C.  This was with the case closed and at idle.

The Hot Hardware Test Systems
It's got it all


Shuttle SB51G XPC Mini Barebones System
GeForce4 Ti4400
Intel Pentium 4 "Northwood" 2.26GHz. (533MHz. Bus)
256MB Corsair XMS PC2700 DDR RAM CAS 2.5
Western Digital 30GB UDMA/100 7200 RPM Hard Drive
On-Board NIC
On-Board Sound

Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP1
Intel Chipset Drivers Version 4.07
NVIDIA 40.72 WHQL Drivers

Performance With SiSoft Sandra 2002
A quick take of the numbers

SiSoftware's SANDRA (the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a very popular benchmarking, information and diagnostic utility.  We began our testing with four of the built-in sub-system tests that are part of SiSoftware's Sandra 2003 benchmarking suite:  CPU, Multimedia, Memory and File System. 

CPU 2.26GHz

Mem DDR333 CAS2


MM 2.26GHz

Hard Disk ATA100

The SB51G, as you can see in the above tests, has the performance metrics of it's full sized counterparts, clock for clock.  Our 2.26GHz setup had no problem keeping time with the Athlon 2200+ reference system in the CPU test and handily beat out the 2GHz Pentium 4.  In Memory Bandwidth, the SB51G is neck and neck with other PC2700 scores in the chart.  Finally, we were able to realize a respectable hard disk score in the somewhat nebulous Sandra Hard Disk test.  Let's look at more strenuous benchmarks and take it from there.

More Benchmarking

Tags:  Shuttle, PC, XPC, XP

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