Shuttle's SB51G XPC

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

By Dave Altavilla
11/20/2002

We'll finish up the benchmarks with the latest and greatest in First Person Shooters, at least until Doom 3 arrives.  Unreal Tournament 2003 showcases high polygon count Direct X 8 performance and it's also an excellent CPU benchmark.

Benchmarks With The Shuttle XPC SB51G
UT2003 Fly By

 

Turning up Anisotropic Filtering and Anti-Aliasing, definitely takes a toll on performance but this is mostly a limitation of the graphics subsystem, with the GeForce 4 Ti4400 we used in testing.  However, with over 48 fps, the game is completely playable and looks terrific, with sharp textures and clean edges throughout the scenery.  Again, our Aniso settings were in 64 Tap or 8X mode.  This setting however, may be a little too much for a Bot Match test, which is also more realistic with respect to normal game play.  On the other hand, again your limiting factor with the Bot Match test, at high res with AA and Aniso, is fill rate and the graphics card.  We're more interested in CPU performance, so we opted or the lighter duty Fly By demo.

 

The Shuttle SB51G is as near perfect as any mini PC in this class, that we've seen to date.  There are a couple of features we would have liked to see, that would have allowed a perfect 10 score, namely AGP8X compliance and CPU Voltage modification in the BIOS.  The lack of support for AGP8X is a limitation of the Intel i845 chipset that was used in this implementation.  We're hopeful that Shuttle has a Granite Bay based version coming soon.  Although AGP8X is far from mature, in terms of real-world performance advantages, it's a checklist item that is going to become more of a real performance feature, as more graphics cards are released, along with games that can take advantage of the extra bus bandwidth.

What has to be the most impressive aspect of the SB51G from Shuttle, is the fact that in every situation, this tiny cube computer performs on par with its full sized counterparts, based on the similar configurations.  Add to the mix, its 3 Firewire, 4 USB 2.0 ports, on board 10/100 Ethernet and 5.1 AC '97 Sound, and you've got a great little system that packs the punch and features of something more than three times its size.

We're giving the Shuttle SB51G XPC a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of

 

And once again, Shuttle pulls down the EC Award for Innovation and Excellence.

 

Discuss this or any other Hot Hardware Review in the PC Hardware Forum!

 

Tags:  Shuttle, PC, XPC, XP

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