Introduction

NVIDIA just launched the nForce4 chipset towards the end of last year, and only now are we beginning to see a large number of motherboards in the retail channel that use the chipset. The SFF market often lags even further behind in terms of supporting the latest and greatest chipsets, except for the market leader Shuttle. February 22 marks the launch of their latest offering, and we figured that many of our readers would love to find out more about it.

Amazingly, socket 939 SFF systems are not at all plentiful – in fact, Athlon 64 in general is not as well represented as Pentium 4 in the SFF arena. Considering the better thermal characteristics of the latest AMD processors relative to their Intel counterparts, we would have thought that more companies would be supporting them. The Intel name still carries a lot of weight, particularly in the world of chipsets, so perhaps that's part of the story. The lack of chipsets with integrated graphics could be playing a role as well, as only the outdated VIA K8M800 is currently shipping. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that there are few socket 939 SFFs on the market.

In our future SFF reviews and roundups, we'll include the benchmark results for the SN25P. For now, the latest addition really doesn't fit in with any of the other categories, at least in terms of features. Let's get on to the details. If you haven't checked out our last roundup, you should at least read our SFF Reviewing Guidelines to understand our approach. We'll be talking more about where the latest XPC fits in with those criteria in a bit.

Note: This is really an extensive review of the Shuttle P series chassis as well as the SN25P in particular. The SB81P and SB95P use the same basic setup, only with different motherboards and chipsets. We will be referring back to this article when we look at those two SFFs in the future.

Aesthetics
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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Feeling a little melodramatic, are we Grug? "5X and look terrible." Yes, and we're looking at massive 50K file sizes. The larger JPG was provided from Shuttle, so converting it to a different format would have reduced the size, but it wouldn't have improved the quality. In the future, I'll be sure to use GIF/PNG for such screenshots, but given that we're only saving 120KB of size for the whole article, it's not a big deal.

    As a side commentary: If you're surfing on a modem, each page of AnandTech (with ads) would still come in at about 170K without any additional images. The entire article with thumbnails comes to about 1.2 MB, and the size of all 12 pages with additional layout data would be around 3 MB. An increase of 3% or less in total content size (not even counting the higher resolution images). I don't see why anyone would notice or care.

    As it stands, I don't have the original screen captures, so we're stuck with the gigantic JPG images that show compression artifacts when you zoom in to 200% or more. Sorry.
    Reply
  • grug2k - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Ugh. Please use 8-bit PNG or GIF for your CPU-Z screenshots and the like. Those JPEGs are 5x the size and look terrible. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    re: #17 - Updated nForce4 informations:

    The nF4 Standard version does not support SATA-II and there is supposedly a mintor difference in the networking controller. Nothing major relative to the Ultra, I'd say.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Remember that the relative size of this case isn't that bad. It's about the same as the Soltek cases, and is roughly 1" longer, wider, and taller than the G5 XPC chassis. Are people really that concerned about an extra inch? I'm not.

    The lack of a PCI slot is something of a problem for now. If you can get a PCIe card with VIVO, you can get around that limitation, but that's about all I can say for now. Are there *any* X1 PCIe cards on the market yet? I'm not aware of any, and after almost a year of existence that's rather telling. NICs will probably be the first thing to show up, but more people are interested in audio and TV-tuner than in network support, I think.

    Finally, I was incorrect in my classification of the chipset. It is actually the "nForce4 Standard", which is not a version I had heard of until now. Aparently it adds official 5X HT support and the hardware firewall. Really, I'm not entirely sure how it's different from the Ultra. The article is updated with this information.
    Reply
  • arswihart - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    it is nice, but I really appreciate an SFF when its as small as, say the Zen st62k, which I bought for my parents.

    When an sff gets to the size and price of this sn25p, it gets harder to choose this rather limiting and relatively expensive alternative to a standard ATX case with quiet cooling.
    Reply
  • eastvillager - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    I think the price is fine, just look at what you get, lol.

    Custom case, nf4 mobo, custom 350watt ps, drive cables, heatsink/pipe, 5 fans, etc.

    This isn't the box you use to build your pvr, so don't worry about no pci slots for a tv tuner. If you want to build a pvr/htpc/etc., pick a smaller box.

    Nice review, btw. :-)
    Reply
  • GoatHerderEd - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    #13 and everyone complaining about price: Shuttle can demand that price. They were the first, and they have some of the best quality or at least perceived quality. If people wouldn’t buy at that price, it wouldn’t be that high.

    I don’t see you complaining about Intel Prices, it is a very similar pricing strategy.
    Reply
  • WooDaddy - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    $400+ is the killer for me.. I think Shuttle is losing sight here..

    Jarod, let us know when you update those graphs. That's the real kicker for most of us here too. Subjective audio analysis doesn't really do it for me. BTW, just your personal opinion.. is it still safe to go AGP for the next 2+ years?

    What I'd LOVE to see is a version of the Kloss KL-I915A with socket 939 and Nf4. Check out http://www.klosspc.com/ and you'll see what I mean..
    Hell even the Asus S-presso would be nice..
    Reply
  • arswihart - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    i think it would have been better to have a pci slot than a pcie slot, thats really the worst thing about this sff imo Reply
  • sideshow23bob - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Is anyone else concerned about the lack of PCI slots, wouldn't that be necessary to install a tv tuner, unless you went with an ALL In Wonder GPU? Do they make tuners for PCIex1? Reply

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