Aesthetics

Shuttle pioneered the SFF market back in 2001 with their first XPC, and they've continued to refine and improve their design over the years. There were many fans of the G2 series in particular, and more recently, the G5 has turned a lot of heads. The G5 is their smallest design yet, and while it does not include all of the options that some would like, it does work very well as a standard computer. The front is attractive and conservative, and performance - both in speed as well as in noise levels - is very good.

Click on images to enlarge.

Taking a look at their latest P series, Shuttle has departed somewhat from the "smaller is better" philosophy of the G5 and is catering more towards the performance and enthusiast crowd. Externally, the front of the case is a silver/gray/blue finish with fold-down doors obscuring the 3.5" and optical drive bays. The SB81P and SB95P have a similar front panel, although in different colors. Starting at the top, we have the slots for flash memory, then the door for the optical drive; next is the floppy/3.5" door, and at the very bottom is a door for the front ports. The region containing the power and reset buttons is fixed, if you were wondering.

Click on images to enlarge.

For those interested in a minimalist design as far as lighting goes, the SN25P is great. The power button lights up with a faint blue glow, and above it is the HDD activity LED. There are no other lights or indicators to distract you. Some people might like more pizzazz from their computer, but most of us are fans of a more conservative approach. The SN25P is an attractive case that would work very well in a home or office environment.

There are a couple of small items that we would like to see addressed. First is the lack of a cover on the 3.5". If you use it for a hard drive or leave it empty, even though the door obscures it from view, we would like to have a cover in place. (Shuttle may include such a cover once the units start shipping to retail, but one was not present with our review unit.) The second may be a make-or-break deal for potential buyers, and that's the color of the front panel. We like it more than the shiny black of the SB81P, but others might prefer some other color scheme. At present, we are not aware of any alternative panels for the P series, so if you would like something other than the grayish-blue coating, you'll either have to do that on your own or you'll have to wait. These are admittedly very minor points, but for a case such as this, we expect everything to be "perfect".


Click to enlarge.

One last item that we have already hinted at is the size of the SN25P. It's larger than many of the older XPC cases, so if you truly want the smallest case possible, this is not it. You can see in our comparison photo how it measures up to the G5 chassis. It is larger in all three dimensions. You'll see in the features section why Shuttle has increased the size, and we really don't mind, considering all that has been added, but some might prefer a more minimalist approach, and for them, we would have to recommend sticking with the "tried and true" G5 chassis.

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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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