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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  • CrystalBay - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Nice review, 375.00 is that Shuttle's retail price ?

    I like the PSU is there any rating on the 12v line.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    8 - I didn't have any difficulty installing a DVD drive into the SN25P. The "button" has a fairly large range of movement, which allows it to work well. Also, the screw-less design of the CD worked well for me.

    As far as the graphs go, my intention is to actually go back and add in figures for the SN95G5 and Soltek 3901-300 Pro when I finish testing them, so in the future the charts will hopefully become more meaningful. Having only run one set of benchmarks for this particular configuration made the benchmarks somewhat superfluous for the time being. :|
    Reply
  • Gioron - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    One thing that I noticed was that all the noise and heat graphs were on their own seperate scale. This might not be as big a deal when there are multiple cases on the chart, but when there is only one it makes it impossible to just run your eye down the chart and see what the range is. I'd really recommend picking the largest scale and sticking with it for all the charts (and preferably, do the same when there is more than one case on those graphs).

    Other than that minor layout glitch, a fairly good review. One thing I was wondering, however, was how well the cover over the CD drive works. I know my G5 series case takes a lot of tweaking to get the CD drive positioned just right so that the button will actually open the drive, have they improved that in the P series chasis?
    Reply
  • OrSin - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Not impressed at all.
    Case too big, and no PCI slot is huge turn off for me.
    I think alot SSF users use thier system as HTPC and this system just will not work. I would perfer a wider case, than a taller one. And no PCI slot means no TV tuner or FTA cards.

    Maybe I will wait for the one with the ATI motherboard, or the Biostar or just get a HTPC case and get a real motherboard in it.

    Oh yeah $400 is little steap even for SFF cases.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    #5 - blame my camera. It's definitely NOT a high-end model. Most of the external shots were provided by Shuttle, so I used those as a better quality image. The front panel *does* have a speckled look to it. Maybe I'll see about upgrading to a better camera in the future. Right now, the originals are taken at 2048x1536 (the max of my 3 MP Fuji camera), but after cropping and misc. cleanup I resized them to a more manageable format. Reply
  • IceWindius - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Ok, why do alot of these picture in their large format look very grainy like it was done in 640x480 mode? Reply
  • IceWindius - Wednesday, March 9, 2005 - link

    Well see how well this machine does in the reliable department as many people complained about the SN95g's issues.

    That and I want to see Creative make a PCI-E soundcard as well as onboard sucks period.
    Reply
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - link

    #1...for the most part i agree that overclocking wont be a issue with a lot of SFF buyers. One point of concern for me would be the absence of a PCI slot for standard PCI periphrials..such as a TV tuner card..which i have in my system and use frequently.
    This does look like an attractive device though with a little extra room than most SFF's and a Power Supply with some performance margin in it.
    Reply
  • pbrain - Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - link

    Fantastic review. Now, where and when are they going be available?! Reply
  • segagenesis - Tuesday, March 8, 2005 - link

    And I thought my SN41G2 was expensive at $300 when it was new. Ouch!

    Good review, however. I dont think overclocking is a major selling point for a SFF when most people want one for noise/size/convenience.
    Reply

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