Intel’s Core 2 CPUs have been out for exactly 6 months
now, and there are very limited choices of small form factor (SFF) cases for the Core 2. In fact, the only option here in the US is the Shuttle SD37P2. Despite the lack of competition, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Shuttle has almost always been first in delivering an SFF for any particular platform. They were first to make an SFF for the AM2 Socket, the SN27P2
, which is still the only SFF for AM2.
An SFF PC is roughly the size of a child’s shoebox, but packs the same punch as the behemoth 50lb full towers many of us own. The obvious advantages of this chassis format are its size, weight, and portability. The XPC does all this without sacrificing performance. However, because of the powerful components in the small volume, heat is often a problem. Another issue with these small computers is their upgradeability. There are only two expansion slots in an XPC/SFF case versus 6-7 on a normal ATX motherboard. There is also limited space for hard drives. The P2 chassis provides a maximum of 3, while full tower cases can provide up to 6 spaces. Shuttle has done much to combat these deficiencies with new technologies that we’ll discuss later on in this article.
Shuttle is undoubtedly the leader of all SFF companies. Shuttle Computer was founded in 1983 and was mainly and OEM manufacturer of motherboards until 2001, when they introduced their first XPC (Shuttle’s SFF line), the SV24. This was named the 15th greatest landmark in PC history. By 2003, the XPC line featured chipsets from all major manufacturers: Intel, NVIDIA, Sis and VIA. By 2004, Shuttle had shipped 1 million XPCs. Finally, in 2005, their latest advance was enabling NVIDIA’s SLI technology into the XPC chassis.
It is now almost 2007, and Shuttle has released a new SFF for its newest P2 chassis. The SD37P2 combines Core 2 Duo (and Quad) support with ATI’s Crossfire graphics, which is a first for SFF. The SD37P2 also supports 8GB of RAM, another first. The detailed technical specifications are below.
|Shuttle SD37P2 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Socket T (LGA775) - Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme, Pentium D, Pentium 4,|
|Chipset||Intel 975X Express + ICH7R|
|Memory||4 x 240 pin DDR2 SDRAM at 533/667 MHz Dual channel DDR support up to 8GB|
|LAN||1 x Broadcom BCM5789 PCI Express Gigabit Controller|
|Seria ATA||SATAII, RAID 0, 1, 5, Intel Matrix Storage Technology--Three internal, one eSATA|
|FireWire||VIA Firewire Controller|
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCI Express x16|
|Rear panel I/O||2 x S/PDIF (Optical & Coaxial) output|
1 x S/PDIF Optical Input
1 x RJ45 (LAN)
6 x USB 2.0
1 x line-in/line-out/mic (audio)
Additional line-outs for 7.1 channel audio
1 x CMOS Reset button
|Internal I/O||4 X Serial ATA II connectors|
1 x UDMA ATA 100/66 Bus Master IDE connectors
1 x FDD connector
3 x cooling fan pin headers
|Power Supply||400W SilentX|
Now let’s take a look at the actual product.