This is the second of the only two XPCs from Shuttle that use the P2 chassis. The first was the SN27P2 for AMD’s AM2 socket. This means that both XPCs are similar, if not exact on the outside and inside, except for the motherboard of course. In fact, if you read our review on the SN27P2, you can obviously tell that the two SFFs look exactly alike.
Shuttle has always stuck with the simple and elegant exterior designs for their XPCs. There are no flashing lights, no ‘bling bling’. This is in good measure too, since SFFs are supposed to be small, out of the way, and not distracting to the user. The new P2 chassis stays with those guidelines. The front is very simple. There are three buttons on a silver strip along the right side. They take care of the power, hard drive activity and optical drive buttons. The single 5.25” external bay and 3.5” bay are covered by brushed aluminum doors. The XPC logo is large enough to be seen, but not large enough to be distracting. The sides are plain with ventilation holes. The rear of the XPC is very standard. There is a 70mm power supply fan, and two 60mm fans hidden behind fan grilles (these grilles are a little too restrictive in our opinion, but more on that later). You can also see the only two expansion slot covers.
The rear ports on the Shuttle SD37P2 are numerous and fully featured. There are 6 USB2.0 ports, a 1394 Firewire port, an external SATA, one gigabit Ethernet port, and 8-channel audio. There is also coaxial and a tiny external clear CMOS button, so you don’t have to open up and poke around in the tiny chassis every time your overclock fails. We encountered a small problem that did not appear on the other P2-based Shuttle. As you can see in the pictures above, the motherboard was not seated properly, so the backplate interfered with the USB ports and the 1394 Firewire port. Fortunately, reseating the motherboard solved this issue.
Another potential issue that may or may not affect you with the new P2 chassis is the lack of legacy ports. Even though technology is moving rapidly to USB-everything, many people still have PS/2 keyboards and mice. Shuttle could have relocated the ‘Clear CMOS’ button somewhere else, like the front panel, and inserted PS/2 ports.
The front ports of the XPC are pretty standard, and are found on just about every quality case out on the market. There are audio-out and microphone-in. The other ports are two USB2.0 and a mini-Firewire jack. The 3.5” external bay is covered by a door that you push to open. Here you can install a hard drive, card reader or floppy drive. There is also a reset button that can only be accessed with a pointy object, such as a pen.
Now let’s open up the Shuttle SD37P2 and take a look inside.