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Shuttle nForce2 XPC - Future of SFF - Features Continued

With the push towards the Small Form Factor PCs today its hard to choose from the lineup that is evergrowing. Shuttle started the SFF trend with the XPC line, and has continued to do so. Today Cameron "Sov" Johnson takes a look at the Shuttle SN41G XPC System. How does it fair? Take a look for yourself!

| SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Mar 25, 2003 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 1e+%      Manufacturer: Shuttle

Features (Continued)

 

The Board

 

 

The board itself is a Shuttle FN41 SFF based board. This board is based on a SFF propriety factor that is designed and manufactured by Shuttle. So this board is designed to only work with Shuttle XPC cases, so unless you plan to make your own case for this board, you won't be able to buy any other case for this unit.

 

The board comes equipped with 2 IDE connectors, 1 FDD connector, 2 DIMM sockets and 1x 20pin ATX and 1x 4pin AUX12V connector onboard. Layout wise this board is rather cramped, though considering what this unit is built for does explain this, with very limited space and a lot of features to pack onboard, everything had to go somewhere.

 

 

The SN41G2 is based on the nForce2 IGP with the MCP-T Southbridge. This chipset provides 200/266/333Mhz FSB support for the latest AMD Athlon XP CPU's. Dual Channel memory support is also provided by two DIMM slots onboard. 400Mhz memory modules are supported and up to 6.4GB/s memory bandwidth is achievable for extreme memory performance for the CPU and onboard video system the nForce2 IGP also provides for a built-in Geforce4 MX video controller. This controller runs at the same core speed as the MX440 classed video chip with a internal AGP4x interface. Memory for the video card is shared between the System memory. Up to 128MB of memory can be allocated to the video system so it is no slouch when it comes to available memory. Though you can assign this amount, you will what to have over 512MB of memory onboard to do this. To get the best available speed using onboard video you will want to use the system in Dual Channel memory mode to allow for the increased memory bandwidth to be diverted to the onboard graphics.

 

Due to the heat generated by the IGP with integrated video graphics, the Northbridge is cooled by an active fan assembly

 

The MCP-T Southbridge supports all of the latest features including USB 2.0, Dual Network controllers (though only one is used on this system) and Firewire support.

 

The Dolby Digital Certified APU is also provided onboard, so the enhanced sound of the nForce2 systems are provided with the SN41G2 XPC. The Southbridge of the SN41G2 is cooled by an passive Southbridge heatsink due to the fact the MCP-T heats up quite a bit.

 

 

The nForce2 MCP-T comes with a built in 3 port Firewire controller. Shuttle uses the Realtek RTL8801B PHY for interface between the onboard Firewire controller and the Codec. This is the first time we have seen this particular chip used.

 

 

The MCP-T Southbridge supplied the Network interface system. Shuttle has selected the Realtek RTL8201BL PHY interface. This has proven to be a winner on nForce2 based boards from many other companies using the nForce2 network controller.

 

 

Shuttle uses a standard I.C.E Cooling technology on the SN41G2 XPC. I.C.E stands for Integrated Cooling Engine. This consists of a heatpipe assembly with a large fan. A large alloy baseplate sits a top of the CPU, Screwed down to the chassis with 4 screws and base holes. This unit removed the heat generated by the die of the CPU. This heat is then transferred along 4 pipes to a radiator fin assembly. This assembly has a 80mm fan drawing air across the fins to cool the pipes transferring the heat. The hot air is vented out the back of the case.

 

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