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Shuttle SB65G2 XPC with ClearView cover - The Little guy packing a Big punch

Put together one of Shuttle's latest XPC small form factor computers and a tuned Intel Springdale chipset and you have some serious performance from a little guy packing a big punch!
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sat, Nov 1 2003 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Shuttle

Shuttle SB65G2 - Introduction

IntroductionIt wasn't too long ago when if you wanted a compact computer you either had to make it yourself or sacrifice performance for size. It only took one company around about 18 months ago to decide that this wasn't good enough and that company was Shuttle. Thanks to this Taiwanese based company, we now have that little guy (XPC) packing just as big a punch as people with full sized, 30kg systems.This is the third Shuttle XPC we have had a chance to look at and the other two far from disappointed us. So as soon as we saw one coming with wireless LAN support and the lovely Springdale chipset we couldn't help but get excited over it.Let's see what this small black beast has under its hood and now it competes against one of the fastest Intel Pentium 4 based motherboards on the market today.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Specifications

SpecificationsIntel 865PE based XPCdelivers a full-value, high-performancesolution for today's most demanding tasks.I.C.E. Heat-PipeHigh performance and efficient to make CPUand system work in stable environmenttemperature.Space saving, powerful functionCompact outside, Smart inside.Form FactorProcessorIntel Pentium 4/Celeron in the 478 pin package with400/533/800MHz FSBChipsetsIntel 865PE/ICH5MemoryTwo x 184 pin DDR 266/333/400 Dual ChannelDDR DIMM slots up to 2GBOn board header2 x UDMA100 IDE Ports1 x FDD PortCD_In headersIEEE 1394aVIA VT6307, complies with 1394 OHCI specificationrevision 1.0, up to 400Mb/s data transfer rateAudioOn board Realtek ALC650 six channel audioFast EthernetOn board Realtek 8100B supports 10 Mb/s and 100Mb/s LAN operationFront Panel2 x USB ports 1 x mini1394 port1 x Line-in 1 x Mic-In1 x Power-On button1 x Reset buttonBack panel4 USB2.0 Ports1 PS/2 Keyboard Port,1 PS/2 Mouse Port1 IEEE1394 connector1 Rear out, 1x Front out, 1x Center/Bass connectors1 RJ45 LAN Port1 Serial Ports1 PCI slot,1 AGP 8X/4X mode slotExtension Bay2 x 3.5" bays 1 x 5.25" bayDimension300(L)x200(W)x185(H)mm, 2.85Kg (N.W.), 4.65Kg(G.W.)MaterialAluminumPowerDimension: 82(W) x 43(H) x 190(D) mm (Max)Input: 110 / 230V ACOutput: 220W(PFC)EMI Certified: FCC, CE, BSMISafty Certified: UL, TUV, CBPower Cord: Depends on specific region demandAccessories1 x Mainboard User manual1 x Mainboard CD-Driver1 x XPC Installation Guide1 x I.C.E Technology CPU heat-pipe1 x FDD CableSerial ATAIntel ICH5 built in supports two Serial ATA portsAGP Slots1 AGP V3.0 , 1.5V , 4X/8X mode SlotPCI Slots1 PCIWireless Module build in802.11b WLAN USB Modulemulti-data transfer ratesmall and compact, easy to install on XPC unit360° all direction antenna1 x HDD Cable1 x CD-ROM Cable1 x SATA Cable1 x SATA Power cordScrewsTwin Adhesive

Shuttle SB65G2 - First Look and Diving In

First Look and Diving InFirst LookIt's always exciting to see a PC that is 1/3 the size of your normal computer yet can still hold the latest graphics cards and a couple hundred gig of hard drive space. And as far as style goes, the most discerning will sit and notice how sleek the black XPC is.
Spinning it around, quickly you notice a few things - First off the USB, Firewire and sound ports at the front, and optical ports at the rear as well as a place to attach the antenna for wireless LAN through its onboard 802.11B controller.
When having a quick look at it, the only thing you really want to do is open it up and stick all your hardware in and boot it up and get things on the move.
Diving In- The ContentsIncluded in the retail box is everything you need to get your XPC up and running. We have the XPC manual, CD to install the drivers (not that we recommend using the ones found on the CD since newer drives will be online), Serial ATA cable, a cut up IDE cable so it easily fits in the case as well as a floppy cable and finally your antenna to get your wireless LAN up and running in no time.- I.C.E. CoolingThe Integrated Cooling Engine or I.C.E as it is known is what keeps the XPC running cool enough to work without any problems. Using the widely known heat pipe technology, you get a good understanding on how it works simply by looking at it. The fan cools what pretty much is a radiator with pipes going down to the block which is on top of the processor. The fan cools the pipes, the pipes cool the block and the block cools the processor. It's quite easy to understand heat pipe technology as it is simple in nature and why it is used in such a case like this.
If a fan was placed directly on top of the block, the processor would have trouble getting the air it needed to cool the processor effectively.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Diving In Continued

Diving In Continued- Wireless NetworkingThe Shuttle SB65G2 is the first Shuttle XPC we have received that includes an in-built USB wireless controller. Unfortunately the built-in wireless controller is only 802.11B but after recently looking further into some 802.11G networking equipment, we discovered that it might not be as big a deal as we thought as the faster 802.11G protocol tries to find its feet.
As well as the wireless adapter, we also have an onboard 10/100 LAN controller. This means you are not forced to using the slower wireless adapter. This will be a handy feature since these cases are so easy to move, "plugging" into a wireless network won't be a problem.- Serial ATA PowerOne feature that we didn't expect to find within the SB65G2 Shuttle was the inclusion of a Serial ATA power connector - something that is only making its way to latest power supplies now. It is little things like this that put Shuttle a head of the competition who are only just entering the game.
- The MotherboardThe motherboard in the Shuttle SB65G2 isn't anything spectacular but it does have everything we need to get an excellent Pentium 4 based system up and running. One thing you notice is that only two DDR slots are included but it should suffice for most people.
The motherboard uses the Intel Springdale chipset which is known to be one of the better Intel chipsets on the market right now, offering comparable performance to the more expensive PAT-enabled Canterwood. Shuttle also offers a Canterwood version of the XPC which we would assume is quicker due to it being an overall faster chipset.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - Test System Setup and SiSoft Sandra

Desktop Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz "C"Motherboard ABIT IC7 MAX3 (Supplied by Altech Computers)Video card(s): PowerColor Radeon 9800 Pro (Supplied by Altech Computers)Memory: 2 X 256MB Geil PC3500 (Supplied by Geil)Hard Disk(s): Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM Serial ATA (Supplied by Altech Computers)XPC Test System SetupProcessor(s): Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz C Video card(s): Gigabyte Radeon 9800 Pro (Supplied by Synnex Australia) Memory: 2 X 256MB Geil PC3500 (Supplied by Geil) Hard Disk(s): Maxtor 80GB 7200RPM Serial ATA (Supplied by Altech Computers)Operating System Used: Windows XP Professional SP1Drivers Used: Catalyst 3.5Software Used: SiSoft Sandra MAX 3, 3D Mark 03, 3D Mark 01, Comanche 4, Unreal Tournament 2003, Quake 3, PC Mark 2002 and Jedi Knight 2As usual, we included a host of benchmarks that not only test the theoretical maximum of a product but also what it is capable of when it comes to real world gaming.When it came to testing video, we choose two resolutions - first 640 X 480 which helps test the motherboard, chipset, processor and memory. While this is all good and well no one with this product will be gaming at this resolution in this day and age, so for that reason we also include 1280 X 1024 to give people a better idea of real world performance.- SiSoft Sandra Max 3SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) MAX3 is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.- Buffered
As you would have expected, the memory bandwidth is lower due to the lack of PAT, minus this we still see a very healthy score.- Un Buffered
Again the lack of PAT brings the score down but its nothing to worry about as it still scores very high.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - PCMark 2002

PCMark2002PCMark2002 is a completely new, multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark2002 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark2002 also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other MadOnion.com benchmarks.
Here we see quite a big difference between the two motherboards with just under 1000 marks separating them.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - 3DMark 2001

3DMark2001 SE3DMark2001 SE is part of the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 8.1 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce4), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments. Build 330 adds support for video cards that have Vertex Shaders but no Pixel Shaders.- 640 X 480
Moving over to gaming at 640 X 480 we see that Shuttle's latest XPC is hot on the trail of the new MAX3 speedster from ABIT.- 1280 X 1024
Moving up to the higher resolution we see that the SB65G2 has no problems keeping pace.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - 3DMark 2003

3DMark 20033DMark03 is the latest installment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.- 640 X 480
Moving to the latest version of 3DMark 2003, the XPC is only just behind the faster Canterwood based motherboard.- 1280 X 1024
Even when we move to the higher resolutions, we see a similar picture with only a small margin separating them.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - Comanche 4

Comanche 4Comanche 4 is a helicopter simulation using the DirectX 8.1 graphics interface. It is used to test the memory and 3D sub systems of a motherboard and video processor. Any weaknesses will show up.- 640 X 480
Moving over to Comanche 4, we see only a few frames separating both products.- 1280 X 1024
Moving to the higher resolution barely affects the performance of the Shuttle XPC.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 2003

Unreal Tournament 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight on to the 3D and Memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to pull this one off.- 640 X 480
The XPC was just falling behind with the ABIT MAX3 passing an average of 100FPS.- 1280 X 1024
Moving to the higher resolution, both are over an average of 90 FPS but the MAX3 is up one end with the Shuttle XPC not far behind at the other end.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - Quake 3

Quake 3Quake III Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a wide range of different products. Quake III is getting very old, but is still the best way of testing video and PC systems for any instabilities and best performance.- 640 X 480
Quake 3 is a bit of pointless benchmark these days but with all of that aside the MAX3 has a useless 15FPS on the Shuttle.- 1280 X 1024
Moving to a higher resolution, as you would expect we see a huge amount of FPS at very playable speeds. Keep in mind though, there could be a difference of 150 FPS and the game would still be very playable on both machines.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Benchmarks - Jedi Knight 2

Jedi Knight 2Jedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is an OpenGL game that many have been playing of late. It has greatly improved graphics over its predecessor and it fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use.- 640 X 480
While Jedi Knight 2 itself isn't that intensive, as soon as you through the map created for VIA we really see the video cards both take a good hammering. Both score quite low but the differences between both are still quite low as we have seen throughout.- 1280 X 1024
Finally we see the MAX3 take one more win which concludes the benchmarking.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Shuttle's Latest BIOS

Shuttle's Latest BIOSOnly a little while before we were due to post this review, Shuttle sent us out a press release talking about their latest BIOS for the Shuttle SB65G2 giving the ability to increase performance by as high as 30%.How could we ignore such claims? We just had to give it a run and see how it went.
Here we see the latest BIOS from Shuttle increase our memory performance by just under 400 points.
Under 3DMark 2001 we see that the latest BIOS affects video performance quite badly.
Moving to an actual gaming benchmark, we see the new BIOS take a hit of almost 30% which doesn't make the overall BIOS too exciting.Maybe we are missing something here but all BIOS settings were double checked and we had the same settings set for both BIOS's.

Shuttle SB65G2 - ClearView

ClearViewWhen it comes to accessorizing your XPC, there is not too much available than the normal accessories found on the Shuttle website - at least for the moment.When Outside Loop Computers who are based in the United States let us know they were interested in sending us over one of their brand new ClearView units designed specifically for Shuttle XPC computers, we couldn't help but say, "Yes, please!" The ClearView is a kit which includes three high quality plastic covers which are designed to replace the sides from Shuttle so you can see inside the case and add neon lights and all that kind of jazz.As far as installation goes, there isn't too much to say. One quick read over the instructions and we find ourselves getting straight in to installing the ClearView.One thing you do notice is that the installation of fans to the kit would be pointless due to the holes being placed so close to components inside the case - namely PSU and video card, at least with this model of XPC. You would have to install the fans on the outside of the case and it wouldn't look too cool. The installation only takes a minute and once installed this is what you have:
If you are looking for something a bit different when it comes to your XPC, there is no denying that the ClearView is definitely one cool product.If you are the owner of an XPC and want something a little different, ClearView is an absolute must and will not break the bank in the process.

Shuttle SB65G2 - Conclusion

ConclusionThere are a few questions here that pop up:- Did we expect it to beat the MAX3 in any of the benchmarks?- Did we expect it to be so close to the MAX3?Firstly, we did not expect the XPC to beat the MAX3 in any benchmarks. The MAX3 from ABIT is simply a faster motherboard and so it should be considering its using the faster Canterwood chipset. What did surprise was the fact that it was so close to the MAX3. Considering the price of the MAX3, for an extra couple of hundred dollars you could get yourself a nice XPC. Sure, it's not the best overclocker in the market and it does cater for a different market but at the end of the day it's going to be up to you what you want from a system and what you are prepared to spend.One thing that differs from this XPC compared to some of the others we have seen is the decision to have the AGP slot on the outside compared to the inside. This prevents you from using a GeForce FX card that takes up two slots as it hangs to the left. Maybe we are seeing some plot against nVidia by Shuttle (or nothing at all, for the record!), I guess though we will never know, none the less all of the latest ATI cards won't have a problem fitting in snugly. We have a fantastic little computer here that a lot of people will love. If you're someone who loves lots of hard drives you will quickly discover that the XPC won't fit your six hard drives pretty quickly - just like I did.We can only assume that the Canterwood version of the XPC will be quicker and may be able to keep up if not pass the MAX3 from ABIT. Shuttle has been doing a lot with the XPC market lately and if Computex 2003 in Taiwan was anything to go by, we should be seeing a lot more exciting products from them in the near future as well as other manufacturing trying desperately to get themselves a piece of the pie.Only at the last minute of writing this review did we receive the new BIOS from Shuttle and we had absolutely no luck with it. While memory performance was up everything else was down. The new BIOS doesn't change our opinion one bit on this excellent product though and we do recommend you keep the older one for the time being. - ProsLooks fantasticWorks brilliantlyEasy SetupExcellent Performance (with older BIOS) from Springdale chipsetATI video cards will fitBuilt-in 802.11B wireless will be handy for some- ConsNew GeForce FX cards that take up two slots will not fitCostly for some peopleOnly 802.11B wireless...but does it make a difference?Only two hard drive spaces New BIOS is far from a proRating - 9 out of 10

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.
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