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Shuttle shows off small and mighty DS81 mini-PC

by Mark Tyson on 11 March 2014, 11:30

Tags: Shuttle

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Shuttle is exhibiting at CeBIT and has an interesting new mini-PC on show. The all-new DS81 measures just 19 x 16.5 x 4.3cm but can be equipped with a user-upgradeable processor up to and including a 65W Intel Haswell i7 chip. It uses heat-pipe technology for cooling and offers users a plethora of connectivity options. Shuttle is aiming this VESA mountable chassis at "high-performance vertical markets," including digital signage.

The Shuttle DS81 uses an LGA 1150 socket Intel H81 Express Chipset motherboard. Users can fit a fourth generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7 65W Haswell processor of their choice. Depending upon the processor you will have a graphics chip up to an Intel HD 4600. The processor can be paired with up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3 1600 SODIMM memory (2 slots). Keeping things cool Shuttle employs its "exclusive" heat pipe cooling module with smart fan design. This is said to result in a highly stable system that offers low noise operation. Also with an eye on reliability Shuttle uses industrial solid capacitors.

As mentioned in the intro this system is small. 19 x 16.5 x 4.3cm equates to a smidgeon over the size of an olde 5.25-inch CD burner on my parts shelf (19 x 14.5 x 4.1cm). Shuttle equates this to 1.3 litres and says that as the system doesn't use a daughterboard it is easy to assemble and offers good airflow.

The DS81 has the capability to output via its DisplayPort connectors to 4K Ultra HD displays. Users also have dual-display output options thanks to the provision of two DisplayPort connectors and one HDMI out. Overall the Shuttle DS81 has plenty of connectivity options including, externally; six built-in USB 2.0 ports, two USB3.0 ports, two RS232 ports, Dual Gigabit LAN, Audio I/O (Realtek ALC662), SD card reader and the aforementioned 2x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI connections. Internally there is a single SATA 3 connector a SATA 2 connector, a single 2.5-inch bay and two expansion slots including a full size Mini-PCIE socket (m-SATA support) and a half sized Mini-PCIE socket.

The system is supplied with a VESA mount and runs Windows 8.1, Windows 7 or Linux. The Shuttle DS81 is powered from a 90W power brick which outputs 19V, 4.47A and can be switched on remotely and by RTC events. The barebones system is expected to be available from next week starting at 178 Euros.



HEXUS Forums :: 8 Comments

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Why 2 RS232 ports? They've got rid of legacy VGA and PS/2, who would need 2 serial ports on a device like this?

That said: as someone tweeted to me this could make a decent-ish homelab box for anyone tinkering with virtualisation. You have 2 NICs, an mSATA port for an SSD and a SATA port for spinning rust, so this might be a good target for a 3 node VSAN cluster. Wonder if Shuttle want to send me some bits to test?
Splash
Why 2 RS232 ports? They've got rid of legacy VGA and PS/2, who would need 2 serial ports on a device like this?
Presumably someone who wants to use this in an industrial setting - you'd be surprised how much gear out there is still using good ole '232. Last thing I came across was a product conveyor system (like Amazon use in their warehouses).
Splash
That said: as someone tweeted to me this could make a decent-ish homelab box for anyone tinkering with virtualisation. You have 2 NICs, an mSATA port for an SSD and a SATA port for spinning rust, so this might be a good target for a 3 node VSAN cluster. Wonder if Shuttle want to send me some bits to test?
Downside is that I've always found Shuttle's to run hot and noisy. So I can't help thinking that you might be able to get something more expandable and cheaper (but larger unfortunately) by raiding Scan and getting something Mini-ITX based. Prices on the old 1155 gear seems okay, and an I7-3770T is only 45W and still supports the virtualisation extensions. Downside with the smaller DS81 is that when you come to populate it you're going to have to pay top dollar because you need small units, e.g. laptop style RAM, 2.5“ drives, etc.

I was browsing the other day because my current virtualisation ”lab" is a eBay'd C2D laptop. Not the fastest but it does the job. Especially when hooked up to a nice eSata crate with hardware RAID0 for hosting the VM's.
an i7-3770T is OTT for HTPC use - I know I have one. But at 45W there are a number of fanless cases that can handle it even when media encoding something as intense as Blu-ray + 5.1 sound at ultra high quality settings.

As Shuttles typically run hot and noisy I will wait for a full review
This would be good if it had the option of the recently reviewed (by Hexus) i7-4770R with Iris Pro graphics.
crossy
Presumably someone who wants to use this in an industrial setting - you'd be surprised how much gear out there is still using good ole '232. Last thing I came across was a product conveyor system (like Amazon use in their warehouses).

A fair point, but that kind of industrial kit usually comes from a pretty bespoke supplier, not Shuttle. I can't see the value in their target market is all.