Shuttle SN45 XPC SFF Barebones
Another addition to the rapidly expanding Shuttle XPC family has just been announced. Shuttle must just love it every time a chipset manufacturer decides to upgrade their range. This should entail a 'brand-new' Shuttle every few weeks, and all Shuttle have to do is place a revised motherboard in to the standard XPC chassis. The rest of cube generally doesn't need to be modified much, if at all.
So when NVIDIA detailed a couple of new boards to support the very latest Barton processors running from a native 200FSB, you can bet your bottom dollar that Shuttle were pleased. The two new boards are destined to be split on a cost and performance basis. The Ultra 400, the chipset that is used in the Shuttle for review today, is the performance, dual channel extension of the present nForce2. A second single channel chipset, code-named nForce2 400, will sacrifice a little performance by carrying only half the potential bandwidth of the Ultra 400, but when you consider the vagaries of the double-pumped Athlon CPU, you'll come to realise that the performance penalty will be no more than 5% in most cases.
We can surmise that the SN45 cube will be fast, especially with an XP3200 strapped under the I.C.E cooler. It will, however, do without any form of integrated video and the associated video-out capabilities. A lean, mean performance cube that will appease enthusiasts ? Let's now see if it's all that we hope.