Those Shuttle's are damn nice

Wow, so I’m getting ready to move and I’m shopping to replace my bulky 70-pound 21-inch CRT with a slim, beautiful LCD, and then I stumble on the Shuttle boxes.

Daaaaaamn… now I want one. I got a bulky ATX mid-size tower case that’s about 5 years old, and it scratches up the desk its on because the little rubber feet disappeared a while ago. And like I said, I’m moving and it’s gonna be a tight fit to pack my stuff in my car.

It’s just a sweet little box. And with the Nforce2 Ultra built-in, all you really need to do is plug in your video card and you’re set. Everything else is already on the motherboard.

Anyone have one? How loud are those little things? And is the 200-Watt power supply enough?

I’ve been playing with these shuttle boxes for the last few generations. I don’t have one of the nforce boxes anymore, though – I sold my last box a few weeks ago for spending money. :)

The SN45G2 (which is, I think, the one you were looking at) is a nice box! It’s a little loud, but nothing compared to the early shuttles (which sounded like jet engines). The performance is good, too.

You’ll probably want to mod it for noise (make it quieter) and airflow (it can use some improvements).

Check out the reviews and forums at http://www.sfftech.com for great info on the shuttles and competitors (i think Denny recently got an iDEQ, which looks to be a damn sweet box, too!)

I bought a Shuttle AK35GT2/R motherboard last month to replace my busted ECS K7VTA3 3 and I’m extremely happy with it. It was cheap, it has built in surround sound and raid, and it supports up to an Athlon XP 3000!

The whole Shuttle product line seems to be incredibly top notch.

:D

Yeah, check out the Biostar IDEQ line. Some improvements over the Shuttles – a bit quieter, better ergonomics (easier access to components, it can accomodate a double-wide AGP card if you don’t use the PCI slot, etc.), and it has a neat sliding door to cover the non-matching drives.

I’ve been using a 200N for a month or two now and I’m very pleased with it. The Shuttles are nice too, but after reading the messages and reviews on sites like SFFTech it sounded like the general consensus was that Biostar currently has the jump on Shuttle.

The clincher for me was that the Shuttle power supply apparently has problems with the ATI All-in-Wonder on startup. I’m running an AIW 9800 Pro in my iDEQ and it’s rock solid.

The Shuttle boxes are well-designed, but there are alternatives.

We reviewed the Nforce2 Ultra (SN45G2) and 865G (SB61G2) here:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,1212718,00.asp

We also reviewed the Athlon64 version:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,1300230,00.asp

I gotta admit, though it’s a nice package, it’s noisy.

Jason Cross just wrapped up a pair of Aopen Xcubes:

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,3973,1341836,00.asp

I also just got a Shuttle cube based on the Intel 875P chipset, complete with built-in 802.11b. It’s pretty sweet, too.

Hey Lloyd,

Thinking of picking up the shuttle tomorrow. But I was wondering, I’m going to canabalize my existing desktop for components for the shuttle, but do I even need to bother with a floppy drive anymore?

Do we have to have one to post on a Shuttle system? Or can it be skipped? I mean, I haven’t had a reason to use a floppy disk in over a year. But is it still required?

Thanks

Not sure if I read it here or not, the 9600 All-in-Wonder supposedly works really well on the Shuttle boxes.

— Alan

Unless you’re installing a custom disc drive controller (RAID array), you don’t need the floppy. Even if you were (which is possible, but a little silly in one of these cube PCs), you can always temporarily attach a floppy while the case is open, then remove it after the Windows install.

But no floppy is required just to post. I run several of these little boxes with no floppy drive.

If the 9800 has trouble, was it a Bios issue with Shuttle? Or a driver issue with ATI?

Heck, I run my big box with no floppy drive. When I was buying parts, I realized that it had been years since I’d used one for anything. With the advent of “boot from CD,” their days of usefulness were pretty much over. The floppy drive is like the appendix of the PC world.

I still need a floppy drive in my “big rig” because Win XP doesn’t have drivers built in for my Promise PC133 controller. So I gotta use the floppy when doing an XP (re)install.

But I didn’t put a floppy in my iDEQ. No need.

The AIW 9700/9800 problems appear to be power related. There are a number of discussion about the ATI/Shuttle problems over at Rage3d.com, SFFtech.com, and Ars Technica. I believe some people had problems with standard Radeon boards as well.

This may be fixed on the newer Shuttle designs, but it was common on their NForce2 cases.

I had no issues on the SN45G2 with a Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB. Haven’t tried an AIW 9800. The SN45G2 is somewhat newer, though.

The SN85G4, which supports Athlon 64, now has a more robust 240W P/S.

Okay Denny, you’re pretty much my wingman on this… I’m going with your recs.

Ordered an Ideq 200N box, as well as a silver Samsung 191t LCD from Newegg just now. And I’m bumping up my processor to a Athlon 2800 Barton and the 333MHz bus. Plus, the Barton is .13, which means it runs a little bit cooler, so hopefully it won’t generate as much noise as my current .18 Athlon 2100, as the fans are supposedly “smart” and adjust speed due to current heatload.

All this partly in order to get a small, slim system that’s easy to move to California, but also cause it looks damn cool. Just hope my LCD doesn’t have any dead pixels… most of the user reviews on Newegg happily report no deads at all.

Woolen,

I think you’ll like it! I have a 191t on my main system and it had no dead pixels.

The 200N is really quiet. The smartfan software works pretty well – and you can manually adjust it as well. I sometimes to go to manual and crank the fan up when I know I’m going to be gaming for a while (and where the fan noise is going to be drowned out by the game anyway), then drop it back down to auto for more productive activities.

I’m running a 2500 which I’ve bumped up to 2800 specs with no stability problems (and without even raising the voltage). I run it at 2500 day to day as I don’t need the extra speed for the stuff I run on the iDEQ.

Are you going to put a video card in the system? (I’d assume so, since you’ll be gaming.) Which one?

GeForce4 Ti 4400 for now. In a few months, I’ll upgrade to a DX9 card. But yeah, I definately plan on using the DVI connector.

Yeah, that’s what I was mainly concerned about… The 191t looks better on DVI, as you’d suspect.

Plus the onboard video on the Nforce2 is… well, usable in an emergency. :)

Hey Denny, how do you update the BIOS on those IDEQ’s? Do I need to have a floppy drive to boot from? Or do they have a Windows utility that will flash the BIOS?

Also, I’ve heard that the one problem with the Samsung LCD is that on boot, it takes a few seconds for it to display anything, so you literally miss the POST information. That true?

I believe there is a Windows utility to flash the BIOS, but there’s also a BIOS flash utility built right into the BIOS screen. That’s what I used. You don’t need a floppy on the system, if that’s why you’re wondering – I didn’t put one in.

The Samsung does take about 5 seconds to become active after it first gets a signal. I have two monitors and the other one comes up right away, so that never bugged me. But if you needed to see something on POST, you could always just hit reset after about 5 seconds and you’d see the post info then.

So that’s where Jason ended up. How did he get hooked up with those losers :D The hardware section is a group of guys who couldn’t hack it anymore in the magazine biz.

-DavidCPA

I just ordered the Q200N to build a media center PC. I’m mating it with an Athlon 2600+ and an ATI Radeon All-in-Wonder 9600 Pro. Can’t wait to see the results.

I’ve never built a PC from scratch before - when I get the AMD CPU (it’s a retail box, not OEM), will it come with everything I need as far as cooling? I know it has a fan, but will it have adhesive or do I need to buy that seperately?

Anyone using SnapStream 3 regularly? I’ll probably use that as my PVR software.