The Shuttle XPC SN41G2
The Shuttle XPC series has been around approximately for a year. During its lifespan, it has been offered in various platforms based on the VIA PN133T, SiS650, SiS651, Intel 845GE, VIA P4M266A, VIA KM266, SiS740 and the latest addition based on the NVIDIA nForce2-GT. Since the XPC was meant to be a small all-in-one system, all the models come with on-board sound and graphics as standard features. The XPC offering an nForce2-GT platform goes by the model number SN41G2.
The Shuttle XPC SN41G2, like its predecessors, uses an all aluminium chassis. Most of the chassis of the XPC still remains from the original XPC since it had a well-conceived design internally and externally. This petite system is only 30cm deep, 20cm wide and 18.5cm tall and will only permit installation of two 3.5-inch drives and one 5.25-inch drive. In fact, the footprint of this system is no larger than that of a typical magazine laid flat thats how small it is. Systems of this size are possible because all Shuttle XPC systems are established on the Flex-ATX specifications. With such dimensions, an XPC system can fit in many environments and look dashing as well.
Look, Super bright-LEDs light up these indicators!
As seen from the picture, the HDD / Power status LEDs, Reset and Power buttons are all set in one row just below the XPC logo, while the bottom row consist of the following I/O connectors: SPDIF-out, Microphone-input, Headphone-output, two USB 2.0 ports and one Firewire port. Some of the older Shuttle XPCs also have an option to mount colored transparent acrylic covers to the front façade to further match its surroundings or just give a refreshing appearance. Although this does not seem possible on the SN41G2 and neither is it specified as an option on Shuttles website, we hope this minor enhancement will make its way to future SN41G2 bare-bone systems.
On the rear of the Shuttle XPC SN41G2 is a plethora of connectivity options. The two expansion slots on the chassis allow normal sized expansion cards to be installed, but not very long ones. In the middle is an exhaust outlet for the large cooling fan of the specialized CPU cooling system within.
Turning to the rear of the SN41G2 bare-bones system, we find a vastly different ATX I/O deck than what we normally encounter on other PCs. Systems fitted with a Flex-ATX motherboard such as this will have varying I/O placements suited to adapt itself to the numerous SFF chassis designs. Here is a run down on the rear ATX panel connectors:-
2x VGA output ports
1x S-Video TV-out port
1x Serial port
2x Firewire ports (IEEE1394)
2x USB 2.0 ports
1x PS2 (mouse)
1x PS2 (keyboard)
1x Center/Bass speaker output
1x Front Left / Right speaker output
1x Rear Left / Right speaker output
Yes, you read right. The motherboard used in this Shuttle XPC SN41G2 has dual VGA outputs, courtesy of the Integrated GeForce4 MX graphics, which has two RAMDACs built-in for this purpose. This feature is certainly a rarity even among the GeForce4 MX class of mainstream graphics cards. The small exhaust belongs to the Flex-ATX PSU within the casing and the huge 80mm x 80mm perforated port belongs to the large exhaust fan for cooling Shuttles proprietary CPU cooling system. We will take a look at that in the next page. Besides this, the XPC chassis has no room for any more ventilation ports.
Along with the Shuttle XPC SN41G2 came a few other accessories in the box:-
Flexible Front feet
FDD, CD-ROM and HDD IDE cables
Shuttle XPC SN41G2 installation guide
Installation kit (contains needed screws and accessories to complete the system)
The cables are all of custom length and have been designated for each type of device. Since the system is small, there is little room within, hence these custom length cables come in very handy to eliminate unnecessary bending and folding that occupy space too. The installation guide is written in simple English and Traditional Chinese supplemented with plenty of pictures. It should be adequate for installing the system; even so, we will highlight certain unique installation procedures while we delve into the offerings of the Shuttle XPC SN41G2.