Desktop Systems Guide

Shuttle XPC Prima SX38P2 Pro review

Shuttle XPC Prima SX38P2 Pro (Intel X38)

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Pitch Black Exterior

Pitch Black Exterior

Shuttle's recent XPC models have been in black and the SX38P2 Pro is no different. Aluminum is heavily used so as to minimize the weight of the chassis and the familiar cubic form factor makes it compact enough to be carried to a LAN gathering. The front panels have a slight woody texture and act as camouflage to blend with your other living room consumer electronics. All unsightly drives are concealed behind these panels while a strip of silver (with the power and eject buttons) provides a nice contrast from all the black.

There were a couple of surprises in store for us. First, at the bottom of the chassis is a compartment for a mini card slot. Here is where the enthusiast can add an optional flash memory module to enable the Turbo Memory feature on this SFF. Although we doubt there would be many takers given the less than impressive performance of this feature, it certainly reinforces the impression that this Shuttle is targeted at the extremely high-end enthusiast.

Then there's the presence of a fingerprint sensor located with the rest of the other hidden front I/O ports. Along with the usual ports like FireWire, USB 2.0 and audio jacks, this sensor allows you to lock down your system and usually found on notebooks. We suppose since this SFF is almost as handy as a notebook, Shuttle decided it needed such a feature. It's all extra icing to us, though it's likely to be reflected in the price tag. The reset button is also found with the front I/O ports, a location which isn't too friendly for the user. The USB Speed-link button is another unusual feature that allows the Shuttle to read and access the contents of another PC via USB 2.0, treating the other PC like a 'removable drive'. Transferring files just became a lot easier, without setting up a network or using cross Ethernet cables. Handy indeed, and Shuttle has thoughtfully included the interconnecting cable too.