Shuttle SN25P - NForce 4 brought to the Small Form Factor
Shuttle is probably the leading manufacturer of Small Form Factor (SFF) PCs. Today, we are having a look at one of its latest additions to the P-series XPCs: the SN25P. It amalgamates NVIDIA's very popular NForce 4 MCP into Shuttle's equally popular XPC product line. It provides native support for the PCI-Express interface, along with support for all Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 processors, including the Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 X2; the latter after a BIOS update.
While the cosmetics are typical of a P-series XPC, the internals have been tweaked to be sure that there the components are given sufficient power to operate to their full potential, while ingeniously allowing for ample air flow in order to keep these components cool.
Inside the box:
The SN25P XPC
A power cable
Single 15cm blue SATA cable
Single Black floppy cable
A pair of metal feet
Drive rails for 3.5" hard disks and a 5.25" optical drive
RAID driver floppy disk
Four bits of vibration dampening rubber
Molex to floppy power adapter
All the manuals/installation guides you could ever need
The P-series styling
You may, or may not be aware that Shuttle have many different styles of chassis, the P-series being one of the several different styles of chassis. The P-series is styled with a light blue metallic coloured plastic front, which provides one 3.5" floppy drive bay, and a 5.25" CD/DVD ROM bay - both are hidden and incorporated in to the styling, so you will not see the drives unless the covers are in their open position. The front covers simply flip down when you press on the corner, giving you full access to the drive that is hidden behind it.
This is not all though, there are many more ports embedded in to a hidden front panel. The port include two USB 2.0 ports, a 6-pin IEEE1394 Firewire port and two 3.5mm audio jacks - one for headphones, and one for a line-in jack for attaching a microphone. The cover that hides these ports flips down in the same way as the drive covers. Along with the hidden drive bays and front panel ports, there is an 8-in-1 card reader in the top drive bay, which allows you to use all popular types of flash media, including Compact Flash, Smart Media, XD, SD and many more.
The shell has a matt black finish with ventilation holes, including ventilation for one 80mm fan on each side. The sides are also embossed with Shuttle's branding. It is questionable whether the branding on the side spoils the sleek look of the case or not, but we'd prefer it if Shuttle kept the branding to a minimum. At the back of the case, there are two 60mm fans at the top and a 80mm fan that provides cooling for the chassis' 350W power supply unit.
There is plenty to keep everyone happy on the back I/O panel, starting with the usual PS/2 ports and single COM port. There are also four USB 2.0 ports in a 2x2 arrangement with a Gigabit Ethernet port and 6-pin IEEE1394 port located above them. There are five 3.5mm jacks for 8-channel AC'97 audio, along with optical S/PDIF in, out and coaxial RCA S/PDIF out too.
Finally, an interesting addition - there is a CMOS clear button located underneath the COM port on the back panel, meaning that you do not need to open your case if you tweak the BIOS a little too far. With such a small chassis, this is a great addition, because if your hands are anything like mine, my fingers aren't meant to fiddle around inside the confines of a Shuttle.