The Shuttle XPC has come a long way since the first models sported cut-down chipsets and integrated graphics. Today, Shuttle small form factor systems are usually every bit as powerful as their full-size cousins, with plenty of cooling and hardware innovation packed into a very small space. Shuttle have constantly been at the forefront of innovation, being the first SFF makers to bring features like dual-core support.
On the desktop, NVIDIA's SLI has taken off like no one would have predicted. Those three letters have become marketing gold - but an SLI rig, for ultimate gaming power™, has so far only been available in a full-sized desktop rig.
The Shuttle SN26P is the standard P-chassis that we've seen before, with a few subtle modifications. We won't bore you with all of the basics of the chassis, but there are a few extras that need to be pointed out. If you want to learn a little more about the basic structure, have a browse through our SD31P review.
The unit that we have here isn't quite a retail version. There are a couple of hardware niggles that we suspect Shuttle will be sorting out before shipping these things out in quantity. We'll let you know about that as and when we have the chance to look at a revision that addresses our concerns. In the mean time, we've put together a comprehensive preview of what you can expect out of this system.
From a distance, the SN26P looks like other new models, except for those magic DVI ports on the back. Due to the nature of the SLI cooling system that Shuttle have implemented, Shuttle ship this system with the two Leadtek GeForce 6800 GT's pre-installed - so no option to choose your own video card configuration, for the moment.
In actual fact, the chassis has a completely different finish in comparison to previous P-series chassis. The finish is matt and has a slight rubbery texture to it. With the inclusion of two Leadtek GeForce 6800 GT's, there is a need for additional ventilation. As such, Shuttle has added extra ventilation to the case shell. Be warned though, this case gets warm after several hours of stress testing - it could be a reason why Shuttle have opted for a slightly different finish.
Leaving aside other factors, a major worry we have with this system is that the heatsink appears to be a little iffy. It doesn't quite sit properly on the chip, leading to the situation here - where the chip is off-centre of the heatsink, and thermal paste gets all gunked on one end of the chip. There's around 5mm of the CPU's Integrated Heat Spreader that does not come in to contact with the heatsink. Being enthusiasts, we're quite concerned about this oversight on the cooling solution.
However, we know that this is what you really want to see...