It's been a while since we last had a Shuttle XPC small form factor (SFF) in our labs. Not that the folks over at the SFF specialist company haven't been busy; in fact Shuttle was as usual one of the first SFF makers to jump on the Viiv bandwagon with the XPC SD36G5M. Now, it seems that it was AMD's turn to get a SFF refresh in conjunction with the shift to the new Socket AM2 and DDR2 platform. Yes, the AM2 has arrived for the SFF in the compact package that is Shuttle's XPC SN27P2.
The new Socket AM2 platform was launched in May, the big change mainly being the move to a new DDR2 memory controller as AMD has decided that the numbers for the supply of decent speed DDR2 memory are finally significant enough to warrant the move. NVIDIA, having largely won the AMD motherboard chipset segment, was naturally in the thick of the action with its latest nForce 500 series chipsets for these new AM2 processors. The Shuttle XPC SN27P2 uses a chipset from the mid-range model in the series, the nForce 570 Ultra, which thankfully has most of the useful new features like FirstPacket and DualNet technology. The exclusive features on the highest end nForce 590 seem to have little performance impact so it was a good tradeoff. You can also read more about these new motherboard chipsets here.
Officially launched at Computex, the Shuttle SN27P2 is yet another pioneer in the SFF niche, not only in terms of the new AM2 platform, but also in an updated chassis that seems to have some rather major changes under the hood. All these make for some excitement.
You can expect the usual quality Shuttle package in the XPC SN27P2. However, the tool-free accessories are gone and surprisingly, replaced by screws. Most of the accessories are enclosed in zip-lock bags for neatness. Another thing we didn't like is the fact that the user manual is now in CD format, so you'll need a computer to read it. To its credit though, you shouldn't need to refer to the manual to get the SFF up as the Quick Guide and its comprehensive instructions and pictures should lead you through the installation process painlessly. Here then is the complete list of items in the box: