Outside the box
The ST20G5 is built using the same G5 chassis that Shuttle has previously used in the SN95G5 and SB77G5. Since we're already quite familiar with the G-Series chassis, I'll confine much of my commentary to features that differentiate the ST20G5 from the rest of the G5 series.
Brushed aluminum dominates the ST20G5's finish, right down to its gorgeous faceplate.
The aluminum finish is striking, classy, and definitely appeals to more industrial tastes. It almost looks a little too good, at least when compared with the system's plastic components. The plastic's gray color and smooth finish aren't a perfect match for the brushed aluminum, and it ends up looking comparatively cheap.
Don't get me wrong; I think the ST20G5 looks great. The plastic bits just come across as a little cheesy next to the swanky brushed aluminum.
Drive bay doors hide the ST20G5's external 3.5" and 5.25" drive bays, and its front port cluster.
Shuttle boldly embosses its name across the side of the system, right above rows of ventilation holes the perforate both sides of the case's aluminum skin.
A wide-open grill provides plenty of ventilation at the ST20G5's rear, which is largely similar to other G5 cubes. The Radeon Xpress 200 IGP's ability to power both VGA and DVI monitor outputs is unique to the ST20G5, though. Unfortunately, we found our system's VGA signal quality to be a little lacking. While the Windows desktop was crisp and clear up to 1024x768 at 75Hz, the display had a slight but noticeable wobble at higher resolutions and refresh rates. DVI output was flawless up to 1280x1024, which is as high as my LCD monitors go. We couldn't get the DVI output to work with any of the DVI-to-VGA adapters in our labs, though. It's possible that the Radeon Xpress 200 is only capable of powering a single analog monitor.
Despite its limitations, the ST20G5's VGA and DVI dual monitor output is unique in the small form factor world. However, it's a little curious that a composite or S-Video output isn't included. That somewhat limits the system's suitability for home theater PCs, although one could always add a discrete graphics card with more video output options.
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