Shuttle's XPC SG33G5 SFF barebones system

Glamming up the toaster

OVER THE YEARS, Shuttle's XPC lineup has been whittled down from a vast array of small form factor barebones systems based on wildly different form factors to a handful of models built on only a couple of chassis. Power-hungry enthusiasts will be most interested in the XPC SD39P2 and SN27P2, both of which are based on a P-Series cube that packs a beefy power supply and can easily accommodate double-wide graphics cards and a couple of hard drives. For the rest of the market, Shuttle leans on various flavors of its slightly smaller G-series chassis, a design that's been around for an astounding five years.

The G-series was Shuttle's first really slick XPC, and it quickly became the basis for a slew of models that ultimately popularized small form factor barebones systems. Apart from a nip here and a tuck there, plus a gentle massaging of the cooling system, the layout and overall design hasn't changed much in five years—at least on the inside. Shuttle's been a little less restrained with its treatment of the G-Series exterior, which has been adorned with everything from brushed metal to tinted transparent plastic.

Of course, the systems built around this chassis have progressed by leaps and bounds over the last five years. The G-Series debuted with the SS40G, which was designed for Socket 462 Athlon processors and limited to PCI expansion, just 1GB of memory, and analog audio and video outputs. Today, the latest XPC SG33G5 comes equipped with digital audio and video outputs and can accommodate quad-core processors, PCI Express graphics cards, and up to 4GB of memory. My, how things have changed.

The SG33G5's combination of HDMI and S/PDIF outputs, driven by Intel's new G33 Express chipset and GMA 3100 integrated graphics, makes the SG33G5 ripe home theater PCs, and this XPC's "Glamor" styling should look good in your living room. But is this a fitting tribute to five years of the G-Series chassis? Let's have a look.

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