Shuttle's XPC ST20G5 mini-barebones system

— 12:05 AM on April 11, 2005

ALTHOUGH ATHLON 64 processors undoubtedly deliver an attractive price/performance ratio, the platform's lack of a competent integrated graphics chipset makes it less appealing for budget and business systems. That changed with the introduction of ATI's Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, which boasts a DirectX 9 integrated graphics processor (IGP) derived from the company's successful R300 architecture. The Radeon Xpress 200 IGP's R300 roots and Catalyst drivers not only ensure broad compatibility with existing games, they also come with an array of video deblocking and playback acceleration features, as well as solid multimonitor capabilities.

Despite its attractive feature set, motherboard manufacturers have been slow to release retail products based on the Radeon Xpress 200 chipset. Shuttle hasn't shied away, though. The small form factor originator has a history of aggressively implementing new core logic chipsets, and they've come up with a cube based on the Radeon Xpress 200. With DirectX 9-class integrated graphics, dual monitor outputs, PCI Express, High Definition Audio, and a striking brushed aluminum chassis, the ST20G5 promises to be the most well-rounded XPC for Athlon 64 processors. Read on to see if the system lives up to its potential.

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