Who loves Shuttle computers? Oh, I do! I do!
For over 4 years, I've used Shuttles as my primary home computers. I started with an SN95G5
, but then got into quiet computing and switched to a pair of SD11G5s (which are impossible to find these days, and was never reviewed by TR). I also had a chance to get my hands on an SB75S
a while back, and jumped at it. It really is a beautiful computer.
My biggest problem with the SB75S was noise. I switched to a 2.66 GHz mobile P4 to reduce heat, and so the stock fan never got above its "idle" point. It was still noisy (compared to the SD11G5s), so I replaced the chipset fan and the stock 80mm ICE fan with lower RPM fans and rubber grommets (both replacements were from SilenX, for those that care). That was better, but it still wasn't great; I could live it with it. About a year ago, I saw that Shuttle had a new PSU
that would soon be available in the US which was completely fanless. In fact, it looked like it used the same power brick that the SD11G5 uses - I was very excited.
At the beginning of this year, it became available via Shuttle's ebay store
... for $100, plus $20 shipping. I was less excited.
Now, I'm a quiet PC enthusiast. So, this WHOLE YEAR, every time I turned the SB75S on, I thought "$120? hmmm...". I always convinced myself it was too much to pay to replace a PSU that was working perfectly fine (as most people would define "perfect").
But then, it was Christmas, and you know how shopping gets and, well, I decided - I DESERVE IT! So, I bought it, shipped it, and today, it arrived!
It came as a box in a box. I'd asked them not to use styrofoam peanuts for packing material, and it had peanuts.
The PC62 unit ships with a 200W power brick which is exactly the same make and model as the brick that ships with the SD11G5. When I'd originally considered ordering the unit back at the beginning of the year, I contacted Shuttle about this. See, the SD11G5 bricks have a well-known issue where - when the computer is off but plugged in - the bricks make a wicked oscillating hum. It's audible for the same kinds of people that can hear when a TV is turned on, even if it's muted. Shuttle told me that the issue had been resolved, but if they're using the same brick, I thought, I wonder how the issue could be resolved?
Maybe, I thought, they changed something about the "power supply" block that goes into the computer and converts the brick's juice into all of the appropriate rails. That didn't exist in the SD11G5 (which had integrated power circuitry in the motherboard), so it's possible. When I go to plug it in, though, I hear that faint whine that I'd grown used to with my SD11G5s. Seems like it still has the same problems as before. Just like the SD11G5, the oscillation is barely audible once it's under a desk, so that's where it went.
The other concern I had was that the "power supply" block was only listed as working with G-class Shuttles. The SB75S wasn't SPECIFICALLY a G-class system, but it had a motherboard for one. As it turns out, the PSU works perfectly with the SB75S chassis, except that the bottom screw for holding the block in the chassis didn't fit - apparently, the SB75S used a different screw hole compared to the normal G-class chassis. However, the top two screws do a good enough job of holding the block in place.
Finally, when I turn on the computer itself, I'm wonderfully surprised; it's like night & day. Pretty much the only thing I can hear anymore is the hard drive spinning (2.5" PATA mobile drive, 7200 RPM, suspended in loose plastic netting), and I've started wondering if maybe I shouldn't think about replacing that, too.
SSDs are geting down in price, after all...Long story short:
The PSU cost me $120 direct from Shuttle, but as a quiet PC enthusiast, it turned out to be well worth the expense. The brick has similar problems as those that were reported with previous generation accessories for the SD11G5, but workarounds reduce the noticable impact. Overall, I'm glad I made the purchase, and I recommend the same purchase to anyone that desires a quieter G-class Shuttle experience.
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