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Shuttle's SV24 cube computer

A cube for the rest of us

Manufacturer Shuttle
Model SV24
Price US$250
Availability Now

WHEN WE POSTED a news item about Shuttle's new "cube" computer a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised at the amount of enthusiasm for this little box. Personally, though, I already had the bug. I had told myself I'd stick to the course of reviewing new processors, video chips, and the like, but when Shuttle offered an SV24 for review, I couldn't pass up the chance to play with one.

The appeal is obvious, I suppose. This thing is a tiny little box, measuring roughly 10.5" x 7.5" x 6.75". No, it's not really a cube, but these dimensions fit it perfectly: it has just enough room for everything you could need in a small PC: a hard drive, DVD or CD-RW drive, floppy drive, and even a PCI card. The cube itself looks like so:

The SV24: Not quite a cube, but very small and shiny

That looks very nice indeed, but you haven't really gotten a sense of the SV24's magic until you see the rear of the box. Like so:

SV24 from the rear: thumbscrews all around, ports galore

Yes, those are real ports there of all the types you might expect. For the record, here's the list: mouse, keyboard, serial, VGA, S-Video, parallel, composite video, dual IEEE 1394 (Firewire), Ethernet RJ-45, audio in, audio out. Yes, all of those ports come rising off of the system's motherboard. So does the single PCI slot that you see just above the ports. That motherboard is Shuttle's FV24, and I suspect the SV24 was created to showcase this nifty little super-integrated mobo.

And yes, that is real, brushed aluminum. It's very light. Shuttle claims the SV24 weighs 10 pounds, but I think that's the total SV24 package with accessories. The system alone feels lighter than that to me.

Getting a sense of the SV24 is all about two things: specs and pictures. I've got plenty of both for you, and if you're like me, once you've seen 'em all, you'll be ready to order up an SV24 system on principle. It's just a very cool concept.

To give you a better sense of how the SV24 rates—how well it fleshes out its concept and how well it works as a PC—I'll also share with you my own experiences building an SV24 system in testing. But first, those specs...