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Shuttle's SS40G mini-barebones system

The trifecta

TODAY WE LOOK AT the third in a series of Shuttle barebones systems that are best known as "cube computers." We first looked at the SV24, a Socket 370 solution like no other. Its small form factor cut down on expansion possibilities, but expansion doesn't matter as much when you have virtually every port under the sun built in to begin with.

Granted, the SV24 did have its problems, such as a pretty loud fan, only a single PCI slot, and (perhaps worst of all) the fact that it was based on a dying processor format. Shuttle knew that the philosophy behind the SV24 was sound, however, so they went back to the drawing board and produced the SS50, an even better design that offered quieter operation, two PCI slots instead of just one, and most importantly, a socket for a Pentium 4. And there was much rejoicing.

Of course, while all this had the Intel lovers beaming, AMD fans were clamoring for a cube computer of their own. Shuttle has answered those requests with the system we're looking at today, the SS40G. Though the concept between the SS50 and the SS40G is the same, the SS40G sports an updated, sleeker look, and cracking open the top reveals further differences, among them a fascinating new heatsink design. Has Shuttle hit another home run? Read on to find out.

The FS40 motherboard
Before we go any further, it's a good idea to look at the heart of the matter, and in this case that is the FS40. This FlexATX motherboard packs the real punch behind the SS40G, offering up integrated graphics, USB and IEEE 1394 Firewire just as the tip of the iceberg. Here's the full spec list:

CPU support

Socket 462-based Athlon CPUs with 100/133MHz front-side bus

Form factor

Flex ATX


SiS 740 (SiS 740 North Bridge, SiS 961 South Bridge)


SiS MuTIOL (533MB/s)

PCI slots

2 32-bit 33MHz

AGP slots


AMR/CNR slots



2 184-pin DIMM sockets for up to 1GB of PC1600/PC2100 DDR SDRAM

Storage I/O

Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/100


1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse,
2 serial, 4 USB (2 front, 2 rear), 3 IEEE 1394 (1 front, 2 rear), 1 RJ45 Ethernet, 1 DB15 VGA out, 1 S-Video out

2 line out/front out (1 front, 1 rear), 1 line in/rear out, 1 bass/center out, 1 mic in (front) for C-Media 8738 audio


Award 6.0

Bus speeds



Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring