Did I say that out loud?
Anyhow, you can add another set to the list, because Shuttle's small-form-factor PCs have just collided with NVIDIA's nForce2 chipset, and the results are quite potent. Here in this one little box, you have everything you'd need for a very good computer, and all you need to add is memory, an Athlon processor, and some storage. You could go whole hog and add an AGP card, but the SN41G2 already bristles with video outputs, including a pair of VGA ports and an S-Video out.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. If you aren't familiar with Shuttle's XPC "cube" systems, you should have a look at one of our other XPC reviews. We've tackled the original SV24 cube, the Pentium 4-based SB51G, and most recently, the Athlon-based SK41G, to name just a few. Along the way, Shuttle cubes have evolved from cool little curiosities to serious challengers to desktop mid-tower systems. Shuttle has sold hundreds of thousands of the things, and it looks like they're just getting started.
Meanwhile, NVIDIA's nForce2 has just recently arrived on the scene, and it's made quite a stir itself. We first previewed the technology last summer, but we didn't get our hands on a sample until October. Once we did, the pre-release nForce2 proved to be easily the fastest Athlon core-logic chipset. Finally, late last year, commercial nForce2 products finally arrived. (The SN41G2 took a little longer than some, because it's based on the nForce2 IGPthe version with integrated graphicswhich took a little longer to become available.)
Now, all of the performance and features that make the nForce2 seem so tasty have made their way into a box the size of a toaster, and arcs of synergy have begun to leap forth from the SN41G2's brushed-aluminum case. Is this the best small-form-factor PC ever? Keep reading to find out.