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Shuttle's XPC ST61G4 small form factor system

The fairest XPC of them all?

Manufacturer Shuttle
Model ST61G4
Price (Street) $360
Availability Now

SHUTTLE'S XPC systems have fast become the standard against which all other small form factor systems are judged. Though they've been more conservative when it comes to form factor innovation, Shuttle has aggressively pursued new core-logic chipset technology and has consistently led the rest of the small form factor field when it comes to putting out cubes based on the latest and greatest chipsets.

Given Shuttle's fetish for fresh chipsets, it's no surprise that they've come up with the XPC ST61G4, a cube built around ATI's new Radeon 9100 IGP chipset. The 9100 IGP not only supports the latest Pentium 4 processors, it also packs a robust integrated graphics core that makes the nForce2 IGP look like, well, a hobbled GeForce4 MX.

Though it no doubt took some serious engineering effort to squeeze the 9100 IGP into Shuttle's breadbox form factor, they haven't forgotten about the rest of the cube. In fact, the ST61G4 may well be Shuttle's quietest, most powerful, and dare I say attractive small form factor PC yet.

With a swanky new chipset and daring take on its classic XPC form factor, the ST61G4's prospects look mighty fine. However, ATI's Radeon 9100 IGP is thus far an unproven design that's only just starting to trickle onto the market. Will Shuttle's aggressive pursuit of new chipset technology be the ST61G4's undoing or make this latest cube a drool-worth addition to the XPC line? Read on to find out.

The specs
With a brand new chipset like the Radeon 9100 IGP, there's plenty to look over when it comes to the ST61G4's system specs. Check it out:

CPU support Socket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors
Form factor Flex ATX (Shuttle form factor)
Chipset ATI Radeon 9100 IGP
North bridge ATI RS300
South bridge ATI IXP 150
Interconnect Intel Accelerated Hub (266MB/sec)
PCI slots 1 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots 1, 4X/8X AGP 8X (1.5V only)
AMR/CNR slots None
Memory 2 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 2GB of DDR400/333/266 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
Serial ATA 2 channels Serial ATA 150 via Sil3512 SATA RAID controller
RAID Serial ATA RAID 0, 1 support via Sil3512 SATA RAID controller
Legacy ports 1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, and 1 Serial port
USB 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
Firewire 2 IEEE 1394 Firewire ports via VT6307 Firewire controller
Audio 6-channel audio via IXP 150 integrated audio and ALC650 codec
rear-mounted analog front, rear, surround, and center outputs
front-mounted line in and microphone inputs, and headphone output
rear-mounted digital S/PDIF input and output ports (Tos-Link)
Video Integrated Radeon 9100 IGP
Ethernet 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via Broadcom BCM5788
BIOS Phoenix AwardBIOS
Bus speeds FSB: Default + 1-15MHz in 1MHz increments
Bus dividers None
Voltages CPU: default, 0.8250-1.5875V in 0.025V increments
DRAM: default, 2.6-2.8V in 0.1V increments
AGP: default, 1.6-1.7V in 0.05V increments
Monitoring Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

There's a mouthful. I'll be going over all of the ST61G4's features and capabilities in detail, including the Radeon 9100 IGP, a little later on in the review. However, before we dive into chipset specifics, let's take a photo tour around the cube itself.

Ooooooh. Aaaaaah.