A cube for the rest of usagain
The ST62K's pearlescent white face would look right at home in a "switch" commercial or perhaps a hospital ward. The white-on-aluminum look has worked for Apple, but honestly, the aesthetic is a little too clinical for my tastes.
Considering the effort Shuttle puts into the appearance of its XPC systems, it's amazing the company hasn't introduced a method for stealthing beige optical drives. White or silver optical drives shouldn't look too out of place in the ST62K, but I can't understand why Shuttle doesn't just come up with a hinged or sliding door to camouflage the entire drive bay area.
Speaking of drive bays, the ST62K's external 3.5" bay is a bit of a mystery, too. The ST62K's motherboard lacks a floppy connector of any kind, which makes me wonder why Shuttle bothered with an external 3.5" bay at all. "G4" XPC systems drop the external bay in favor of an integrated memory card reader, but for some reason Shuttle thought it best to leave the integrated card reader out of the ST62K. Given that a memory card reader is really the only thing I can see users putting in the external 3.5" drive, Shuttle really should have gone with an integrated reader rather than selling one as a $30 accessory.
The ST62K's missing floppy port has implications beyond the external 3.5" drive bay. Windows XP's installation routine requires that third-party storage drivers be installed off a floppy disk. Third-party drivers aren't required to install Windows XP on drives connected to the ST62K's motherboard-mounted IDE ports, but users looking to run a PCI RAID or Serial ATA card may not be so lucky. There are workarounds, but this limitation may prove a little annoying.
Around the back, the ST62K looks similar to Shuttle's other XPC systems. Check out the port cluster:
In addition to a unique power connector, which I'll get to in a minute, the ST62K has a pretty standard array of audio, video, and peripheral ports. The cluster also yields VGA and S-Video outputs, Firewire and USB ports, three analog audio jacks, an Ethernet port, and a digital S/PDIF output. The cube also has a digital S/PDIF input port, which Shuttle tucks away in the top rear corner of the box.
To save users from having to crack the case to reset the BIOS, the ST62K's port cluster also includes a recessed "clear CMOS" button. The ST62K probably isn't going to be the best platform for overclocking and heavy tweaking, but it's nice to see a more convenient placement for the CMOS reset.
Around the front, an additional set of audio jacks and USB ports rounds out the ST62K's port array.
Just a little bit smaller
Dropping the AGP slot and internal power supply allows Shuttle to make the ST62K a little smaller than previous XPC systems. Here's the Zen posing with Shuttle's most recent XPC system:
As you can see, the size difference isn't that dramatic. The ST62K measures 7.5" x 11" x 6.6", which works out to a total volume of 544.3 cubic inches, while the ST61G4 measures 8" x 11.5" x 7.1" for a total volume of 655.5 cubic inches. Overall, the ST62K is 17% smaller than Shuttle's current XPC systems; nothing to sneeze at, but hardly a revolution.