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Shuttle's XPC SK83G small form factor system

An IGP for the Athlon 64

Manufacturer Shuttle
Model XPC SK83G
Price (street) $310
Availability Now

ON THE SAME day that AMD launched the first Athlon 64, Shuttle unveiled an XPC cube for the new processor. The nForce3-based SN85G4 was one of the first Athlon 64 platforms available—an impressive feat for a small form factor system. However, what was impressive nine months ago is considerably less inspiring today. While the SN85G4 remains a competent Athlon 64 platform, the cube's nForce3 150 chipset is beginning to show its age. The SN85G4 also lacks integrated video, making it less than ideal for value markets and corporate applications.

Enter Shuttle's second Athlon 64 cube, the SK83G. Thanks to VIA's K8M800 chipset, the SK83G sports a 16-bit, 800MHz Hyper-Transport link, a south bridge Serial ATA RAID controller, and an integrated graphics core that should intrigue those with little need for blistering frame rates or dazzling shader effects. And just because the SK83G has integrated graphics doesn't mean you can't pop in a high-end gaming card and tear up a local LAN party, either.

What else does the SK83G have to offer? Can it keep up with full-sized Athlon 64 platforms? Keep reading to find out.

The specs
As always, let's kick things off with a look at the SK83G's spec sheet.

CPU support Socket 754-based Athlon 64 processors
Form factor ATX
Chipset VIA K8M800
North bridge VIA K8M800
South bridge VIA VT8237
Interconnect V-Link (533MB/sec)
PCI slots 1 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots 1 AGP 4X/8X (1.5V only)
Memory 2 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 2GB of DDR266/333/400 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/133
2 channels Serial ATA 150 via VT8237 south bridge with RAID 0,1 support
Audio 6-channel audio via VT8237 integrated audio and ALC650 codec
Ports 1 PS/2 keyboard
1 PS/2 mouse
1 serial
1 composite/S-video
USB 2.0 (rear), 2 USB 2.0 (front) with headers for 2 more
1 Firewire (front), 1 Firewire (rear)
1 RJ45 10/100 Fast Ethernet via VIA VT8237/VT6103

1 analog front out (rear)
1 analog bass/center out/line in (rear)
1 analog rear out/mic in (rear)
1 analog line in (front)
1 analog mic in (front)
1 analog headphone out (front)
1 digital S/PDIF input (TOS-Link)
1 digital S/PDIF output (TOS-Link)
BIOS Phoenix AwardBIOS
Bus speeds CPU: 200-232MHz in 1MHz increments
DRAM: 100, 133, 166, 200MHz
Bus dividers None
Voltages CPU: 0.8-1.7V in 0.025V increments
AGP: 1.6-1.8V in 0.1V increments
DRAM: 2.6-2.8V in 0.1V increments
HT: 1.3-1.5V in 0.1V increments
Monitoring Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

The SK83G's list of features and peripherals doesn't contain any surprises, but the cube's lack of Gigabit Ethernet is a little conspicuous. Nearly every mid- to high-end Athlon 64 motherboard features at least PCI-based GigE and it's a little disappointing to see this feature missing from the SK83G. Otherwise, the SK83G's spec sheet is stacked with features, including Serial ATA RAID, Firewire, digital audio ports, and an all-important AGP slot.

We'll dive into more detail on the SK83G's integrated features over the following pages, but first, behold the money shot:

The G chassis: still gorgeous after all these years