small Shuttle SN95G5 Review

Today we take a look at Shuttle’s latest AMD based SFF Barebone system, the SN95G5. Based on NVIDIA’s nForce 3 Ultra chipset, does Shuttle’s new SFF have what it takes to hold its own against MSI’s popular K8N Neo2 Platinum? Come and take a closer look…

1 Shuttle SN95G5 Review

Introduction:

Small Form Factor barebone systems, or SFF systems for short, have only been around for a few years but in their short life span have become a favorite of enthusiast and casual users alike not only for their small size and light weight, but for their sleek looks as well. The market for SFF barebone systems was pretty much created by Shuttle and it only makes sense for the company to be at the forefront of new designs and new technologies in the SFF sector. Most people probably don’t know that Shuttle still makes motherboards, but by all accounts the majority of Shuttle’s business is with their SFF systems.

The first couple generations of SFF systems (using chipsets like the Intel 845G and NVIDIA nForce 2) from Shuttle were pretty similar in features and looks, but with competition increasing by dozens of companies introducing their own SFF systems over the past few years, Shuttle has stepped up their business model by offering unique looks with first to market

availability.

On the AMD side of things, you may remember that Shuttle was the first company to introduce SFF barebone systems for the AMD Athlon XP processor, the AMD Athlon 64 on Socket 754, and just recently with the SN95G5 the first AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 SFF barebone system. Much like Socket A was with AMD’s K7 core, Socket 939 will be the dominant platform for the Athlon 64 for the years to come.

I mentioned that most Shuttle SFF systems had similar exteriors for the first few systems on Socket A and Socket 478 platforms, with the most recent and memorable revision being in the G4 revision,

seen so far with the ST61G4 (ATI IGP, Socket 478) and SN85G4 (nForce3 150, Socket 754). These systems were quieter and better looking than previous models, and have proven to be a favorite here in VR-Zone’s labs.

So today we’ll be looking at the Shuttle SN95G5, the world’s first AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 based SFF barebone system, complete with the fastest Athlon 64 chipset currently available, the nForce 3 Ultra. As you may already know, the MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum is currently our top pick for Athlon 64 Socket 939 retail motherboard, so today we’ll be comparing how the SN95G5 compares to MSI’s flagship nForce 3 Ultra product. How does the SN95G5 do? Let’s take a closer look…

Specifications:

5 Shuttle SN95G5 Review

CPU Support
All AMD Socket 939 Athlon 64 and FX processors
Northbridge
nForce3 250 Ultra
Memory Support
2 slots, DDR400, 2GB max, dual-channel
AGP/PCI
1 AGP 8X / 1 PCI
Audio
Realtek ALC655 CODEC from nForce3 250 Ultra feed
IDE
2 ATA133 compliant ports from nForce3 250 Ultra
SATA
2 ports from nForce3 250 Ultra

Networking
Marvell 8001 Gigabit Ethernet Controller, 10/100/1000Mbit

IDE RAID
RAID0, RAID1, RAID0+1 and JBOD from above ports

Firewire
FireWire400, 1 backplane port, 1 x front panel port, from VIA VT6307
Southbridge
None

Package Contents:

2 Shuttle SN95G5 Review

•User Manual
•Drivers Disk
•Quick Start Guide
•SATA Data Cable
•4 Pin Molex to SATA Power Converter
•Extra Power Connector
•2 x IDE Cable
•Power Cable
•Thermal Compound
•Case Feet
•Screws

As you can see from the list above, the SN95G5 has all of the things one would look for when buying a new barebone system. Included is all the documentation and cables needed to get your system up and running, with no extras or nonsense items that you would never use.