Once upon a time, building a PC inside a small case meant dated processors, onboard graphics, and a total dearth of useful ports and connectors. But no more. Recent years have seen successive waves of users cramming the most powerful of components into ever decreasing sizes of PC. And no company has been closer to the forefront than Shuttle. Here then is the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone.
The body of the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone may indeed be small, but inside lies the heart of an Intel powerhouse. You'll need to provide the processor, graphics card and memory, but the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone offers the basis for a prolonged and enjoyable relationship.
Of course, many a user will want to spend a bit of time taking in the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone's sleek looks. And since the built-in PSU is whisper-quiet, few will mind the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone sitting in their living room or bedroom. But this is far more than a potential media centre system.
Designed to drive the very finest of Intel's latest crop of processors, you could fit the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone out with a 6800 Extreme, or even a quad-core chip. Not that you need to – any Socket 775 processor will do the job.
Up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory can be added to the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone, and the PCI-Express slot supports double-width graphics cards. Length could be a problem for the 8800 GTX cards, although we were able to squeeze in one of the brand-new Radeon cards. However, the Shuttle has just one PCI-Express slot, so you may need to discount the idea of running a
You can run up to three internal hard drives in the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone – although there's provision for adding an external eSata hard drive, too – and full Raid facilities are possible. You can fit a 5.25in DVD drive and, if you should so wish, you can even add a 3.5in memory card reader or floppy drive.
The small size doesn't mean that the Shuttle SD39P2 Barebone struggles for ports and connectors. The front of the PC offers access to two USB 2.0 and one mini 4-pin FireWire connector. You'll also find another six USB 2.0 ports and an eSata socket.