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The KPC's Hardware: Overview, CPU HD, Memory

Shuttle's New $99 KPC Review
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Shuttle has created the KPC around an Intel based 945GC motherboard with a Celeron 430 CPU clocking in at 1.8 GHz. Upgrading the CPU is certainly a viable option, as this board supports most Core 2 single and dual core CPUs, from Celerons to the newest E8000 series using a 1333 MHz bus. A CPU upgrade would certainly give the KPC a very wide range of uses without having to worry about limited processing power, so in this respect, Shuttle has certainly delivered on their promise that the KPC is an expandable system.

  • Intel 945GC Express Chipset
  • Intel Celeron 430 CPU
  • Built-in Intel GMA950 graphics
  • 800/533 MHz FSB
  • Intel Flex Memory Technology
  • Dual channel DDR2 533/400
  • Intel HD Audio 5.1 channel
  • Four USB ports on rear I/O
  • 10/100 LAN using Intel 82562G Ethernet Controller
  • One PCI slot
  • Two SATA at 3Gbps
  • One PATA for up to two devices

As expected, there are no PCIe slots. The board does supply a few front panel headers, with support for 4 USB and audio, but there are no ports built in the case to take advantage of this.

HDD

The board uses an Intel ICH7 chipset with no RAID functionality, and Shuttle has included an 80 GB HDD from Western Digital, model WD800JD. This SATA drive runs at 7200 RPM and sports 8 MB of cache, providing an average 8.9 ms time to seek, 10.9 ms time to write, and an average latency of 4.2 ms. Using HDTach to test the drive we recorded an average throughput of 51.96 MB/s and a 18.99 ms random access time. This is not a fast drive, but it is quick enough for the purpose of this system. There appears to be room to add a second hard drive to the KPC as well.

Memory

There are two DDR2 slots supporting a maximum of 2 GB of up to 533 MHz memory, but the KPC comes with 512 MB of 667 MHz CL5 DDR2 Buffalo memory by default. It proved enough to run Foresight Linux or Windows XP without too many resident programs running in the background.

We also tested the KPC with 2 GB of Corsair TWIN2X2048-5400c4, and found that it supported it without any problems, however when the second module was installed the system only recognized 3.3 GB of RAM, as with any 32-bit Windows installation.

4 GB installed

This seems to be a design choice, as some 945GC boards support only 2 GB while others support 4 GB. Most likely this is just a cost savings decision, but it is nice to know that you are limited to 2 GB of RAM on this revision of the KPC. Since the Intel 945GC boards are very mature, there should not be any compatibility problems with supported memory.

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