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Shuttle XPC Prima P2 4800X System Review
By , Jeff Prehm

The system comes with several exclusive features, including a fingerprint reader and the ability to link two computers by USB cable and to connect eSATA drives.

Fingerprint Reader

The SX48P2 comes with a fingerprint reader built in. This is a new feature on Shuttle products and is integrated into the flip-down cover for the front I/O. It is intended to provide integrated security so that you use your fingerprint to log into Windows. Testing this only required the installation and use of the software. When launched, the software prompted us to configure it, which involved  selecting which fingerprint to add to the database. 

 

Pick your finger.Pick your finger.Troubles beginTroubles begin

You scan your finger several times before the print is archived.

Only after about 10 attempts was I was able to get one finger registered. The fingerprint was then stored on the system and I could use it to log in with Windows.

Windows loginWindows loginFailed loginFailed login

I found this to be difficult and more often than not I had to repeatedly try over and over to just get the failure message.

After much work, I was able to log in

Successful loginSuccessful loginIE-saved passwordsIE-saved passwords

Once logged in with your finger, the software allows you to save IE passwords

The fingerprint software can be configured to require a registered fingerprint to log into Windows or to resume work after the screen saver appears on the screen. The issue that causes problems with the fingerprint login could be attributed to how the flip-down panel is not sturdy, which moves as you run your finger across the reader. This is perhaps an issue that would resolve itself with more practice. It could also end up being a feature that you never use because it does not work for you. It is a nice idea but perhaps placement of the reader should have been somewhere easier to access and it could have been more stable and reliable to use.

Speed-Link

The PC includes a reliable-to-use technology that Shuttle calls Speed-Link. With it, you press a button on the front of the Shuttle SX48P2 and connect two PCs together with a USB cable and it allows for the transfer of files through a USB connection.

Speed-LinkSpeed-Link

The software creates a new removable storage device called Speed-Link.  Selecting this device opens the software explorer on both PCs and allows both PCs to see files on the others PC’s drives.  The software worked with Vista and XP but was not tested with other operating systems. It is an easy way for non-technical people to move files, but wouldn’t it be easier just to copy files from one PC to another with a USB flash drive?

eSATA

External SATA- or eSATA-connected drives work out of the box. With BIOS X48S10Q, the system allows the use of external drives in a bootable RAID configuration.

External SATA in BIOSExternal SATA in BIOSPower header connectedPower header connected

The provided power header on the back of the case is excellent for temporarily connecting a SATA drive via the eSATA connector.

Value

The Shuttle XPC Prima P2 4800X was an expensive system at its original $4,560 price point. Configured today on Shuttle's site, the same machine costs $4,279 with a Radeon HD 4870 (it's no longer available with the GeForce GTX 280). With that said, you can build the same system yourself by purchasing the barebones version and then saving by adding different components from various retail outlets. For example, I was able to build a similar system for about $2,850, which is a huge savings. If you are able to do it, then I would suggest that you save the money by building the PC yourself based on the Shuttle barebones system.

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