Any Core i7-based system can pack an amazing performance punch, but did the XPC SX58H7 live up to Shuttle’s incredible claims? Let’s first take a quick look at its overall performance compared to our previous top-performer, the Asus P6T.
Shuttle outpaces several full-sized boards from our previous roundup by placing less than 1% behind the performance of our leading board. It’s even above the average for that roundup, as five of seven roundup products fell below 99% of Asus’ performance. Performance claims are thus validated.
However, as we expected, overclocking was limited by the XPC’s 92 mm fan and four-pipe cooler. It nearly reached 3.6 GHz and ran quietly most of the time while pushing our Core i7 920 to 3.20 GHz, so claims to this ability are also validated even though it comes up short of monster-cooled systems in capability.
The final question concerned whether or not the XPC SX58H7 could really run today’s fastest graphics cards, since it was designed for up to two mid-market parts. We loaded our factory-overclocked, dual-GPU MSI GeForce GTX 295 and found that while power consumption increased to 275 W under Crysis, the twin-GPU assembly was actually cooler than its single-GPU sibling at 44 degrees Celsius. Adding eight threads of 64-bit Prime95 to Crysis brought peak power consumption to 425 W, which is still within the rated limits of Shuttle’s power supply. Gaming capability is fully validated, though anyone looking for space to install two of these monster graphics cards must once again turn to larger systems.
Who can live with the Shuttle XPC SX58H7? Gamers who don’t mind constraining themselves to one double-slot or two single-slot graphics cards and mild overclocks should be completely satisfied. Power users who don’t need additional expansion slots or more than two internal hard drives may also be satisfied, although some must wait for availability of 4 GB DDR3 modules to get their preferred 12 GB system RAM. But while the system is quiet under normal operating conditions, home-theater fanatics who demand silence will be disappointed by even the slightest noise that this XPC makes continuously.
Shuttle’s SX58H7 is likely suitable for the majority of performance PC buyers, although many will remain unconvinced. We believe it’s worth a second (or even a third) look if you want Core i7 in a compact form factor.