Shuttle Form Factor is a proprietary two-slot spin-off of an ATX design. Similar cube-shaped cases using larger motherboards are available as Micro-ATX and ATX cubes, but calling those components “SFF” is a misnomer, since hardware of any specific form factor must by definition be interchangeable.
Beneath a flip-down spring-loaded optical drive cover, two accessory doors open to reveal a 3.5” external bay, headset jacks, USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA port, and a reset button. The external bay also has additional holes for installing a second internal drive behind its cover.
A look around back reveals Shuttle Form Factor's reduced number of expansion slots compared to similarly-shaped Micro-ATX cubes. Its latest motherboard loses legacy ports but gains eSATA, and a proprietary adapter allows internal SATA devices to be powered externally through an included cable.
Perforated side panels and gaps around components allow air to move freely towards the center of the case, where it’s removed by an exhaust fan. A drive tray above this space holds a 5.25” (external) and two 3.5” devices (internal and internal/external).
Removing the drive tray allows easy access to four DDR3 memory slots, three of which are configured for triple-channel mode. Shuttle specifies that its motherboard supports DDR3 1066, 1333, and 1600, but the platform's current BIOS does not support the required 5x and 6x memory multipliers for speeds above DDR3-1066 at stock CPU base clock. Shuttle promises a BIOS update soon.
A heat-pipe assembly transfers heat from the CPU to the rear panel, where a 3,800 RPM, 92 mm fan cools its radiator. The 540 milliamp Protechnic model MGT9212UR-W25 fan is rated at 72.85 CFM and 41.3 decibels at full speed, but Shuttle’s smart fan controls keep it whisper-quiet most of the time.
Rated at 500 W maximum output, Shuttle’s latest power supply is also endowed with an 80 Plus Bronze certification. These specifications are most impressive in a unit slightly narrower than even the tiny TFX form factor, but the lack of any “combined 12 V” output rating is a bit of a letdown.