13 Barebones Reviewed Are Anything But Square

Configuration Table, Continued

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Manufacturer / ModelAsus Pundit AB-P 2800Shuttle XPC SB81PShuttle XPC ZEN ST62KShuttle XPC SB83G5
Dimensions360 x 94 x 295mm330x 220 x 220mm190 x 165 x 285mm332x 190 x 200mm
Connectivity & Operation
USB2x USB 2.0 Type A2x USB 2.0 Type A2x USB 2.0 Type A2x USB 2.0 Type A
Firewire IEEE 13941x 4-pin, 1x 6-pin1x 6-pinno1x 6-pin
Audio1x mic, 1x headphones, 1x SPDIF1x mic, 1x headphones1x mic, 1x headphones, 1x Line-Out1x mic, 1x headphones
Card readerSD, MMC, SM, MSSD, MMC, SM, MS, CFnono
PC-Card (PCMCIA)1xnonono
Function buttonsPower OnPower On, ResetPower On, ResetPower On, Reset
Drive bays1x 5.25 " & 1x 3.5 "1x 5.25 " & 1x 3.5 "1x 5.25 " & 1x 3.5 "1x 5.25 " & 1x 3.5 "
Display includednononono
Info shown in displayn/an/an/an/a
Monitor-out1xVGA, 1x DVI1xVGA, (no DVI)1xVGA, (no DVI)1xVGA, (no DVI)
USB2x USB 2.0 Type A2x USB 2.0 Type A2x USB 2.0 Type A2x USB 2.0 Type A
Firewire IEEE 1394ano1x 6-pin2x 6-pin1x 6-pin
Serial/ Parallel ports1x / 1x1x / no1x / no1x / no
Audio3x (can be used for 5.1)5x (als 7.1 nutzbar), 1x Coaxial3x (can be used for 5.1)3x (can be used for 5.1), 1x Coaxial
LAN1x (10/100)1x (10/100/1000)1x (10/100)1x (10/100/1000)
S-Video / Composite (Cinch)yes / yesno / noyes / nono / no
Northbridge/ SouthbridgeATI RS300 / IXP200Intel 915G (Grantsdale) / ICH6RATI RS300 / IXP200Intel 915G (Grantsdale) / ICH6R
CPU SocketPGA 478LGA 775PGA 478LGA 775
CPU SupportIntel Pentium 4, (incl. Prescott)Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott / Teyess)Intel Pentium 4, (incl. Prescott)Intel Pentium 4 (Prescott / Teyess)
FSB Clock400, 533, 800 MHz533, 800 MHz400, 533, 800 MHz533, 800 MHz
ClassificationDDR266 - DDR400DDR333 - DDR400DDR266 - DDR400DDR333 - DDR400
Max. memory2 GB4 GB2 GB4 GB
On-board Graphics
Manufacturer/ chipsetATI RS300Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (i915G)ATI RS300Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 (i915G)
Graphics memory usedFramebuffer 8, 16, 32, 64, 128Framebuffer 1,4,8, 16, 32 Fixed Memory 64 oder 128 MByteFramebuffer 8, 16, 32, 64, 128Framebuffer 1,4,8, 16, 32 Fixed Memory 64 oder 128 MByte
Internal I/O Components
Hard disk controllerATI IXP200ICH6RATI IXP200ICH6R
IDE Channels2x UltraATA/1001x UltraATA/1002x UltraATA/1001x UltraATA/100
S-ATA Channelsno/no4x S-ATA 150no/no2x S-ATA 150
RAID Supportnoyes, only via S-ATAnoyes, only via S-ATA
Floppy Controlleryesyesyesyes
Network ControllerRTL 8801BLBroadcom GigabitRTL 8100CMarvell 88E8001 Gigabit
Expansion Slots
PCI slots2x 32 Bit PCI 2.31x 32 Bit PCI 2.31x 32 Bit PCI 2.31x 32 Bit PCI 2.3
PCI Expressno1x (16 Lanes)no1x (16 Lanes)
On-Board Audio
TypeAC97 2.2AC97 2.2AC97 2.2AC97 2.2
Surround Support5.1 Channel7.1 Channel5.1 Channel5.1 Channel
Power Supply
ManufacturerDelta ElectronicsunknownShuttle (external)Shuttle
Wattmax. 125 Wattunknownmax. 180 Wattmax. 250 Watt
CPU1x 70mm1x 70mm, 1x 80mmn/a1x 92mm
Systemn/a2x 60mm1x 80mmn/a
Power supply1x 80mm1x 80mmn/a2x 40mm
User ManualEnglishEnglishEnglishEnglish
CablesS-ATA, IDE, FloppyS-ATA, IDE, FloppyIDE, FloppyS-ATA, IDE, Floppy
Remote controlnononono
Softwaredrivers, bundled softwaredrivers, InterVideo Home Theaterdrivers, bundled softwaredrivers, InterVideo Home Theater
Otherscrewscable ties, thermal paste, screwscable ties, thermal paste, screwscable ties, thermal paste, screws

This Is How We Tested

For this test, we looked at the loudness and heat generation and not the speed measurements of the motherboards. We used an Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz for the Socket 478 or alternatively a P4 3.6 GHz for the Socket 775. For the AMD versions, we used an Athlon 64 3400+.

The assembly of the hardware and barebone was also evaluated as well as the cable routing and the edges on the mini PCs.

To measure the sound level, we used the SL-4001 from Lutron, held at 50 cm from the barebone. The distance was set to 50 cm because the barebone is usually put on the table and is consequently not more than 50 cm away from the ears. Two measurements were taken. One was taken when the barebone was in idle mode and one was taken after approximately 30 minutes with the CPU under a full load.

We used the FAN-O-Matic from Innovatec for the temperature measurements. Many heat sensors were attached to the barebone for the temperature measurements. A sensor was placed in the cooling fins of the CPU fan, one on the hard disk, one on the DVD drive and one outside on the power supply. For each barebone, the measurements took three hours, during which the onboard graphics was used. With the test program Prime95, the CPU and the motherboard were heated up or alternatively loaded.

The scope of delivery and the configuration of the barebone were also included in the evaluation.

Test Equipment

We equipped the barebones with the hardware shown below. This included an AGP and a PCI Express graphics card to replace the onboard graphics. To ensure that the graphics card fans didn’t affect the decibel measurement, the noise measurements were only taken with the onboard graphics. If the barebone didn’t have onboard graphics, like the Soltek QBIC for example, a passively cooled graphics card was used.

Small fan : makes noise like a large one

The operating system is on a Seagate S-ATA disk

The Corsair dynamic duo : Should be 2 x 512 megaBytes

5.25" drives have different depths. Things that are unimportant in a midi tower can cause installation problems in a barebone. Therefore, another item on our checklist was how well the hardware installed and where the weak points were. In the process, two additional items were checked : how is the cabling and the workmanship of the barebone case ?

Every centimeter can save space for the cabling

Siggy Moersch