The Mailman Has Arrived: Four Mini-PCs on the Test Bench

Common Features And Differences: ECS, MSI, Shuttle And Soyo

In purely aesthetic terms, only the Shuttle with its cube-like design is identifiable as a PC system at first sight. The other candidates could just as easily be hi-fi systems from the late nineties : MSI quite clearly opts for the look of a modern compact system, whereas the ECS and Soyo models are not so easy to place. Soyo uses two metal housings that can be placed on top of each other or next to each other.

Of all the test candidates, the Shuttle XPC SB61G2 is equipped with the most up-to-date basic hardware.

Shuttle and Soyo (pictured) both offer a heat pipe system for CPU cooling.

All four candidates are based on the P4 platform with 478 socket. Consequently, with the exception of the system from Shuttle, the maximum application is a P4 with 3.06 GHz. While ECS, MSI and Soyo rely on the SiS651 chipset, which is no longer so fresh, the Shuttle is fitted with the brand new Intel 865G chipset. In the case of the latter, therefore, features such as dual-channel DDR, or, alternatively, "FSB800" (200 MHz FSB clock with Quad data rate technology), and functions such as serial ATA for hard disks are available. All candidates offer an integrated graphics system, although the picture and graphic quality varies. It’s a fact that streaking may occur from time to time with the graphics on the SiS model, especially if a TFT monitor is connected, but this will only bother especially sensitive users.