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Two New Mini-Powerhouses from Shuttle

Maximum Power Consumption 200 Watts - A Hunka Burnin' Load

Both barebone systems ship with a miniature power supply based on the Flex ATX standard manufactured by the Taiwanese company Achme. According to the type label, the power supply can handle loads of up to 200 watts.

When we consulted the specifications of the AM630B power supply, we discovered that this only applies if the combined power load of the 5 volt and 3.3. volt lines doesn't exceed 120 watts. We weren't quite as pleased with the miniature transformer. The manufacturer lists it as being 65 percent efficient - a modest claim that we confirmed in the lab. Although a switched-mode power supply is most effective at the load point, high power loads generate massive amounts of heat.

In other words, the maximum load of 200 watts will create dissipated heat to the tune of 100 watts. Since you can't carry off all this heat with just the small fan in the power supply, it stays trapped inside, heating up both the case and the components. What's more, the fan in the heat pipe system rotates very quickly, making the already considerable noise level even worse.

Getting hot: heat accumulates inside the mini PC because the components are packed together so tightly and the airflow is not directed effectively.