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Shuttle SB77G5 - SFF Barebone System - Shuttle SB77G5
The IDE connectors and the two SATA connectors are towards the front of the case and all of them are relatively easy to get to. There’s plenty of connectivity around the back as well. Shuttle has fitted two serial ports, two PS/2 ports, two USB 2.0 ports and single FireWire port. Add to this an Ethernet port for the onboard Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet controller, 5.1-channel audio outputs in the shape of 3.5mm jacks, a line in, coaxial S/PDIF out and optical S/PDIF in and out. The optical S/PDIF out connector is located above the expansion card slots and is connected with a wire internally, so you'll need to be careful when installing a PCI card.
The parallel port doesn’t come as standard, but there is a pin header on the motherboard and a space in the case where the optional port can be fitted. Right next to the audio connectors is a small hole, behind which a button is placed. The button is used instead of a jumper to reset the CMOS.
Hidden behind a flap at the front are five more ports, a headphone and microphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports and a four-pin FireWire port. The panels on the front of the case have been finished with black brushed aluminium to enhance the overall stylish design.
Fitting optical drives to SFF systems in the past has been a tricky affair, especially if the eject button on the drive didn’t line up exactly with the eject button on the case. Shuttle has solved this problem by fitting an adjustable eject mechanism that can be moved along a track to ensure that it lines up with the middle of the eject button on the drive.
Overall the SB77G5 is well built and has all of the features you would expect considering the hardware that it’s built with. The lack of HD audio is a downside as the integrated Realtek codec is far from the best onboard audio solution around. It would also be a tight squeeze to fit a dual slot graphics card in this chassis.
The benchmark scores don’t disappoint either with an overall SYSMark 2004 score of 212 with a 3.6GHz Pentium 4 and 1GB of Crucial Ballistix PC3200 DDR SDRAM installed. The 3D benchmarks were done with a GeForce 6600GT AGP card and considering the limitations of the GPU the scores are very good. If you’re looking for a Shuttle system to take along to LAN parties the SB77G5 would serve you well as long as you’re happy with an AGP graphics card.
If there’s one downside to the SB77G5 it’s the steep retail price of £255.95 which makes it one of the most expensive SFF systems on the market. Whether the SB77G5 is worth the money is really down to the person buying it, but I think that the price is a tad too high for what is really a rehashed model in a stylish new case and sporting a different CPU socket.
The Shuttle SB77G5 is a stylish, well built SFF system, but it lacks some of the features seen on the latest generation of barebone systems. The i875P chipset is still going strong and for anyone not willing to move on to DDR2 and PCI Express this is a good alternative, but it’s a lot of money to spend on old technology.