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To see if it all proved stable we ran the full gamut of tests and I was pleased to find that it ate its way through them with no crashes – there’s a fair amount of heat chucked out the rear and there’s some background noise from the two Raptors, but if you go with a single slot card and a regular hard disk, this could be a very quiet system indeed. There are actually four fan settings in the BIOS, Ultra-slow,. Slow, Mid, and High. I actually conducted all tests with it on ultra-slow, making the stability even more impressive.
Performance was pretty much blistering – and the results are not a million miles away from the heavily overclocked Vadim, which costs over four grand.
As well as our regular benchmarks I loaded up one of my favourite games, Oblivion. This is still one of the most demanding games around for systems, stressing the graphics card heavily in outdoor scenes and the hard disk on loading times. The experience on the kitted out SD39P2 was just fantastic, with levels loading speedily and none of the stuttering I experience in my home system.
Interestingly, I found that if you want a high image quality level of 4x FSAA and 8x anisotropic filtering even this system was limited to 1,680 x 1,050 resolution. It could do 1,920 x 1.200 but the frame rate dropped to around 15fps in busy scenes.
If you’re a gamer and you go for a dual-slot card, the only thing of note that you’ll miss would be a dedicated sound card such as an X-Fi. However, the Realtek audio still sounds decent and considering all the other benefits I’d say it was a sacrifice worth making. Wouldn’t it be great if Shuttle could get Creative to embed a basic X-Fi into a system? Then there would be no compromises. Sure this would add to the cost, but this is already a premium option.
The cheapest I could find the SD39P2 was £310, and you can get a regular 975x mobo for under a £100 – spend the same on a case and £50 on a PSU and you’re still looking at a big difference. Still, I was so impressed with the completed system that I’d say it’s a price worth paying. It may be expensive, but that’s not to say it’s not decent value.
If you want real power then in a small case, the Shuttle SD39P2 proves emphatically that it really is possible.
Shuttle soldiers on with this latest design. It handles Intel quad core, a trio of hard disks, and a super fast 8800 GTX graphics with ease so whatever you want to put inside this machine, you can be confident it’ll deliver the goods – compact, stylish, quiet and powerful, the SD39P2 is worth the extra over standard cases.