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The front of the case provides a further pair of USB 2.0 ports and a mini FireWire port. Additionally, there’s easily accessible headphone and microphone jacks on the front.
In SFF cases, like this one, the internal layout and cooling determine how suitable the case is for powerful components. The first generation G chassis had considerable problems shifting heat away from the drives. While a computer may overheat without crashing, it reduces the lifespan of your components – particularly hard drives.
Indeed it’s the system’s drives that will suffer most in the SK22G2 as well. As with the original G cases, a caddy provides two external 5.25in and 3.5in bays and an internal 3.5 bay. To aid installation these are held in a caddy, which bolts into the chassis. The drives are crammed into the front of the case without any ventilation so because of this you should never fill the external 3.5in bay as your disks will run dangerously hot.
Even with this space left free, there’ll be minimal airflow between the drives; cool air is sucked in from vents in the sides of the case. The SK22G2 only contains two fans in total: one 40mm fan sits in the system’s 200W Active PFC PSU, and a single 92mm exhaust fan provides airflow for the system and cooling for the CPU.
Shuttle calls this 92mm HSF an Integrated Cooling Engine (ICE). Much like the rest of the chassis, the design hasn’t changed noticeably from the original. The ICE is a heat pipe cooler much like any other. The base, which sits atop the CPU, bolts down to the chassis with four large screws. Three heatpipes carry heat from the base, up and into the path of the temperature controlled fan, which blows it straight out of the case.
This system is fine for an older CPU, like the Sempron 2800, however the old design provides inadequate cooling for high-end processors. As our benchmarks testify it’s possible to run an FX-62 under heavy load in the system, but it required a BIOS update before it would spin the 92mm fan fast enough to keep the CPU running smoothly. The price paid for the stability of our overpowered test CPU was an ear splittingly loud fan.
At half the price of the SN27P2, the SK22G2 presents great value, and it scored very well in the benchmarks. These performance results are deceptive though, because the system will overheat when used with a CPU of this power. The cooling system is much better suited to a lower power CPU, like a Sempron or single-core Athlon. With the correct CPU you’ll find the SK22G2 to be reasonably quiet when the system is running idle.