Because enthusiasts like small form factor systems too.
There was a time when buying a barebones system from the likes of Shuttle or Asus meant compromising on the type of components you could fit, be it because of space or thermal restrictions. In recent years this has changed and Shuttle has become notoriously good at offering pretty much all the configuration possibilities of a desktop system in its high-end XPC machines.
To that end the latest model, the SP35P2 Pro, the successor to the 975X-chipset based SD39P2 will accomodate the latest 1333MHz FSB quad and dual core processors along with claimed support for future 45nm products all running off the latest P35 chipset from Intel.
Up to 8GB of 800MHz DDR2 RAM is supported, and 80-plus certified 400W PSU (which is really quite impressive for a SFF PC) one x16 PCI-Express slot and a PCI slot. Of course this means that fitting a dual-slot graphics card such as an nVidia 8800-series or AMD 2900 XT will remove any other expansion options, but this has been the case for a good few years now and the sacrifice is worth it, considering the Shuttle’s compactness.
The BIOS also offers some overclocking settings, which we wouldn’t usually expect to see on a compact system such as this, because of temperature restraints – seemingly shuttle’s ICE2 is working as intended.
Connectivity is good with (deep breath) eight USB ports (two front, six rear), two FireWire ports (one front, one rear), 8.1-channel audio jacks, optical and S/PDIF connections, a single Gigabit LAN port, wireless antenna connection and two e-SATA ports. Apparently there is also a fingerprint reader hidden somewhere on the chassis but for the life of me I can’t work out where and we haven’t been able to get any word back from Shuttle on the issue as yet. Pricing is set at €391 (ex. VAT) which would make it about £320 (inc. VAT) when it launches in week 37 (or in other words, October).
Shuttle SP35P2 Pro page.