Shuttle’s Gorgeous SFF Media Centre

Is it warped for a man to fall in love with a computer case?

I love SSF (small form factor) cases, but in reality I always end up going for a medium or full size alternative. My argument is I need the expansion slots, but the new fully featured Media Centre from Shuttle means I can argue that point no longer.

Like many Shuttle products, the XPC SB83G5M looks great. So good in fact, that I am forced to perform that rare act and re-brand two products in one week. Being small, dark and feisty, Eliza seems an appropriate choice.

So being SFF what are those measurements exactly? A petite 30cm long, 20cm wide and 18.5cm high which add up to a barebones weight of only 4.65Kg (we’ve seen heavier laptops) and while a compact frame doesn’t guarantee good looks, in Eliza’s case (no pun intended) the results are stunning.

Built around a Shuttle G5 chassis, the mirrored front panel, LEDs and hidden drive bays create a stylish front that I would be happy to set up in my living room. What’s more, Shuttle guarantees that its Silent X cooling system will keep all noise down to an absolute minimum. It doesn’t quote any decibels (or have any figures to hand), but we’ve not had any problems with this in previous Shuttle cases.

Eliza is not just a looker though, on the inside she is built around Intel’s excellent 915G chipset and comes with six channel audio, support for SATA RAID and PCI Express. A maximum of 2GB of DDR400 RAM can be installed and if you are not a gamer then you can make use of the onboard VGA graphics.

For an SFF case connection options are plentiful with four USB2.0 and two FireWire ports, inbuilt gigabit Ethernet, SPDIF in/out, coaxial output and mic. One 5.25in drive can be installed in the front panel while a 3.5in space is filled with an inbuilt card reader (a second 3.5in space is somehow fitted inside).

Eliza’s price is steep at £295 including VAT, but Shuttle products are never going to be found in the bargain bucket. I like to be impartial in the News Section, but with Eliza it was love at first sight and – given that she comes out today – it might just be time to make that transition to SFF.

Shuttle Europe

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