New Shuttle Boxes and Optorite Drives


“Shuttle Launches”: and “Optorite DD0401”: Just when I thought it was safe to make Christmas recommendations, now come two Shuttle boxes that could change the recommendations so that the SK43G becomes the new low-end machine of choice and the ST61G4 has the ATI graphics chipset so maybe the last barrier for Shuttle (slow onboard graphics is conquered). We’ll have to wait for reviews. but right now I’d say the SK43G will replace the SK41G in the low-end system adn the ST61G4 will replace the SB65G2. Finally, Optorite just announced an 8x DVD+/-RW drive. Wow, that’s fast, so I need to see how that is going to perform:
* “Shuttle SK83L”: The new SK83L is the latest design meant for the Athlon 64 processor. Utilizing VIA’s upcoming K8M800 chipset, it offers users a Socket-754 platform with integrated Unichrome graphics. It has support for DDR400 memory (up to 2GB) and it will also come with 1394, USB 2.0 and SATA ports. According to Shuttle, the SATA interface can be configured for RAID operation too. So this will compete with the as yet unavailable SN85G4 it appears. Will be interesting to see the review comparison. In other benchmarks, the nVidia and VIA chipsets have been about the same, so it will be a cost issue.
* Walibe SFF – SK43G – Shuttles latest AMD machine. This is an update to the SK41G that is the low-end recommendation. Major feature is that it uses the new KIA chipset, so supports 400MHz FSB and will thus be faster. Also, will be cheaper than the SN45G since KIA is less than nVidia. The main difference is that it has TV output from its onboard video. It has serial ATA with RAID 0 built in, so it is quite high end. Not sure you really need serial ATA but cool to have a RAID option. Main negative is the power supply is only 200 watts, so you have to be careful what you put into it.
* “Shuttle ST61G4″: This is a brand new machine, they just put up for Intel Pentium systems. It uses an ATI chipset (I need to find a review on that one). And it uses the new card reader like the SN84G4 so that means it uses the G4 chassis which also means the 5-1/4” drive isn’t removable so its harder to get into it. Given the chipset is ATI, it is probably cheaper than the Intel versions (SB65G2 and SB75G2), but need to check on performance. As the “ATI 9100 IDP”: previews show, it might be great. Here’s summary from PCstats on a early sampel system using the ATI 9100 compared with the graphics on the Intel 865G:
| | ATI 9100 | Intel 865G | Comment |
| Business Winstone 2002 | 30.5 | 32.8 | Higher is better, DDR400 adds 3% vs. DDR333|
| Content Winstone 2003 | 47.6 | 46.2 | Only DDR333 measured on the 865G side |
| Unreal Tournament 2003 Botmatch | 38.0 | 13.8 | 865G is unplayable at 14 fps |
Wow, these benchmarks show that the new ATI chipset has something that has the same performance in office applications since any video card can handle these, but if you want to play games, you should get the ATI-based system. It doesn’t have serial ATA (expensive drives right now), but that feels like a small tradeoff.
“Hot Hardware”: had a similar early benchmark set. That showed similar improvements:
| | ATI 9100 | Intel 865G |
| Quake Arena 800×600 | 121.8 | 55 |
| Quake 3 Arena 1024×768 | 35.5 | 17.2 |