It’s the same formula as the SG45H7, except that you're obliged to install a graphics card and a small card such as the HD 4550 goes in easily as the framework of the Shuttle is wide open and offers plenty of access.
The SP45H7 lacks the HDMI and VGA ports found on the...
The problem is that the connector for the fan of the CPU cooler sits at the rear of the motherboard next to the graphics card slot where the graphics card blocks access to the connector. If the cable was a little longer it would be possible to make the connection and then slide the fan housing into place but as things stand it’s a bit of a struggle.
Both systems achieved identical scores in 3DMark06, which is exactly what you would expect when you use the same graphics card and CPU. Our test results in PCMark05 show something of a discrepancy as the SP45H7 returned a lower score in the graphics element of the test than the SG45H7. This looks odd but is something we sometimes see with a new installation of Windows Vista and a change in graphics driver. Both systems achieved the same score in the CPU and memory elements of PCMark05 and similar scores in the HDD test so we're confident that the SG45H7 and SP45H7 are pretty much identical in terms of performance.
Next, we got busy with some upgrades. Swapping the WD Caviar Black for an Intel X25-M SSD raised performance and also helped to quieten the Shuttle. This is an upgrade we thoroughly recommend but it’s a big ask with the price standing at £300.
Then we swapped the 3.16GHz Core 2 Duo E8500 for a 3.00GHz Core 2 Extreme QX9650 which had a surprisingly tiny benefit in PCMark05. The good news is that the power supply handled the load without any problems. The power supply carries an ‘80 PLUS’ logo which doesn’t indicate an 80W rating but instead refers to its efficiency.
The rating of the Shuttle PSU is 300W, which means that the SP45H7 will support any Core 2 processor that fits the socket along with any graphics card with a six-pin power connector. If you yearn for a Radeon HD 4870 X2, you’ll be out of luck.
My biggest beef with these Shuttle et al barebones systems is their size and shape: they're not wide enough to perch a monitor on, too fat to sit behind one, and too squat to sit happily on the floor.
Bog standard slimline desktop PCs do it for me every time.
faster RAM tests mostly pointless
Since data to/from RAM has to pass through the FSB on this system, and RAM run at DDR2-667 in dual-channel mode already fully saturates the 1333MHz FSB bandwidth, there's not much point in running the RAM at DDR2-800 or DDR2-1066.
The Shuttle box in the review does indeed look like it IS going to have cooling issues. I haven't seen any of their boxes which look like that for several years. I wouldn't even want to consider putting a 4850 in that as it WILL be a problem come summer.