Shuttle SD11G5: Pentium-M SFF PC

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TESTING

No performance benchmarks were run on this system. The results are highly unlikely to vary more than 2~3% from any other Intel 915GM based system using the same CPU, hard drive, memory and video card. This is insignificant in any practical application. The system was as fast and responsive as just about any we've seen in the lab.

Tools

  • Seasonic Power Angel power meter, used to measure AC power consumption during various system activity states.
  • CPUBurn processor stress testing software to load system to full.
  • 3DMark05 was used at default test settings to engage the VGA card and increase power consumption.
  • SpeedFan system monitoring sofftware to monitor temperatures and fan speed. (It would have been nice to get a compatible version of Shuttle's XPC Tools utility, but the SD11G5 is still not supported. I'm told it's coming.)
  • B&K 2203 sound level meter (capable of measuring well below 20 dBA)
  • SPCR's Digital Audio Recording System

The ambient temperature was 20°C during testing. The ambient noise was 18 dBA.

Configuration 1: With on-board VGA

  • Intel 770 (Pentium M Dothan core, 2.13 GHz + 2 MB cache) processor. 27W is the rated TDP; maximum "junction temperature" is 100°C — whatever that means. It's worth noting that in his review of the AOpen i915GMm-HFS socket 479 motherboard, Ralf Hutter recorded a temperature of 85°C for a Pentium M 755 - 2.0GHz, and that processor is still doing fine.
  • 2 x 512 mb Corsair DDR2 memory
  • Seagate 5400.2 SATA 120GB 2.5" notebook HDD - suspended with clothing elastic in 3.5" HDD bays. No floppy drive was used.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Pro SP2 fully updated
  • On-board Intel GMA900 video
SD11G5 w/ on-board VGA
System Activity
AC Power
CPU Temp
Fan RPM
SPL*
Board Temp?†
EIST Idle
32W
24°C
820
21~22
40°C
Idle
41W
30°C
820
21-22
41°C
Full Load
56W
45°C
960
23
46°C
3DMark05
58W
46°C
980
23
47°C
* Sound Pressure Level measured in dBA at one meter from the front bezel with the fan control set to Smart Fan or Ultra Low.
† It's not clear what several temp sensors picked up by SpeedFan actually monitor. These readings are from the sensor that always gave the highest temps — just for the record.

The testing and data collection was anticlimactic because there was little change between low and high loads. The system barely changed in any perceptible way:

  • The noise went up just enough to let you know that the fan had sped up a touch.
  • The air blowing out the back of the system felt slightly warmer after max load and 3DMark05 for >30 minutes than it did at idle.
  • The power draw was the biggest change, but the maximum peak with 3DMark05 was just 56W.
  • The hard drive temperature stayed at a constant 31°C throughout the tests.
  • Idle temperature with EIST enabled was just 4°C above ambient room temperature.

There were several other temperature sensors detected by SpeedFan, but it's not clear what they were really reading. The column marked "Chip Temp" provides readings from the sensor that always gave the highest temperatures.

As expected, video performance in 3DMark05 was unacceptably slow, but this is what we can expect from any Intel GMA 900 onboard video. In 2D applications, video performance was perfectly good.

The Dual Display option was also tried briefly, using two 19" LCD monitors. Having worked with Matrox Dual Head video cards since this technology first came to market, I am used to a high level of dual-display performance. Although extensive use testing was not done, I was surprised by the dual display functionality of the onboard video. It was decent and worth exploring further


The Intel display options menu.

Noise Quality: The primary noise from our sample system (as configured for System One) was from the I.C.E. cooling fan. There is virtually no wind turbulence noise to speak of at either the lowest speed or the maximum speed reached during testing at the Smart Fan setting. Most of the noise is a buzzy hum that gets a bit louder when the fan speeds up. It's not until ~1,000 RPM or higher that any of the wind turbulence noise becomes audible. Much beyond that speed, the hum begins to get masked by the wind turbulence whooshing noise. Despite the low measured level at slow speed, this fan hum is annoying and intrusive, at least here in the quiet lab.

Shuttle provides an acoustic report for many of their SFF models. The acoustic report for the SD11G5 was not available on the Shuttle web site at time of writing, but a copy was provided along with the review sample. It is reproduced in its entirety below.

Shuttle's SPL measurements were made with the microphone placed ~0.5 meter away from the front panel of the PC in accordance with the Seated Operator Position as defined in ISO 7779. The distance between the microphone and the PC is ~0.5 meters. When our measuring microphone was positioned half a meter away from the SD11G5 system, we obtained SPL results that were 3 dBA higher compare to the one meter readings. They jibe almost perfectly with Shuttle's acoustic report. We did not take any SPL measurements of the fan at higher speeds; there does not appear any reason for anyone to use the higher speeds, as cooling is excellent with the fan on the lowest speeds.

Odd PSU Noise on Standby

It's a noise that became evident when the power to the PC was turned off. It would be normal to simply keep the AC/DC adapter plugged into the AC outlet. The AC/DC adapter emits an odd squealing noise at a very low level, continuously, when the SD11G5 is turned off. Its stops when the computer is turned or when the adapter is unplugged from the AC outlet.

The noise is quiet enough that it might not be noticed if the adapter was under the desk. For our testing, the device was atop the desk, so it was clearly audible, although it semed to be at around the room ambient level of 18 dBA when measured from a meter away. This happened with any system configuration. We made a recording; you can listen to it along with the other recordings further on. It's impossible to say whether this is a sample anomaly, but a review of the SD11G5 at the French web site www.matbe.com also noted the same phenomenon.



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