Shuttle $200 Linux SFF

Info & chat about quiet prebuilt, small form factor and barebones systems, people's experiences with vendors thereof, etc.

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frostedflakes
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Shuttle $200 Linux SFF

Post by frostedflakes » Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:19 pm

http://www.anandtech.com/weblog/showpost.aspx?i=353

Other than the lack of an optical drive and the silly stampings on the front (which don't do anything for me, but I could see a lot of people liking it), I thought this looked like a pretty neat little system for the price. It seems there will also be a barebone available for $100 if you have spare parts you want to throw in there or want to build it from scratch with some beefier components.

Because of the size and lack of expansion slots I wonder if it'll use a brick PSU? Shuttle did it for the ST62K Zen, I wouldn't be surprised if they used one for this.
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dragmor
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Post by dragmor » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:19 pm

I don't like that the ICE system is an optional extra. One of the things that really helps a shuttle is that the ICE fan replaces 2 fans with one (CPU and Case) and that they ICE system reduce the internal space taken by the components making the cases easier to work with.

dougz
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First look via TG --

Post by dougz » Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:59 am

A bit more detail on the specs than we have seen before. Good news/bad news depends on your requirements. See article to determine whether it meets your needs.

Key points - PSU is only 100 watts, no GB ethernet, only one PCI slot, no PCI Express, Intel 945GC, SATA & PATA. Barebones (US$99) supports Core2 Duo, Pentium D, Pentium 4. Assembled (US$199) Celeron 420 (1.6 GHz), 512 MB, 80 GB HDD. No provision for optical drive.
There are still some details to be worked out, so we will have to wait to see what makes it into the final product. We should have a full review of the KPC before it hits the streets in late February or early March. Until then, it seems that Shuttle has a very unique entry level system, if they can deliver the KPC as promised.

http://www.tomshardware.com/2008/01/25/ ... uttle_kpc/

dougz
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A bit more news

Post by dougz » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:58 am

The quiet KPC K45 produces less than 28dBs
...
K45 has an extremely efficient power saving function. Even when KPC K45 is in full use, power consumption is only at less 55W

http://www.vr-zone.com/?i=5576
Much nicer looking in these pics than the previous pics. Front panel pic is customizable.

dougz
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Final specs -- arriving "real soon now"

Post by dougz » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:57 am

Shuttle has posted specs on their web site. http://us.shuttle.com/kpc/techspecs.html

Didn't see a downloadable manual yet.

At 28 dB, with 33 watt idle, 100 watt PSU, space for two hard drives, and gigabit ethernet, it might be an attractive platform for a budget home server. Even has a legacy printer port.

If you click the "Buy" icon, you get --
Thanks for your interest in purchasing the KPC. More of this product will be arriving very soon.
For all inquiries, please fill out the form below. We’ll get back to you with an answer shortly.

chemikalguy
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Linux Distro?

Post by chemikalguy » Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:09 pm

Any word on the Linux distro that will be on these cubes? Rumors are that it'll be a Shuttle-branded distro, but I've seen nothing from Shuttle.

dougz
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Re: Linux Distro?

Post by dougz » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:34 am

chemikalguy wrote:Any word on the Linux distro that will be on these cubes? Rumors are that it'll be a Shuttle-branded distro, but I've seen nothing from Shuttle.
Don't know, but don't really care. The hardware should be well supported by any Linux with 2.6.x kernel. (Don't know about 2.4 kernel -- e.g., Damn Small Linux but even that should work with VESA).

Whatever it is, odds are we'll probably want something else. ;-)

dougz
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Documentation URLs

Post by dougz » Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:56 am

Looks like the KPC/K45 is just about ready. More info on web site.

Manual, driver, BIOS download --
http://global.shuttle.com/download03.jsp?PI=1068

FAQ --
http://global.shuttle.com/support_faq03.jsp?PI=1068

Supported CPUs, memory, graphics (not yet complete), etc --
http://global.shuttle.com/support_list03.jsp?PI=1068

Not the sort of docs we get for an enthusiast product, but not too bad. I'm just getting started with this material, but I didn't see any mention of Linux, just Windows drivers. Shouldn't be any issues with Linux drivers, but still no official word as to which Linux Shuttle supports.

Which Linux? Google gives --
To keep costs down, the kPC will run a version of Ubuntu Linux. Users will also be free to install the OS of their choice. Those looking to roll their own hardware will be able to purchase the system as a traditional small form factor barebones for only $99, as well.

http://techreport.com/discussions.x/13900

dougz
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Linux hacking on system without optical disk

Post by dougz » Tue Feb 26, 2008 9:48 am

Just ran across something that looks to be handy for working on systems without optical drives, like the Shuttle KPC/K45.

Warning: I have not personally tested this yet, but it looks interesting to me.
Mk-boot-usb: a Script to Create Multiple-Bootable USB Sticks

Summary

Mk-boot-usb is a perl script to create multiple-bootable usb sticks (usb keys / usb flash drives). It wipes out an entire usb stick, partitions it, creates file systems on it, installs grub, and installs a minimal linux on it. Mk-boot-usb is meant to speed up and lower the barrier of entry for creating bootable usb sticks. The usb stick will immediately become bootable (using the minimal linux), and more useful distributions can then be installed into other partitions manually simply by (1) copying any Live CD into each partition (2) modifying grub's configuration file.

...

Interactive Usage

Say you have a 1GB usb stick and you want to put into the usb stick Damn Small Linux 4.2.5 and slax 6.0.0 (other than the default ttylinux). Mk-boot-usb's default grub boot menu happens to contain entries for these two distributions, and therefore they require the least of your efforts. These are recommended to users who try mk-boot-usb the very first time.

So we will allocate rougly 60MB and 240MB for them, respectively, leaving about 700MB for your usb as an ordinary storage device.

...

Installing a Live System into the USB Stick

Let's say you use Ubuntu daily on your desktop and you would like to install it to a usb stick. First of all you need a usb stick with large enough memory since such a live system is not compressed like DSL and slax are. Secondly you have to boot from some other device (maybe from a live CD, or maybe from the slax partition of the usb stick you just created!) and copy everything from your Ubuntu partition into one of the stick's empty partitions. By now you also know that /boot/grub/menu.lst on the usb stick's first partition has to be modified....

http://people.ofset.org/~ckhung/p/mk-boot-usb/index.php
Please note that there is a distinction between booting and installing a Live CD distro like Ubuntu to flash disk. The instructions, above, are for installing uncompressed, not booting from an image of a Live CD. Simply booting (the USB copy of the compressed Live CD) is easier.

Of course, this isn't necessary if the Linux Live CD distro in question has a script to install to a USB flash drive. Boot the CD on another system and run the install script. Only one distro per USB stick, but dead simple.

Remember, with great power there is the potential to REALLY SCREW UP! Read the script, thoroughly understand what you're doing, and test.

stmok
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Post by stmok » Wed Feb 27, 2008 10:44 am

You can always get an optical drive and a USB 5.25" external case.

OR

Install Ubuntu over network.
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/Netboot
(Enable network boot on the target system)

OR

Install Ubuntu via USB stick
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LiveUsbPendrivePersistent
or
USB Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon install
http://www.pendrivelinux.com/2007/09/28 ... n-install/

I'm using Ubuntu as an example, but you can do similar with other distros.

dougz
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:03 pm

Post by dougz » Fri Feb 29, 2008 6:19 am

stmok wrote:You can always get an optical drive and a USB 5.25" external case.

OR.
Installing Ubuntu from a Flash Drive

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Insta ... omUSBStick

(Referenced by one of linked pages in previous post, but worth highlighting because of the quality of the documentation.)

dougz
Posts: 317
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:03 pm

Shuttle PC Maker Picks Foresight Linux

Post by dougz » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:43 am

In an announcement made on the Shuttle news section, they have selected Foresight Linux for the KPC due to its "intuitive interface and user focused design." The Shuttle KPC will also come preloaded with OpenOffice.org, Firefox, Pidgin, and other desktop packages. http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=n ... &px=NjM3NQ
Screenshots linked in cited article.

dougz
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Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 3:03 pm

K45/KPC availability

Post by dougz » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:49 am

In response to a query to Shuttle (as Joe User/personal email), I received the following info. Nothing appears to be confidential/proprietary. (Lightly edited for formatting.)

[quote]Dear Shuttle supporter,

Thank you for your interest with Shuttle KPC.

Recently, through Shuttle USA office, we have received your inquiry regarding Shuttle KPC model# K45.

Here are the answers to your questions.

Specification:

1. The official K45 (KPC)barebone specification are below:
* Intel 945GC+ICH7 support up to Intel E4500 CPU
* Two Dimm slots support up to 2GB of DDR2 667 memory
* Two hard drive bays (optional cooling required for 2nd hard drive)
* Integrated Intel GMA 950 graphic (one VGA output)
* Gigabit Ethernet
* Four USB ports
* One printer port
* One serial port
* 5.1 CH audio
* 100W Power Supply
* Customizable front face plate
* WiFi (Optional Shuttle PN20 802.11a/g)
* Diminsion: 11â€

dougz
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Available in US & Foresight Linux

Post by dougz » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:14 am

Shuttle US now has order links -- http://us.shuttle.com/kpc/buy.html

Newegg sells "Shuttle KPC K-4500-RS Intel Celeron 430 1.8 GHz Intel GMA 950 512MB DDR2 80GB Black Mini PC - Retail" for US$ 209.99 + $12.43 S/H -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6856101065

Shuttle sells customizable version (CPU, mem, disk, OS - Linux or Vista Home Premium, etc) -- http://us.shuttle.com/ConfigurePackage. ... e=SYK-4500

Interview with Ken VanDine of Foresight Linux -- http://www.fsckin.com/2008/03/19/interv ... ght-linux/

dougz
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Foresight Linux 2.0 Review

Post by dougz » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:36 am

Ubuntu is smaller, better, more intuitive, more usable and requires less knowledge of Linux than this; it bests Foresight in every single way so how could I possibly recommend it?

It's not pretty enough to make me sit and work out how everything is done... I have never had to read the manual using Ubuntu and that's why Foresight fails. Ubuntu is smaller to download, equally easy to install, equally attractive and infinitely more usable. I'll keep an eye on the release but ultimately I've lost the will to keep reviewing it because it cannot salvage a remotely positive score.

There are too many other good releases to try; ones that are half the size and offer you a LiveCD for a start, let alone the lack of an obvious package manager and shoddy media support.

http://www.distro-review.com/review-foresight-2

dougz
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Review: "Shuttle KPC Desktop"

Post by dougz » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:44 am

In case anyone is still interested --
http://computershopper.com/reviews/shut ... top-review

rollydog
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Post by rollydog » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:56 am

dragmor wrote:I don't like that the ICE system is an optional extra. One of the things that really helps a shuttle is that the ICE fan replaces 2 fans with one (CPU and Case) and that they ICE system reduce the internal space taken by the components making the cases easier to work with.
Ice system is optional? I didn't see anything like that. I'm really interested in buying this comp. I need something that stays quiet while I record and has enough gusto to let me do some editing. Will this baby do the job? Any other cheap suggestions?

I was thinking about getting it with an 2.2 ghz CPU and 2 GB of Ram, as well as linux (I will format it anyway, so I might as well not pay for windows).

dougz
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Post by dougz » Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:13 am

rollydog wrote:Any other cheap suggestions?
Poster Jay_S put together a shopping list for an inexpensive alternative to a similar machine using US/Newegg prices (can't tell where you're posting from).

See -- viewtopic.php?p=395185#395185

Not as small as the KPC, but a lot more flexible and the parts are likely to be of much higher quality. DIY builds really don't carry that much of a price premium compared to prebuilt low-end boxes.

Some Shuttle boxes have a reputation for being a bit noisy. One poster said that the Intel HSF cited in the Jay_S build was quiet. Case fan was 120mm, so it should be reasonable. If you don't like the Enlight-supplied PSU, the box will accommodate a standard PSU.

matt_garman
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Post by matt_garman » Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:20 pm

Does anyone know if the motherboard supports processor undervolting?

I'm thinking you could put an undervolted Celeron, use a PicoPSU and a compact flash card (and CF to IDE adapter) and have a decent, totally passive system. Or at the most, put an already silent, undervolted fan in the back.

It's tempting, even if only for the novelty value.

dougz
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Post by dougz » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:23 pm

matt_garman wrote:Does anyone know if the motherboard supports processor undervolting?
Not documented in downloadable manual.

You might want to check with the folks who have one running --
BIOS menu is standard just like with other Shuttles. One note: CPU Clock is limited between 200-265mhz (for FSB overclock), at least when I put in my E4400. Surprisingly, when I strap my DDR2-667 memory to 533 and overclock from 200:533 to 265:700 (2.65ghz effective for my E4400), the Shuttle boots with no problems. Northbridge gets a little hot, though, no good airflow around it (with the case off, I get 36C cpu 51C system on idle). I’ll install XP and do a stress test later.

It’s a bit of a shame, my cpu heatsink only fits in the case one way; if I could rotate it 90deg, the fins would point towars the northbridge and would probably help cool it. Maybe I’ll play around and try using the rear vent as an input smile

PSU fan is nice and quiet, you’re probably more likely to hear your hdds spinning up than you are the PSU fan.

For reference, I’m using a Kingston KVR667 2x1gb kit.

http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forum ... st/893023/
Nice pictures --
http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forum ... 30/#892900

More discussion --
viewtopic.php?t=47546

Ikshaar
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Post by Ikshaar » Wed May 07, 2008 12:58 pm

I wonder about those KPC. That review (computershoppers) dougz listed says it's silent, but almost all reports on newegg mentionned it is hot and loud...

dougz
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Post by dougz » Sat May 10, 2008 2:56 pm

Ikshaar wrote:I wonder about those KPC. That review (computershoppers) dougz listed says it's silent, but almost all reports on newegg mentionned it is hot and loud...
Yes, that's true -- even with relatively low power CPUs.

I didn't buy one because the design didn't quite suit my needs. Therefore, I only know what I read on the web.

The newegg reviews are worth a read. Some blame the PSU fan, but most cite the CPU fan and poor airflow. Any load and the CPU fan spins up and it still runs hot. Reviews -- http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductRe ... 6856101064

I once asked about Intel HS fans (not on KPC) and got --
The Intel HSF is good out of the box. Not sure of the long-term reliability of the fan (e.g. how soon does the bearing start sounding like a random orbit sander), though. I used the stock Intel C2Duo fan in a build for my brother-in-law and it is plenty quiet.
viewtopic.php?p=395866#395866
One neweg reviewer said that the ICE Genie will be available in June. Another said "Shuttle rep says the upcoming Red KPC will have their ICE genie bundled for quieter CPU cooling."

If you google, you find that the newegg reviews are fairly typical. Some happy owners, many others complain about noise.

Interesting insight into possible PSU defect --
Hi magicant, I had the same loudness problem with the K 4500 I ordered from Newegg, so I sent it back last week. It was incredibly loud. (I took it to work to let the guys I work with hear it just to make sure I wasn't being too picky) I too had read all the reviews that cited how quiet they were and was hoping to use this box as a HTPC. I read on one site that the PSU fans aren't mounted correctly on some that shipped.
...
I contacted Shuttle about this, they said they will resolve it if you contact them. I spoke to the rep that sent me the sample so if you have problems post it here and I will follow up with him.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/25022 ... tle-review
Caveat emptor. Do your research. If you buy, get it from a vendor with a good return policy.

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