Peformance & Conclusion
This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.
To start with, there is no overclocking potential for this system. The best offering they have is several memory timings in the BIOS, just CAS and a few other settings mostly giving choices of auto/normal/1T. There isn’t much to play with and playing with all of the settings had very little effect on performance which caters to its intended audience, but still falls short from those I think who would be more interested in this system. The shared memory is about all else that can be played with. From 4 to 64 MB shared is all that there is to change. Fastwrites is also available but I was unable to get the OS to turn it on. Perhaps a driver update will allow this in the future, but I couldn’t get it turned on.
Memory settings were a bit convoluted as AGP aperture and FW settings were not on the same page in the BIOS as the shared memory setting. There is no CPU:FSB settings but there is a CPU:DRAM clock setting. For some reason, setting to synchronous improved performance, but even setting to asynchronous, both memory and CPU were running at 133.
This system is aimed at first time buyers of PCs and those who need to have a small system do to space constraints. The performance of the CPU is on par with what one would expect from the SiS740 chipset, which is a SiS735 with video built in, but an AGP port would serve a much broader arena of users and would make this system, a great system for the masses. Allowing for more powerful video cards and their respective performance and ViVo capabilities for which this system only provides video out.
This was in fact the first system I’ve had the pleasure of watching on my TV. It was a rather interesting experience. I had my desktop set at a resolution of 1024×768. The display on the TV was a bit blurry; setting it to 640×480 resolution cleared this up completely but using 800×600 was tolerable while looking at the desktop although 640×480 was better for movie watching. I then proceeded to watch a movie at full screen. I was quite surprised how good it looked. No lines, no artifacts, a clear picture all around.
Ok, some benchmarks. As I have said, this system will not take the performance crown from anyone, but it does what its current design was made for. Running 3dMark2001:SE v330, the best I was able to achieve at 1024x768x32 was 1274. That was setting shared memory at 64MB and AGP aperture to 128MB. Although running at AGP4X, I could not get FW turned on. Running the test at 800x600x32 the best I was able to do was 1703. As I said, it won’t win any performance crowns, but it’s not designed to do that. PCMark2002 scores were not much better at 4324/2410/671 CPU/MEM/HDD respectively. This is relatively on par with findings of other SiS740 systems that can be found at MadOnion.com using an AMD Athlon™ XP 1800+.
Here are a couple of pics of this tiny system. Overall I was surprised by how quiet this system can be. The performance of the cooling system is admirable in its own unique way. There are a few settings in the BIOS that help cool this little system allowing for more high performance cooling or quieter performance, depending on your use. What I found was that if you do nothing for the most part with an occasional office app, setting it as low as it will go is great performance with readings of my 1800 in the high 30’s while idling and mid 40’s under full load. But BIOS settings can change this range to mid 40’s for idle temps and low to mid 50’s for load temps depending on whether or not you want quiet or performance. There is a fan speed up setting in the BIOS taking it from low to medium speed which can be set at varying temps starting as low as 40ºC. There is also a setting which they call “CPU Fan AutoGuardian” which when enabled will speed up the fan to high speed if the temp hits 56ºC. If you are going for the Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC), high performance is a good thing. But if you are going for the small quiet desktop you can stash anywhere, quiet is a blessing.
HTPC and DC Projects
Some have asked whether or not I would use this as a HTPC, and the quick answer is no. Simply because there is no AGP slot at this time and a PCI TV Tuner card is not what I’m looking for in the way of performance from this system. Rumor has it that an AGP slot is in the works, but I don’t expect that for a while. If this system showed up tomorrow with an AGP slot, hands down no questions asked, it would be a great HTPC for me or even a LAN gamer. Its small size is awesome. With SPDIF, MIC, Headphones, USB, and Firewire ports in front, it would do quite well in that capacity. For now, I consider this system good for a VERY small office system or for those who, like myself, are part of a DC Project, as a great system to add to my farm of PCs.
I tested this system in all three Amdmb.com DC projects to see its strengths and weaknesses in each. Without a lot of overclocking options on this system there wasn’t much to play with, but all memory settings were put to their max, i.e. 1T settings were feasible. Each project was run for 24 hours. For the Seti@Home project which is very memory intensive, the results were not the best I had hoped for, but not bad for its size. Using the 1800+ with its best memory settings, a standard WU for Seti@Home (.417 AR) was completed in just over 4 hours. This is a bit slower than I expected but quite well for its size considering I can put three of these in the same space as the Antec PP1080B I reviewed not long ago. So even if the Antec had a duallie in it, I’d still be up one processor in the same space.
I then went on to test with the Genome@Home project. It’s hard to find benchmarks for this project to compare it to, but it was able to complete more than two genes in one day, but was not able to complete and upload its third in the 24 hour period. I wasn’t around for the third but it uploaded about two hours late, still not bad for its small size.
Next was the Folding@Home project. This is where this system surprised me. Like the Genome@Home project and unlike Seti@Home Folding is very CPU intensive yet not very memory intensive, at least not like Seti. Comparing this system to other 1800 XP systems here doing the same project, it was able to complete WUs in nearly the same timeframe as the other systems. As with all projects there is deviation from the norm, but there is only about a 3-5% slowdown on this system, but the other systems are all overclocked slightly and their overclocks are in the 3-5% range.
With the Folding@Home or Genome@Home project, this system rules as its performance is on par with any other system based upon the same processor. Seti@Home users can also find benefit from this system as its size makes up for any performance hit you may take.
- Cooling abilities
- Q U I E T
- Sleek look
- Unique Cooling system for performance or quiet
- Brightest LEDs I’ve seen on a stock case
- Front audio, SPDIF, USB, and FireWire Ports
- Smallest footprint for a case I have seen
- No AGP slot.
- No overclocking capabilities
- Video performance is great for Office apps, but not for new games using 1024×768
- Only ATA100 and PC2100DDR as maximum performance
Click to Enlarge
Overall this a great system so long as it’s used for its intended use. This is not a LAN gamer as yet, without the AGP slot, but great for people who need a good performing case for a small area. Once the AGP slot has been put into a system of this size, it will be the best LAN party system for those who love to party. It also performs very well for those who use a lot of PCs for DC project farms, as its size may make it well worth its weight in gold if you have run out of space and want to add more. This thing is incredibly small. One thing to note, the pic above, is just to show how bright the Blue power LED is. It can light up my office almost to the point of a small night light. That’s bright! Nice showing Shuttle all you have to do now is show me the AGP slot and I’m all yours.