Shuttle XPC Cube SZ170R8 Review: From the last years we have seen that a variety of form factors are emerging. For ages it is easy to forget that vendors have been trying to break away from mould. One of the first was the Taiwanese manufacturer called the Shuttle that pioneered small form factor of cubes for ages. So to fill an average mid-tower case you will need a pair of them and you don’t have to lose any upgrade capabilities or functionality.
Shuttle XPC Cube SZ170R8 Review
The Shuttle SZ170R8 cuts the very familiar shape that reminds us of the SH55J2 and XPC SX38P2 amongst others, with a square-ish fascia it has a similar rectangular shaped chassis. As it is a barebones model so it comes without any processor, system memory or storage.
At Ballicom it is available for about $420 or AU$580 with all-inclusive which is a lot for what is essentially a pretty case, a custom fan or motherboard. Shuttle aims at the DIY enthusiast who may use it for the microserver, a home theatre PC or a portable gaming rig.
With a couple of LEDs, the front panel is essentially a brushed aluminium that is anodized black panel with power button and with the couple of LEDs. At the bottom there are two USB 3.0 ports and is a flap that hides two audio ports. But it does not have an SD card reader.
On either side of the unit there are plenty of holes to facilitate air circulation that is vital if you want to keep your system cool even under load. With a 14.2 litre of volume, empty it weighs around 3.5kg.
At the back of the device there are visible fan outlet for the proprietary power supply unit and air outlet for the processor heatsink fan plus the myriad of the ports. There are two Display Ports, HDMI connectors, six USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA, a CMOS reset button, 7.1 audio and a GbE LAN port.
There is a plenty of space inside it because the PSU is so small and still it is a 500W model with an 80% plus efficiency. With four expansion slots and four memory slots the SZ170R8 can take up to four 3.5-inch hard disk drives.
The drive cage and access to all the empty ports is pretty straightforward and the same is true when it comes to remove the CPU fan and heatsink. Underneath there is a socket LGA 1151 that is paired to remove the Z180 chipset, that supports Skylake CPUs with the TDP of up to 95W.
With three pipes and a temperature controlled 92mm fan the cooler uses the Shuttle’s signature ICE technology with the noise reduction technology. It will be very easy to access the ports and the empty bays.
At its heart a loaded SZ170R8 will have an Intel Core i7 processor with RAM of 64GB, a dual-slot GPU and up to eight SSDs. This spec will definitely compete with ease when compared to the much bigger desktop counterparts and the power supply unit of 500W has the necessary firepower to handle all these components comfortably.
Despite the U-shape cover the SZ170R8 felt premium. But yes, it is a bit expensive.
This is an impressive barebones system and it is nicely designed and it can pack some powerful components as well.
- Nicely meaty PSU
- Great design and easy access to innards
- Premium build quality
- Impressive connectivity
- Not cheap
- U-shaped cover isn’t ideal