10th January 2008

More Details on Shuttle’s KPC, the $99 barebones/$199 system

posted by Eric C. in Laptops/ Computers, Small Form Factor |

Shuttle has released more information on their upcoming KPC, their recently announced Small Form Factor (SFF) system they plan to sell as a barebones or as complete systems with prices of $99 and $199 respectively. Shuttle says the K in KPC stands for “Korporate” but that’s not the only odd thing they announced. Dashing any hopes that the front of the case was just a door covering a spot for an optical drive, Shuttle revealed that you can’t mount an internal optical drive. It’s disappointing to have to buy an external USB2.0 drive which increases the overall price of the system and lowers the portability of the system. If the intended target of the KPC is “Korporate” clients, then the IT department would only really need a hand full of USB2.0 optical drives to go around but normal home users can’t really do without an optical drive. The other thing that the face place not being a door shows is that their doesn’t appear to be any front panel USB2.0 ports, which is definitely a disappointment. Shuttle’s fully configured systems will be running Ubuntu Linux.

Update: According to TechReport, Shuttle hasn’t finalized the design so they may still add front panel USB2.0 ports or a 5.25″ Optical Drive bay before it’s released. That’s definitely good news that at least they’re thinking about it.

As for the technical specs in side the box, they did let some info out about that. Anandtech says the pre-installed systems will have a Celeron 420 (1.6GHz 1MB L2), 512MB RAM, and will have either a 60GB or 80GB HDD “because they can’t make up their mind.” Intel has released two Celeron with the 420 model designation, one runs on a Socket LGA775 and the other is a Socket M mobile CPU. Both CPUs run at 1.6GHz but the LGA775 CPU has 512KB cache, meaning the socket on the KPC’s motherboard must be Socket M. This seems like an odd choice given the much higher price of the mobile CPUs. They didn’t say which CPUs will be supported but it most likely supports the Celeron M 4xx, Core Solo, Core Duo and some Core 2 Duo. The newest mobile Core 2 Duo CPUs and Celeron M 5xx CPUs are Socket P, which is not backwards compatible with Socket M. Another thing the specs reveal is that the KPC will be using a 2.5″ laptop hard drive, as 60GB 3.5″ hard drives haven’t been available for a few years now. Whether the 2.5″ mobile hard drive it uses is IDE or SATA remains to be seen. The video will be Intel GMA950, which means the motherboard uses the Intel 945G chipset. The 945G chipset only supports DDR2 memory but the number of slots and whether it uses notebook SoDIMMs or standard DIMMs is still unknown. Anandtech did say that their were going to be no expansion slots, but that usually means PCI and PCI Express slots.

Update: TechReport also says that the cooler for the CPU will be the stock Intel cooler. Intel doesn’t supply coolers with their mobile processors even in retail, so that would have to mean the motherboard and CPU would have to be socket LGA775. If I had to bet on one or the other, I’d guess that TechReport’s info is correct and that it’s going to be LGA775 as the CPUs are WAY cheaper ($38 for LGA775 vs. $94.99 for mobile) and it comes with a cooler. Also, taking a look at the picture TechReport has, the system doesn’t look any smaller than some of the other Shuttle SFF systems, so why would they go with the more expensive 2.5″ notebook harddrive when a system of that size coudl obviously fit a 3.5″ desktop drive? TechReport also said that a PCI Express slot should be in the final release version of the KPC. Not sure if it was just misunderstandings or if the specs are just that much in the air, because many of the statements in the Anandtech news item and the TechReport news item directly contradict each other.  Like I said above, if I had to bet on one or the other, I’d say TechReport’s info makes more sense.

Shuttle also released more pictures of the KPC than were previously available.

kpc-blue.jpg kpc-red.jpg kpc-white.jpg
Images courtesy of Shuttle

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