SD11G5 dead - what to get now?

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

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sneaker
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SD11G5 dead - what to get now?

Post by sneaker » Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:59 pm

After two years of blissfully quiet service, my SD11G5 is dead thanks to a power surge during a nasty storm.

I'm now planning to put together a replacement but haven't really been following hardware news for the past couple of years, so I'm not sure what's available. I checked Shuttle's website, and it doesn't look like they have any new barebone systems with a mobile CPU and external PSU.

Does anyone have any suggestions for this SD11G5 refugee? I'm looking for something similarly quiet, in a similarly small package, without need for difficult or pain-in-the-butt mods, and at least as powerful. This kind of points to another SD11G5, but I've checked the prices and here in Australia they're $550-650, which is what I paid two years ago, and anyway, I'd prefer something that's going to keep me satisfied for another couple of years (i.e. dual-core CPU).

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Post by hmsrolst » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:03 pm

Having had an SD11G5 for a similar period, I can feel your pain. Although it's not as quiet as an SD11G5 modded with a 92mm Nexus (just about silent), Mac Mini's are pretty quiet. For space reasons I replaced my Shuttle with a Mini, and have been quite happy--even though it's definitely audible, it's not unpleasantly so.

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Post by colin2 » Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:10 pm

When I faced this question a few months ago (I was moving on from the SD11G5's predecessor, the ST162K) the choice ended up being between a little VIA-based system with an external PSU, or a more traditional full-size PC with an internal PSU.

Initially I wanted to imitate the toaster-sized Shuttle by using the Antec NSK1300 plus an external brick (somewhere on this site somebody describes a build like that), but given how cheap the Antec Solo is, and various other considerations, the larger size made sense and gave me the pick of mobos and chips.

So if the VIA systems are too wimpy, then a combination of the Antec Phantom 500 (pricey but whatthehell), the Antec Solo (dirt cheap right now), and a Ninja CPU cooler will be at least as quiet as the little Shuttles, albeit with about three times the volume.

Hazelrah
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Post by Hazelrah » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:45 pm

I was looking for a new computer in September, and ended up getting an SD11G5 because I couldn't find anything better. It's a shame the longer rumored Core 2 successor never materialized.

Hazelrah
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Post by Hazelrah » Sat Sep 06, 2008 12:40 pm

I bump this old thread because my SD11G5 has also died, after about a year. Right now I'm leaning on just getting another -- there seems to be just a few on eBay and elsewhere, probably just the last of the clearance inventory now.

Any new worthy successors to the SD11G5 recently? My problem with all the Mac Mini lookalikes is that I'd like to be able to add a full-size video card in there (I have a fanless 8600 GT now) or at least a TV card.

timosa
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Re: SD11G5 dead - what to get now?

Post by timosa » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:24 am

sneaker wrote:Does anyone have any suggestions for this SD11G5 refugee? I'm looking for something similarly quiet, in a similarly small package, without need for difficult or pain-in-the-butt mods, and at least as powerful.
I don't know much about performance of the SD11G5 but do you have checked Gigabyte STA/C which is a fanless SFF computer with VIA processor?

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Bar ... uctID=2436

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Re: SD11G5 dead - what to get now?

Post by MikeC » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:42 pm

timosa wrote:I don't know much about performance of the SD11G5 but do you have checked Gigabyte STA/C which is a fanless SFF computer with VIA processor?

http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Bar ... uctID=2436
The VIA C7 is much slower than a Pentium M. The latter is probably 50% faster at the same clock.

On the other hand, Shuttle boards (both the SD11G5 and the earlier Zen) of that age may be prone to early death due to bad capacitors. We had two of the latter die in the SPCR lab (where it was used as the audio PC) in about a 3.5 year period -- there are also boards >6 years old still working reliably away in other systems.

The entire sector of breadbox barebones SFF PCs has almost died, because the novelty wore off, smaller more elegant designs came in, fewer people are doing DIY in computers, and complete small systems are increasingly available for purchase from big brands.

I mentioned a couple at the end of my review of the Asus Eee Box. The Dell Studio Hybrid starting at $500 looks like a pretty good bet. I'm tempted to just order one to review if I can't get a sample.

Dell used to have environmental data sheets for all its products, and these included some noise measurements, but they seem to have moved this page.... but comments by buyers suggest it's quiet.
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Post by MikeC » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:02 pm

Found the enviro datasheet for the studio hybrid:

w/ Core2 Duo T9500 2.6Ghz & 320gb HDD, the max power is 45W, which is pretty good. Idles at 25W.

SPL at operator postion (less than 1m) is 24 dBA at idle or HDD accessing. That's not bad, depending on sonic quality.
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Hazelrah
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Post by Hazelrah » Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:38 am

Bad caps sounds like what might have happened with my SD11G5. I sent in my computer to Shuttle for repair earlier this week. Ultimately it will cost around $100 and they will probably just send me back one of their clearance refurb models. It doesn't seem worth the money, but there are just so few options now.

Most of the market seems to be going the Mac Mini route. I don't have a problem with a quality prebuilt system, but the slim profile basically means no full-size video card, but I guess that's fine for 99% of users.

Also this Intel Atom chip that they're using on the Eee box (good review, btw) seems like a joke. It runs slower than my Pentium M Dothan from 2005. Unless it's completely fanless, what's the point?

The other alternative would be some kind of completely DIY case + mobo combo, but since you have to get each separately, the form factor will never quite match what Shuttle can do with their barebones systems.

So I'll get my SD11G5 back and cross my fingers that it'll last at least another year this time. Hopefully there will be some more options when I'm back in the market again.

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Post by Hazelrah » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:04 pm

After reading a few more threads, maybe there is an alternative (although it wasn't entirely obvious). It turns out Shuttle is peddling the PC62, an external 200W power brick compatible with its G-series chassis systems. It's sold separately from the barebones for an extra $100.

So I guess the de facto successor to the SD11G5 would be something like a SG33G5 with PC62. That by itself will set you back $400 but you will get the space for the full-size video card and single fan solution.

With that, it's just a matter of figuring out the right CPU to go in such a system. There's too many Intel variants for me to understand, but I'm sure somebody else has figured it out.

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Post by Layla » Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:48 pm

I just looked at the VeryPC 'Mac lookalike' :) - & there is the option of adding a TV tuner card - not sure if you have to take theirs or can install your own?

no idea about the graphic card though... I'm curious about a computer with a good graphic card too, or is there an option to add an external graphic card like you can add an external soundcard?

It seems some may exist, but not sure about the speed, but then I'm not a gamer..
(not sure how useful they would be for audio/video/graphics programmes or if they'd mean increased energy usage or any extra noise..?)

one of them, Asus XG Station, is discussed here.. http://digg.com/tech_news/The_World_s_F ... n_EN7900GS
& described here: http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/video/disp ... 60818.html
It can only be used with an external display though, but "this also offers an easy way of attaching two additional displays." hmm..
I was actually thinking of doing something like this before, to get a (hopefully silent) laptop or mini laptop & then use it as a 'normal computer' too...
Haven't seen a review of one though, so I wonder if they are at all on the market yet? hmm.. apparently not...? http://www.tomshardware.com/news/ces-as ... ,4679.html

AMD XGP is discussed here: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/06/06 ... /comments/
I wonder if this one exist already? /too sleepy to research further :)/
http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/37782/145/
looks kinda interesting though...

/Sorry if I have gotten a bit off topic.. :) I would like a decent spec computer with decent graphics too... /

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Post by Hazelrah » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:45 am

My SD11G5 has died *again*, almost exactly 6 months since the last death. At least the mobo still draws power this time; it just fails to POST.

I will throw away another $130 and give repair/replacement one last try, just because I love this model so much. But one more blip and I will be looking for a replacement. It looks like the SG33G5 + external power brick is still the best solution.

chris_m
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Post by chris_m » Fri Apr 03, 2009 8:36 am

I feel your pain - I'm on my 2nd SD11G5 at the moment, and feeling a little more worried after reading this thread :?

Apart from the short lifespan though, it's a nice model and it's a pity Shuttle haven't released an updated version for Core 2.

I think I'll go with a Sugo SG05 + Zotac 9300 wifi on my next upgrade...

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Post by MikeC » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:10 pm

If bad caps are the main reason for mobo failure in the SD11G5 (which I do think is the case), then there are preemptive steps you can take before the caps go bad.

Namely, identify the caps most at risk and place them with better quality ones. This is obviously no job for a newbie, but some electronics/soldering savvy folks will be able to do it. I've seen some web sites tackling DIY bad cap replacement.
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Post by BillyBuerger » Fri Apr 03, 2009 6:03 pm

Oh, this thread makes me not feel so bad for causing my own SD11G5's premature death. I was using a 2.5" IDE drive and accidentally plugged it in one pin off. Since then it wouldn't boot. But sounds like it would have happened eventually any ways. Glad I didn't pay the money to get it fixed/replaced. I've reused all the parts in other PCs including the external brick with a picoPSU.

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Post by Hazelrah » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:11 am

My SD11G5 is still hanging in there, now 1.5 years since my second motherboard replacement.

With a Pentium M 780 cpu and a passively-cooled Gigabyte 8600 GT video card, this little machine can run Starcraft II at decent speeds and near quiet operation. It really is an amazing machine.

The natural upgrade from this would be a Socket P-based SFF. But Shuttle doesn't make any, and the other barebones offerings (e.g. AOpen) don't support a full-size PCIe x16 video card.

There are also very few Socket P motherboards out there (even fewer that will take a separate video card) so build-it-yourself solutions are also limited.

My Gigabyte 8600 GT also appears to have been something of a peak in passively-cooled video cards. The newer passive video cards either take up two slots (no room in the SD11G5) or are slower than the 8600 GT.

It's a shame these systems never really took off. Maybe the iMac is the closest thing to it these days.

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Post by edh » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:19 am

What about a Silverstone SG05/6/7 with the MiniITX motherboard and components of your choice in it? That would give you a very similar computing experience I'm sure.
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Post by Hazelrah » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:08 pm

The problem is finding a Mini ITX (or any other board) that will take both a mobile processor (Socket M, Socket P, etc.) *and* a full-size PCIe x16 video card.

There are some very few exceptions:
http://www.commell.com.tw/product/SBC/PMSA.HTM
http://www.logicsupply.com/products/ms_9803
but these are "industrial" motherboards, which means they have limited (if any) consumer support. I heard that the MSI board has little or no SpeedStep or power-saving support in its BIOS and basically runs at full power almost all the time, which seems to defeat the purpose of using a mobile processor.

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Post by MikeC » Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:38 pm

The SD11G dates back to 2005. 5 yrs isn't that long for a mobo/pc, but cpus have come a long way since pentium m, and spcr's own experience with the Shuttle Zen (used as out audio pc for a while) suggests Shuttle's longevity is not good. We went through a mobo in 2 yrs, then the 2nd one also went flaky a yr or 2 later and we gave it up. Bad caps is the likely issue, but there may be others. imo, there are higher performance mini-itx board + cpu options now that with the right components could idle about as low. No question the Silverstone cases can be made to run very quietly (w/ psu replacement or something like picopsu).
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