IntroductionIn an ideal world, we would have as much time as we needed in any given day to get all of our tasks done. Our intention was to have finished several SFF roundups by now. Unfortunately, the old cliché about the road to hell being paved with good intentions certainly applies. We've done our best to include all the currently shipping socket 939 SFFs, and that ended up delaying this article several times. We have them all now, until the next batch shows up.
The enthusiast community is currently very pro-Athlon 64, and with good reason. Looking at the feature set and performance, not to mention the frequently lower price, AMD is currently beating Intel in most areas. Some people mistakenly assume that this means that AMD is currently ahead of Intel, but they're really only ahead in one area: performance. Intel still sells more CPUs total - many going to the business sector - and Intel is ahead in the manufacturing and production areas, particularly in terms of total fabrication capacity. For better or for worse, Intel is certainly not out of the picture yet, and the total number of Athlon 64 SFFs is far less than what is available for socket 775. We'll be covering that segment in the future, but if we were personally to go out and buy a SFF right now, it would be an Athlon 64 based system, preferably with socket 939.
That means that this roundup features our preferred platform, so we're looking for the best option of what we have available. When we first started work on this roundup, we only had two shipping products (the Shuttle SN95G5 and the Soltek QBIC 3901-300P). We've now added a couple more Shuttle units, the SN25P and the ST20G5, along with the recently launched Biostar IDEQ 330P. We've already taken an in-depth look at the SN95P, and we'll include updated information and performance benchmarks for it in this roundup.
For those who have lost count, that makes this current article a roundup of three Shuttle SFFs, one Biostar, and one Soltek (though there are six or so variants of the Soltek model). Trust us; we're not trying to play favorites with Shuttle. The fact of the matter is that they basically started the whole SFF market back in 2001, and they've continued to focus on it more than anyone else. Shuttle had a prototype SLI setup at the recent Computex, and they probably have a few more AMD designs on the way. Other companies are working on socket 939 systems as well, and we would invite any of them to contact us if they would like to have us review their product.