Shuttle SS51 XPC - A True High Performance Small Form Factor PCby Anand Lal Shimpi on July 24, 2002 4:57 AM EST
- Posted in
Case in point is motherboard manufacturing; if it hasn't already become blatantly obvious to you, motherboards are becoming increasingly similar. It used to be that motherboard manufacturers could differentiate themselves by including value added features, but as chipset manufacturers continue to integrate more and more into their solutions, the job of the motherboard manufacturer becomes more difficult. Take the nForce2 for example, outside of IDE RAID there's very little that motherboard manufacturers can use as basis to differentiate themselves from one another. The motherboard market is full of competitors that are quickly losing their unique identities.
Over the past few years we've seen motherboard manufacturers branch out into different areas to help offset an extremely competitive market. Outside of the top five volume manufacturers, the rest are pretty much forced to either diversify their product lines or consolidate heavily to remain afloat. Even the big names in the industry have taken the diversification route; ASUS is entrenched in the mobile market with their notebooks and PDAs, Gigabyte and MSI are spreading their wings with offerings in the enterprise sector and we can't forget about ECS' very popular Desknotes.
Although not the biggest fish in the sea, Shuttle has made a name for themselves by expanding into a very lucrative market - the Small Form Factor (SFF) PC business. The problem with the conventional desktop PC is that no one wants a large, ugly and noisy tower sitting in their living room; herein lies the key to commoditizing the PC, making it look less like a PC. Apple has capitalized on this idea with contributions like their iMac but high prices and a lack of x86 compatibility have held them back tremendously.
Not too long ago, Shuttle introduced their first XPC, the SV24, a SFF PC based on the Socket-370 platform. The idea was neat and we even found a niche application for it, but we dreamt nightly (not really, we're not that bad) of a faster version; a SFF PC with an AGP slot and support for either an Athlon XP or Pentium 4. Shuttle answered our prayers and today they've introduced the world's first SFF PC that can be used by just about anyone.