Small form-factor (SFF) machines have predominantly used 5W - 45W TDP processors. The introduction of the mini-STX form-factor standardized a compact form factor for systems with processors having a TDP up to 65W. However, the mini-STX form-factor along with the associated cooling system is still too bulky for certain use-cases. Most systems built in that form-factor have considerable z-height to accommodate a reasonably standard heat-sink and a single fan. The resulting system volume is between 1.54L and 1.92L, depending on the chosen chassis.

Shuttle's XPC slim line aims to serve the market segment requiring standard desktop processors in a compact form factor. These computers are a fit for a variety of business and commercial use-cases. This review takes a look at the performance and features of a system built on the Shuttle XPC slim DH370 barebones platform.

Introduction and Platform Analysis

Shuttle's XPC slim line-up includes two different form-factors - the XH series uses a 17cm x 17cm motherboard in a 3.5L chassis, while the DH series uses a slightly smaller board in a 1.35L chassis. The DH370 we are looking at today belongs to the latter category. The product is sold 'barebones' similar to the mini-STX products in the market (and unlike the NUCs). The board is socketed, and the end user can opt to install any Coffee Lake-S CPU (up to 65W TDP) in the system. The RAM (DDR4 SO-DIMMs) and storage drive(s) (M.2 NVMe and/or 2.5" SATA drive) have to be added by the user. Shuttle supplies a dual-fan proprietary cooling solution along with the system. The choice of CPU makes it similar to a DIY build in many respects.

The barebones version of the DH370 is complemented by a rich set of optional accessories to better fit particular use-cases. These include the ability to replace one of the two COM ports with a VGA display output port (using the PVG-01), adding Wi-Fi capabilities (using the WLN-M WLAN card and antennae), ability to trigger power switching when the unit is installed in a hard-to-reach location (using the 2m long CXP01 cable for an external power switch), a rackmount kit allowing for the installation of two XPC slim units in a 2U slot (PRM01), and stands (PS02) for vertical orientation of the system.

Shuttle pre-configured our review sample with a Core i7-8700 processor, a Kingston A1000 PCIe 3.0 x2 NVMe SSD, and a HyperX Impact 2400 MHz 2x4GB SO-DIMM kit. An Intel Wireless-AC 9560 WLAN adapter was also pre-installed.

The specifications of our Shuttle XPC slim DH370 review configuration are summarized in the table below.

Shuttle XPC slim DH370 Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-8700
Coffee Lake-S, 6C/12T, 3.2 (4.6) GHz
12MB L2+L3, 65 W TDP
Memory Kingston HyperX KHX2400C14S4/4G DDR4 SODIMM
14-14-14-35 @ 2400 MHz
2x4 GB
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 630
Disk Drive(s) Kingston A1000 SA1000M8240G
(240 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2; Toshiba 64L 3D TLC)
Networking Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560
(2x2 802.11ac - 1733 Mbps)
2x Intel i211 Gigabit Ethernet controller
Audio 3.5mm Headphone / Microphone Jack (Realtek ALC662 audio codec)
Capable of 5.1/7.1 digital output with HD audio bitstreaming (HDMI & DisplayPort)
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
4x USB 3.0 Type-A
2x RS232 COM
SD Card Reader (UHS-I)
Operating System Retail unit is barebones, but we installed Windows 10 Enterprise x64
Pricing $330 (barebones)
$759 (as configured, no OS)
Full Specifications Shuttle XPC slim DH370 Barebones Specifications

Similar to the other compact SFF systems, the DH370 is equipped with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (supporting DDR4-2400 / 2666 MHz memory kits). Since our review system was pre-configured, the package contents that we received and have pictured below might not exactly tally with the set of components received by retail customers.

The package includes the drivers on a CD (a USB key, even read-only, is much more preferable), a quick installation guide, screws to install the storage drives, thermal paste, a 90W (19V @ 4.74A) adapter, and a geo-specific power cord. The antennae for the WLAN component and the PS02 stand kit for vertical installation were also part of the kit. The gallery below shows aspects of the chassis design as well as the internals of the system.

The Shuttle XPC slim DH370 runs the standard AMI BIOS, and the features are quite basic. There is no fancy GUI or extra features such as the ones we are accustomed to in the BIOS of systems from Intel, ASRock, Asus, GIGABYTE, and the like. The screenshots in the gallery below takes us through the available BIOS options.

The DH370, as the name itself indicates, uses the Intel H370 chipset. This brings all the platform updates that the 8th Gen. Core platform supports - the primary ones being the plethora of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports directly from the chipset, and the CNVi integrated Wi-Fi capabilities. The DH370 makes maximum use of the new features, opting to bring out all four possible USB 3.1 Gen 2 hosts as Type-A ports (two in the front panel, and two in the rear). The board also integrates a M.2 2230 slot for the Wi-Fi WLAN adapter. The H370 chipset has 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes, of which four are used for the DMI link to the processor. The compact nature of the XPC slim DH370 doesn't allow for complete usage of the available HSIO (high-speed I/O) lanes. The AIDA64 system report provides a breakdown of the usage of the PCIe lanes:

  • PCIe 3.0 x1 port #5 In Use @ x1 (Intel I211 Gigabit Network Connection)
  • PCIe 3.0 x1 port #6 In Use @ x1 (Intel I211 Gigabit Network Connection)
  • PCIe 3.0 x1 port #8 In Use @ x1 (Realtek PCI-E Card Reader)
  • PCIe 3.0 x4 port #9 In Use @ x4 (M.2 NVMe SSD Slot)

In the table below, we have an overview of the various systems that we are comparing the Shuttle XPC slim DH370 against. Note that they may not belong to the same market segment. The relevant configuration details of the machines are provided so that readers have an understanding of why some benchmark numbers are skewed for or against the Shuttle XPC slim DH370 when we come to those sections.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Shuttle XPC slim DH370
CPU Intel Core i7-8700 Intel Core i7-8700
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 630 Intel UHD Graphics 630
RAM Kingston HyperX KHX2400C14S4/4G DDR4 SODIMM
14-14-14-35 @ 2400 MHz
2x4 GB
Kingston HyperX KHX2400C14S4/4G DDR4 SODIMM
14-14-14-35 @ 2400 MHz
2x4 GB
Storage Kingston A1000 SA1000M8240G
(240 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2; Toshiba 64L 3D TLC)
Kingston A1000 SA1000M8240G
(240 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0 x2; Toshiba 64L 3D TLC)
Wi-Fi Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560
(2x2 802.11ac - 1733 Mbps)
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560
(2x2 802.11ac - 1733 Mbps)
Price (in USD, when built) $330 (barebones)
$759 (as configured, No OS)
$330 (barebones)
$759 (as configured, No OS)

The XPC slim DH370 stands out from the run-of-the-mill Coffee Lake desktops due to its ability to drive three separate 4Kp60 displays (1x HDMI 2.0a + 2x DisplayPort 1.2) using the integrated GPU in the installed CFL-S processor. The ability to support this feature without compromising on the form-factor is worthy of deeper analysis. We will be doing that further down in this review, in addition to the analysis of our usual benchmarks for SFF systems.

BAPCo SYSmark 2018
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  • mikato - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 - link

    Don't get me wrong, I would like that too. SilentPCReview.com needs to be revived perhaps. They, and their community, were the best. People lost interest I guess once storage drives, power supplies, retail computers, even GPUs improved noise by a lot. Plus other reviewers started paying attention to noise partly through their work. But with mini PCs and HTPCs maybe there is renewed thirst for noise analysis.

    The issue may be - how does Ganesh prevent outside factors and just the changing ambient noise level from influencing noise measurements? He would need some type of anechoic chamber and probably some audio equipment. Read this to see what goes into it, for removing outside influence and actually having a low enough ambient noise level for meaningful measurements - http://www.silentpcreview.com/anechoic_chamber_SPC...

    Then there are logistics issues. Will Anandtech pay for or provide what may be needed? Does he do review work at his house/apartment? Is there an Anandtech central office? Do other Anandtech reviewers mostly live in the same area? Can someone rent an anechoic chamber? Keep in mind SPCR was mostly one guy on a mission, while Anandtech and Ganesh have plenty of other concerns.

    Is there a spot in the middle where noise measurements are "good enough"? Any ideas? I do see noise measurements at other review sites sometimes, but I don't know if they are good enough for comparing among different product reviews that took place at different times and possibly at different places.
    Reply
  • bill44 - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    How about 3D BD ISO playback?
    Does it use LSPCon for HDMI?
    Reply
  • timecop1818 - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    Yes, it uses MegaChips MCDP2850 to convert DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0. You can see it on the motherboard photo in the QuickStart manual. What about 3D BD ISO playback? Why wouldn't that work? Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    3D is usually not supported if you have a LSPcon. I have reason to believe 3D is not supported over the HDMI 2.0a ports in the last two Intel platform generations.

    With the advent of 4K and HDR, the industry has got much more convincing features to make people upgrade their equipment (compared to 3D). Effectively, 3D is dead from an industry viewpoint. YMMV.
    Reply
  • Opencg - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    great example of a tech killed off by lack of content (i mean good content). too many movies were simply reprocessed without being produced from the ground up with the intent of 3d. the industry tried to charge a premuim for lackluster content with hardware implementations having support and quality issues. not to mention some big problems like focal blur guessing.

    i really hope vr doesnt go the route of 3d games and 3d movies. but yeah people dont seem to understand that the most important things are affordability and minimizing barriers to entry. also not having an industry clinging to ancient monitization practices helps.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    I think it is more about the technology itself. In order for stereoscopic 3D to work well, you need to have most of your field of vision filled by the content. That is easily done in a cinema, where the screen is huge and the ambient lights are darkened and everyone is fine with that. At home, most people I know have their setup with a small TV (37" to 50") and it is in a corner somewhere it makes sense but is out of the way (since the TV may be on a lot, but hardly watched focused most of the time). Only some die hard movie people (like myself) have a large TV (55"+, preferably 65"+) that is not too far away from the main sitting position (couch). But even then, it is a bit too small for 3D to work well and immerse myself in it and I can't really darken everything down as much as in the cinema. And I have never had comfortable 3D glasses. They always either hurt my sides or my nose.
    VR won't go away as 3D will, since it has a much larger impact in the professional world (engineering, architecture, medicine, art...), but home VR has an uphill battle to fight still.
    Reply
  • 0ldman79 - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 - link

    Honestly I'm kind of expecting 3D to come back again.

    They are now making fully transparent TVs.

    Layer the screens and you can have actual 3D (at least two layers of depth) without glasses.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, May 07, 2019 - link

    How would that work? You still need a way to block one eye from seeing the content the other eye sees. Doing it with a parallax barrier requires cost and doesn't work for more than one person without a lot of complications (which increase price, a lot). You also lose resolution compared to full 3D SBS and active shutter glasses.
    Or do you just mean 3D in a diorama way where you have discreet layers of content? That is not 3D.
    Reply
  • bill44 - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    Thanks ganeshts.

    I know it's a dead format, but I would like to use it as long as my TV lasts.
    Hoping one day I can get a modern PC that has native HDMI ports (no LSPCon).

    Does anyone know of TB3->HDMI adapter/cable that does work?
    Reply
  • timecop1818 - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    Intel CPUs only have native DisplayPort output, not HDMI (licensing?). Nothing is technically preventing fullly complaint HDCP 2.2 path when using the MCDP part - unless shuttle cheaped out and didn't include the keys? Anyway i never looked into this as HDMI port is never something I'm looking for in a PC. I'm curious what exactly prevents the playback, as the same part (or a similar one from Parade tech) is what would be used inside a USBC to HDMI 2.0 cable as well. Reply

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