Around 10 years ago, everyone envisioned the year 2000 as being the time when we'd all be driving around in flying cars and talking to robots about last night's basketball game. While that may be a stretch, everyone envisioned the turn of the millenium being the point at which technology would truly become more of an integral part of our lives. Depending on the type of computer user you are, this may or may not have already come true. The point is this, computers are becoming an increasingly popular presence in the home, and with that the fight over using a single computer in a home where more than one person is interested in using it is becoming increasingly popular as well. The solution?

For many, the solution has been building a second system. Usually, when constructing a secondary system you don't want to spend an incredible amount of money, so cutting corners is encouraged. The most popular way of doing so, instead of going out and buying the latest in crap-peripherals, seems to be turning towards the idea of a motherboard with integrated sound/video.

Shuttle, a company that is notorious for releasing enough products to tend to the needs of virtually any consumer, has jumped on the highly integrated motherboard bandwagon, especially with their latest release, the MB11. Let's have a look at those specs...

New Anand Tech Report Card Rating

Motherboard Specifications

CPU Interface Slot-1
Chipset Intel 440BX
L2 Cache N/A (on-chip)
Form Factor microATX
Bus Speeds 66 / 100
Clock Multipliers 1.5x - 6.5x
Voltages Supported 2.8v / 2.0v (Auto-Detect)
Memory Slots 2 168pin DIMM Slots
Expansion Slots 0 AGP Slot
4 PCI Slots (4 Full Length)
1 ISA Slots (1 Shared / 1 Full Length)

The Good

Here's the challenge, take a 9" x 8" circuit board, and cram as much on it as possible. How did Shuttle tackle this design? The MB11 escapes Shuttle's usual motherboard nomenclature by providing a feature never seen before on a Shuttle motherboard, integrated video. The lack of an AGP slot on the MB11 is due to the presence of an integrated ATI Rage Pro Turbo AGP controller chip. Mind you that the Rage Pro Turbo isn't the newly released Rage 128, rather the old-school variant that was popular a little over a year ago. The integrated video occupies what would be the AGP "slot" on the motherboard, leaving the 3 PCI and 1 ISA slot alone to handle all of your expansion needs.

Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge

The Rage Pro Turbo accelerator features an on-board 8MB of 100MHz SDRAM, so it doesn't make use of the Unified Memory Architecture to share your system RAM, which in the end is a performance improving solution. The three DIMM slots on the MB11 are capable of accepting DIMMs of up to 128MB in size, so most users should be fine. Like most motherboards, the MB11 failed AnandTech's 256MB SDRAM module test, however for a system based on this motherboard, you shouldn't have to worry about 256MB SDRAM module compatibility.

The MB11 features Shuttle's standard pseudo-jumperless CPU setup, which basically allows for the CPU to be configured either via jumpers or once inside the Award BIOS setup. Fortunately, the Socket-370 standard does have its benefits in this area. Since all Celeron processors are multiplier locked, they cannot possibly run at any frequency other than what they're designed to operate at unless you change the FSB setting. Because of this, as long as the MB11 remains at its default setting of 66MHz, you can just stick in any Celeron and boot 'er up at the proper speed without spending a minute of time on configuration.

Building on the trend of integration, the MB11 features an integrated Creative ES1373 audio controller, which is a welcome change from the poor quality integrated sound controllers that dominated the market just a year ago. The ES1373 is a PCI audio solution, and is definitely able to provide for your basic needs, although it's not the latest in 3D audio, it'll pump the sounds you want at a cost that is quite affordable (due to the decrease in manufacturing costs vs a full sound card).

Shuttle provides a complete set of drivers included on a bundled CD for the Rage Pro, and the ES1373. Also included to supplement the CD-ROM is Shuttle's standard Quick Installations Guide and the full set of written documentation on the CD-ROM.

The stability of the MB11 seemed to be average during AnandTech's torture tests, but that can be expected from a motherboard directed at the low-cost market. Nevertheless, the MB11 comes through as a motherboard that is able to produce the bare minimum for a low-cost second system, with a decent feature set.

The Bad
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