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Shuttle SX79R5 Review

April 2012 by Simon Maltby

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General overview

Shuttle have been hard at work since the launch of their last model the SZ68R5 and seem keen to capitalise on the well received style of the R5 case design. Today we are looking at one of the boldest small form factor machines imaginable as they unveil the SX79R5, a flagship replacement for the SX58H7. The SX79R5 provides access to the dizzy heights of the Intel Sandy Bridge E quad and hex core processors using a motherboard based on the X79 chipset. On paper this makes for a mouth watering prospect and makes this the first small form factor machine to have some of the latest technology including Quad channel memory and version 3.0 PCI-E. In this review we aim to see if the actual machine lives up to expectation.

 

The second generation Intel core i7 processors for the LGA 2011 socket are currently available in three variations. Intel kindly lent us the 3930K version for this review. The 3930K is a multiplier unlocked 3.2GHz hex core processor with hyper threading giving 12 available cores. The TDP is 130 watts which presents quite a test to a small form factor machine. The physical LGA 2011 processors have a larger size than their LGA 1155 cousins and do not include built in graphics. The larger die is filled with the additional cores and plenty of cache. Even the 3820 quad core version has a TDP of 130 watts, so clearly the cache uses quite a lot of the power consumption.

The X79 express chipset has support for quad channel memory and Shuttle have ensured that this can be utilised by including 4 DDR3 slots.

Intel's RST (Rapid Storage Technology) is also included and enables the use of a small SSD drive to act as a cache for a larger physical hard drive while significantly increasing its operational speed.

We notice that the Intel specification diagram for the X79 Express chipset states that the chipset supports PCI Express 2.0 and that Shuttle describe the SX79R5 as having PCI Express 3.0 support. Unfortunately we neglected to test this in the review and hope to add information regarding this at a later date. We are confident that it will support PCI Express 3.0. Shuttle also state that the machine can support SLI and Crossfire. The motherboard does have 2 full sized PCI-E slots, but they are a single width apart so a pair of cards would have to be very thin and would also test the 500W PSU to its limits we fear. There are no SLI or Crossfire bridges supplied with the machine.