Shuttle MB11 Review
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Socket 370 All-In-One!!!

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New from Shuttle, the MB11 is an all in one mainboard solution, with built-in AGP graphics and onboard sound. Built around Intel's 440BX chipset, the MB11 is designed to support PPGA 370 Celeron Processors ranging from 300 - 500MHz. Does it succeed as an all in one solution? Let's take a look.

The sample that the folks at Shuttle provided for the review was an early model and still retained it's former designation as the Hot-B002. The box contained a very simple and concise manual, 1 each floppy and IDE ribbon cables and because the boards provides on board video, an extra COM port expansion unit.

Also included was a CD-ROM containing all of the requisite drivers and patches necessary for getting the best performance out of the system possible. These include graphics and sound drivers, the PII4 patch and IDE drivers for the Intel chipset as well as Shuttle's own System Monitor utility program (which has recently been updated and is available on their web site as a download.

Powered by Intel's 440BX AGPset the board offers three DIMM slots that can be host to up to 768MB of PC100 or standard SDRAM. The noticeable absence of an AGP slot is due to the fact that Shuttle has provided onboard video in the form of ATi's Rage Pro 64-bit 100MHz interface chip along with 8MB of onboard SDRAM frame buffer memory. (Please note that this is not the new Rage 128 chipset). Unlike a number of newer all in one's the MB11 provides onboard memory for the graphics instead of usurping some of the system RAM.  The board does provide what at first appearance may seem to be somewhat limited expansion, in the form of 3 PCI and a single ISA slot. However, since the sound and graphics are both built-in, you are provided with ample room to grow. The BX chipset also provides support for 2 dual channel enhanced IDE ports capable of Ultra ATA/33 interfacing, single floppy and parallel ports, 2 - 16C550 compatible UARTS serial ports, PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, a pair of USB ports and SB-Link connector.
Some of it's more advanced features include: Low EMI (automatic clock shut-off of unused PCI/SDRAMs), PC97 ready ACPI, a dual function soft-off capable power button and PS/2 keyboard, mouse and modem ring power-on. And, optional advanced features include Intel LCDM LANDesk Client Manager software, voltage, temperature and fan speed monitoring.

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.Creative's EC1373 AC97 digital audio chip provides the controller for the onboard sound and you'll find all of the necessary drivers as well as utilities for it and the graphics chip on the included CD-ROM.  The Creative chip provides advanced 64 polyphonic wavetable synthesis, full duplex record/playback at up to 48KHz and supports Microsoft's DirectSound 3D API.

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Although there are numerous jumpers for configuring the CPU frequency and clock multiplier, if you are going for default settings, you will simply need to pop in your CPU and some memory and you'll be ready to hook up your connectors and expansion cards and boot it up.  This is because the BX chipset can auto-detect the proper speed and voltage for all currently available Celerons.  The jumpers seem to be there for overclocking or future upgrade processors, but more about that later.  BIOS configuration is pretty straightforward and you'll be up and running before you know it.


Test Configuration for S huttle MB11

Mainboard Shuttle MB11
Chipset Intel i440BX AGPset
L2 Cache 128kb on-chip
Processor(s) Intel PPGA Celeron 333MHz
Intel PPGA Celeron 400MHz
Memory 1x64MB PC100
Corsair CM 654S64-BX2
Hard Drive Western Digital Caviar AC36400
6.4G Ultra ATA/33
Graphics Adapter Onboard ATi Rage Pro 8MB
Operating System Windows 98

I pushed the Shuttle MB11 system board pretty hard.  I was a bit confused to find the average Ziff-Davis Winstone 98 scores at least 2 full points below where I expected them. The scores below reflect an average across three runs at each setting...

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While it's performance is less than stellar, the MB11 seems to be built more for systems integrators and low end systems for the OEM/VAR market.  What Shuttle has lost in cutting edge performance, it seems to have made up for in compatibility. 

approved370.gif (8837 bytes) The Rage Pro graphics chip and Creative sound are both well known for their compatibility across an extremely wide range of software and multimedia applications.  The system was effectively stable at both the 66 and 75MHz CPU frequencies.  I had to disable the sound, however, to get the system stable at 83MHz.  This isn't what you would call a tweakable system board (too much of a graphics subsystem bottle-neck)  but, if you are looking for reliable average performance at a reasonable (even cheap) price, the MB11 should most certainly be looked at. 

Shuttle offers a wide variety of system boards for every taste and budget and you can find out more at their web site

May 5 1999

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