Shuttle AI61 Setup & Performance

Setup
   As you can see by the block diagram above the AI61 is truly spacious with loads of room for even the stoutest of CPU cooling devices.  Basically all that's required is to install the processor and memory, connect the IDE and floppy ports and power connector, hook up your front panel I/O, and install your expansion cards and your ready to boot...

The task of CMOS setup (BIOS) is just as easy with the features of each screen clearly detailed in the User's Manual.  With that accomplished the final step is to setup your operating system and software applications.  Voila!  

Performance
   We set up the AI61 with Linux, Win98SE and Windows 2000 all of which were uneventful.  We ran our benchmarks though in Win98SE.  

Test Configuration for Shuttle AI61

Mainboard Shuttle AI61
Chipset AMD 750
(Super Bypass Mode Enabled)
L2 Cache 512KB on CPU
Processor(s) AMD Athlon 500, 550. 600MHz
Memory 1x128MB PC133
Kingmax MPGA838-K7
(CAS 2 @ 100MHz)
Hard Drive Maxtor 91366U4 13.6G
7200 RPM Ultra ATA/66
Video  Adapter Matrox G400 SH OEM 32MB AGP
Operating System Windows 98SE
Benchmark
Applications
BapCo's SYSmark 2000
Ziff-Davis' Content Creation Winstone 2000
Ziff-Davis' Business Winstone 99
Quake II Demo1 Timedemo

Shuttle's AI61 went through the benchmark applications like a warm knife through butter without a single failure and registered the following results...

BAPCo's SYSmark 2000 contains twelve application workloads and a "workload manager" application responsible for setting up the workloads, timing their execution, and reporting performance results. Each SYSmark 2000 workload consists of a real application (for example, Adobe Photoshop) and a test script that sends commands to the application.

These workloads are divided into two categories. The Office Productivity category contains CorelDRAW™ 9, Microsoft™ Excel™ 2000, Dragon Systems™ NaturallySpeaking™ Preferred 4.0, Netscape™ Communicator™ 4.61, Corel™ Paradox™ 9, Microsoft™ PowerPoint™ 2000, and Microsoft™ Word™ 2000. The Internet Content Creation category contains MetaCreations™ Bryce™ 4, Avid™ Elastic Reality™ 3.1, Adobe™ Photoshop™ 5.5, Adobe™ Premiere™ 5.1, and Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 4.0.

The SYSmark 2000 benchmark is run on a system to be evaluated, it assigns the system a performance rating for each application, a rating for each category, and an overall rating. The application ratings are based on a comparison of workload run times between the system being tested and a fixed calibration platform. A rating of 100 indicates the test system has performance equal to that of the calibration platform, 200 indicates twice the performance of the calibration platform, etc. Each category rating is simply a geometric mean of the workload ratings in the category. The overall rating is a weighted geometric mean of the category ratings. The SYSmark 2000 calibration platform has the following configuration:

Motherboard: Based on the Intel® 440BX motherboard
CPU: Intel® Pentium® III processor
Core Frequency: 450 MHz
Memory: 128MB DIMM
Video/Resolution: Diamond Viper V770 Ultra, 32 MB, 1024x768 16 bpp.
Disk: IBM™ DJNA 371800
Operating System Windows™ 98 Second Edition


We put the system through three iterations of each suite and threw out the highest and lowest scores where any variation occurred. The scores below are overall ratings for the system at each processor speed...

For the benchmark applications from Ziff-Davis, we ran the system through a minimum of three iterations of the application and averaged the results to get the scores displayed below...

We tested OpenGL performance using the Quake II Demo1.dm2 timedemo and again the scores below reflect an average score over three runs of the timedemo under each processor...

Conclusion
   Bundled with an array of onboard functionality, the highly-integrated Shuttle AI61 mainboard provides a near perfect solution to build a most stable and reliable system. Before even shipping the board out to us Shuttle staff alerted us to the fact that there may be some stability issues with as yet untested Athlons running at 800MHz+. We recently acquired an Athlon 750MHz which we were able to overclock to 900MHz using Northwind's GFD v2.0 and found no evidence of instability in any situation. We have had a few emails from users complaining of generally minor hardware and software stability issues using mainboards based on VIAs KX133 chipset but none of those issues were evident on the AI61. 

   It might seem unfair to compare the AI61 system board's capabilities to other Slot-A boards based on the VIA KX133 since that chipset offers AGP X4 and 133MHz SDRAM support but I've got to say that the performance demonstrated by the AI61 surpassed the EPoX EP-7KXA under the same system configuration. So impressed and confident of the board's stability and performance were we that the AI61 is now the new home of my personal system and believe me, I have put the board through a rather tortuous 2 weeks of installing and uninstalling a variety of hardware devices and software. SCSI adapters, CD-RW and DVD drives, NIC and modem cards, sound cards and graphics cards and all without a single hiccup from the Shuttle AI61.

You can find out more about this and other PC hardware products by visiting Shuttles new web site at http://www.shuttleonline.com or the company's original web site at http://www.spacewalker.com  

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