by Steven Allen Introduction Many people are deterred from buying a SFF system because they believe they are too complicated and fiddly to set up compared top a full ATX. With this guide I hope to show that this is not true. The shuttle I am building for this guide is specced as follows, A Shuttle SB61G Barebones Intel Celeron D 335 Socket 478 Crucial PC3200 DIMM 512Mb Western Digital 200GB Caviar SE IDE Shuttle CR40 Silver DVD-RW Keysonic Silver Keyboard with Trackpad TV/DVI Out Card for SB51 CV-21 Netgear DG834 ADSL Router. Shuttle Barebones are an excellent choice for anyone who would rather not spend hours pouring over components. All that’s needed to get a barebones system up and running is a CPU, some RAM, some drives (hard drive and optical) and a video card, if one isn’t already present onboard. The text descriptions on the Kustom site give plenty of advice for which components are suitable for which motherboards, so choosing couldn’t be simpler. Step 1. Make sure you have everything. This might sound like silly advice, but building a Shuttle is a very structured process. Because of the size constraints, some components fair a lot better if installed before others, so it’s a good idea to build it in one sitting, rather than put some pieces in, then have to remove them again, in order to put others in. Step 2. Once the lid has been removed, remove the drive cage. Keep your screws safe as they are quite small and easy to lose. Step 3. Carefully unhook the tension bracket over the CPU heatsink. There 2 hinged clamps and 2 fixed clamps (Various barebones models have different brackets. Its always a straight-forward method for removal and if you get stuck, the documents included with the system will point you in the right direction). Once this is out of the way, unscrew the 4 thumbscrews at the back of the fan. Step 4. With the drive cage and the heatsink away, you should have a little bit of manoeuvre space. Use this to make sure all the cables are connected to the board, such as this silver ribbon and the front USB ports. Step 5. The processor is fitted in exactly the same manner as a full ATX. Just make sure you observe the chip placement direction, as the corner mark can sometimes be hard to see on a SFF. Step 6. While you have space, install the RAM into which ever slot you like. If you feel like the distance between the front panel and the RAM is too small for you to fit an IDE cable later on, fit the cable now and tuck it away. (note, this only applies if you have an IDE HDD and the optical drive’s IDE cable is already installed) Step 7 (optional). If you have a video card or a Shuttle TV-OUT like I do, unscrew both backplate screws, lift the hinge and push out the appropriate backplate. The card is installed in an identical manner to ATX graphics cards, just push gently until its snug. Lower the hinge and screw it back down.