Shuttle XPC mini X100HA slimline PC
Good things come in small packages?
Review Most Shuttle XPC small form-factor systems such as the SN27P2 and the SN37PS look like a cut-down PC tower, but the XPC mini X100HA sets a new standard. It's absolutely tiny. We previewed the X100 here and now we've got our mitts on a real, live working example...
The photos don't do the tiny size justice, so to put things in perspective let's spell it out: the SN27P2 measured 32.5 x 22 x 21cm giving it a capacity of 15 litres, while the X100 measures 21 x 29.6 x 5.5cm for a capacity of just 3.4 litres. It's the 5.5cm height that makes the difference, as the X100 can either sit on your desk as a low-profile computer or you can stand it on edge in Shuttle's swish aluminium holder as a miniscule tower.
Shuttle could have styled the X100 as little more than a slab but it's used a silver XPC logo and silver stripe to give the unit some class and sophistication. You'd be quite happy to house this computer in your living room, most likely because it doesn't look much like a PC. The slot-loading DVD drive on the front is inconspicuous and so too are the four-in-one card reader and single USB port. The remainder of the ports are on the back and while four USBs sound generous you'll need to use two of them for your mouse and keyboard.
Shuttle has used an external power brick, similar to the type you get with a notebook, which helps keep the X100 small and also removes a source of heat from the case.
Likewise, the innards of the X100 use laptop technology, with the exception of the desktop hard drive, which is located under a cover on the bottom of the X100 and inside a steel caddy.
The Shuttle X100 is overpriced. Compare to the Apple Mac Mini or even the lowest end iMac. I found the low end Core Duo version of the X100 on newegg recently for $1049. However, I can get a Mac Mini for under $600 (smaller HD though) or for the same money I can get an iMac which has a 17" LCD monitor and includes lots of great MacOS software and has the capability of running WindowsXP. Why would I pay the same amount for the Shuttle? Answer is... I won't.
Just hope it doesn't fail on you
No matter how good it is, just hope it doesn't break. Unlike other manufacturers I've dealt with, to get anything fixed or replaced it requires sending the unit back to Shuttle and waiting about a month or more to get it back. If you want a part shipped to you before you ship the old part back, you have to pay a service charge. In all cases you have to pay the shipping to them.
You say that the pictures won't do it's size justice, so why not include a picture of it beside a 17" TFT and standard keyboard and mouse? Maybe even an El Reg coffee mug... Then we'd have a real world idea of how small it is.
The AOpen miniPC is only 165mm x 165mm x 50mm ...
...and I absolutely love it. (I have two of them.)
Besides, it only costs about $275 as a bare-bone without CPU / RAM / harddisk, bringing up the cost for a fully configured system to only approx. $450 (Celeron M 410 + 512 MBytes RAM + 60 GByte 2.5" harddisk).
It is basically a knockoff of the Apple MAC mini, but has a regular PC BIOS, not the 'weird' Apple BIOS, and is fully configurable from a Celeron M 410 up to a Merom T7600, up to 1 GByte [SODIMM] DDR2 RAM, up to a 200GB 2.5" harddisk.
The model numbers for the barebones are: MP945-X (with a CDR writer / DVD reader), MP945-VX (with a DVD writer) and MP945-VXR (with a DVD writer and a remote control receiver+transmitter).
What a rip off! $2K -> Core Duo
Shuttle must want to go out of business with prices like this. Apple are known to be expensive but this Shuttle is 2x-4X more expensive than the comparible Mini Mac. One of these for $2K...come on! Thats like a Mac Pro, or a killer Core2Duo Dell XPS with a free 20" widescreen LCD monitor. Companies like Apple, Dell and even HP can sell expensive systems becuase they are QUALITY and GOOD terch support. Shuttle quality is not good and the support is TERRIBLE. Don't make the same mistake I did.