Remove the top cover and everything is packed in tightly - no great surprise considering that the front-mounted DVD drive and the hard drive at the rear leave little room for the motherboard, processor, graphics and memory. It's a rather cosy affair and raises the issue of cooling, which is never far from the forefront with small form-factor PCs.
The Socket 479 Core Duo and ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 graphics sit under a common cooling package that uses a heat pipe to connect the heatsinks on the chips to a single copper heatsink at the rear of the unit. A single quiet fan then blows the heated air out of the case. The packaging problems are eased as Shuttle is also a motherboard manufacturer familiar with designing and building the hardware that it needs to overcome a particular problem. Even so, it's a surprise to see the number of bespoke connectors and ribbon cables that have been used in this design. Although you can configure the X100 when you place your order it won't be practical to perform upgrades unless you happen to have piles of laptop components. For those that don't it's probably best to treat the X100 as a sealed unit.
It's tricky to pin down a UK price for the X100 as it's yet to go on sale here. However, we can give exact pricing in Euros. The most basic model comes with Windows XP Home, an 80GB hard drive, a combo drive and no wireless for €1,073 (£725/$1,412).
Our Windows XP Pro review unit came with 802.11abg wireless and an Intel T2050 1.6GHz Core Duo processor, all of which happily communicate with an Intel i945PM chipset. This is backed by 512MB of DDR 2 PC4300 memory in dual-channel mode, with storage covered by a 200GB Samsung SP2004C hard drive and that slot-loading Matshita UL8455 8x dual layer DVD writer with 5x DVD-RAM. The price for this spec? €1,238 (£840/$1,629). Push the boat out and move to a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo and the price hits €1,630 (£1,100/$2,144).
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.