Shuttle XPC mini X100HA slimline PC
Good things come in small packages?
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).
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