We watched some Apple QuickTime HD 720p movie previews and found that the CPUs were only loaded to 50 per cent but playback was still jerky, presumably thanks to the Intel graphics. The Bios gives a choice of dedicating 1MB or 8MB of memory to the graphics so we plumped for the full 8MB but it made no noticeable difference.
Basic header ports...
Indeed, the graphics are so weak that the DVI-I output requires a dedicated Silicon Image chip so don’t, for Heaven’s sake, think of the Shuttle X27D as a Media Centre.
Although it is small and near-silent, the Shuttle doesn’t have the cojones for that particular job. What we’re looking at is a regular PC that will appeal to the sort of people who hate a beige tower and have no desire to play games. That covers PC users who want the desktop equivalent of a netbook only with a proper mouse, keyboard and display, which reminds us that you also need to budget for those peripherals, along with a set of speakers.
The upshot is that the Shuttle X27D is a relatively expensive PC and it’s not difficult to argue that it places form above function. Hmm, where have we seen that before?
If you go for the X27D, you’ll find that assembly isn’t especially difficult but it took us a couple of goes to get the hard drive in the correct position so we could route the tiddly SATA cable properly. We don’t have any spare laptop DVD drives here so we had to cheat and use a regular desktop SATA drive that we laid on the bench.
...but plenty more on the back
The alternative is to buy a pre-built system from the likes of Ambros or PCMeisters who offer the option of ‘Modest Overclocking – Free of Charge’
Some Other Alternative? But of course!
@ storng.bare.durid: "Would that the powers that be would junk x86 in all its guises .... and give us some other alternative."
Um, we were headed that way once upon a time. But Someone... Killed... It... ALl... D-E-A-D...
With the Motorola 68XXX processor and the custom-built "blitter" chip that to this day Intel is apparently unable or unwilling to reproduce on its own, the old multi-tasking o/s-equipped Amiga Personal Computer series R-O-C-K-E-D the world. (Remember?)
To this day, I dearly wish I had kept mine. Even though at 14 screaming MHz clock, the A500 is a slug by today's gigahertz-driven Intel standard. But you want cool operation? Then build it to be EFFICIENT!
I do miss both my original A1000 and the A500 that superseded it. I was only able to keep the video monitor as things sorted out. (It still works just fine; I still use it on the VCR/DVD test/repair bench.)
Sidebar: Yes, I still salvage, repair and re-home my made-serviceable VCRs. So deride me if needs be; my Old School viddy-buff friends just love it. (Not much cash there, but a GREAT bartering-chip, that.)
So bring back the Blitter Chip - and start doing Block Memory Transfers to the video display hardware all over again! Heck, with a blitter-chip on board one can blap entire screen-fulls of graphic content straight into one's face all at one gulp - at a full video frame per two or three clock cycles max - again! The x86 "chipset" is truly *incomplete* without it imho.
Commodore f***ed the Amiga right up. Intel did the rest and swore he Nevver Done Nuthin'.
And Apple buyers are Mactards?
Looking at one of Shuttle's resellers in the UK (Ambros Direct), they offer a Shuttle X27D Base Spec (1GB of DDR2 and a 160GB SATA2 drive) for GBP 449.50 (incl. VAT and delivery). For a whole 50p more, Apple will deliver a Mac Mini with a 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo instead of that wimpy Atom.
The cube rocked!
" Hmm, where have we seen that before?"
The difference being the G4 cube is absolutely gorgeous, a work of modern art and at the time of release it was actually quite powerful. This on the other hand is ugly and seriously underpowered in comparison.