Shuttle XPC Mini X100 £850
10th May 2007 | 23:00
Yet another Shuttle crashes to earth...
Like a homosexual clergyman, the X100 is confused. Unfortunately, it seems not to know what it was created for. At first glance it looks like a neat media centre; like something you wouldn't mind sitting next to the hi-def TV in your lounge.
The problem is that it really isn't designed solely to be a media centre; on Shuttle's website, it's judged to be perfect for gaming, as a desktop replacement or home office platform. As you can tell from the benchmarks, the ATI X1400 GPU fails to deliver a smooth gaming experience, and unless you want to spend the best part of £300 at www.mxm-upgrade.com to get another MXM-compatible graphics card, the X100 just can't provide one.
The desktop replacement schtick isn't going to wash here either. Even though most of the internal components are designed for laptops, it's still something you have to set on a desk and plug into a monitor and interface devices. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's still a desktop PC. As for home office, yes, you can install OpenOffice on it and get all productive with the Core Duo CPU if you like, but with half a gig of RAM languishing under the hood you're not going to be doing it at great speed.
So this brings us full circle to its media centre capabilities. If it came with Windows MCE as standard an infrared remote as standard, then it could be a decent little lounge lizard. So long as you spent another few hundred clams from the outset fitting it with a Conroe and at least another 512MB RAM. Unfortunately, this setup does struggle, especially when decoding hi-def content.
There are some positives about the X100 though. The fact that, while everything else in the machine is ripped from a noteback, the hard drive is a standard 3.5" desktop drive. This means you can fit anything up to the current 750GB drives in there without significant problems.
It's really meant as a SFF PC for a home office. Unfortunately, it's vastly underpowered and overpriced compared to the laptops you can pick up for around the same price these days, and at least they come with free keyboards.