Shuttle's Smallest Yet: XPC X100

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September 17, 2006 by Devon Cooke with Mike Chin

Product
Shuttle XPC X100 Small Form Factor HTPC
Manufacturer
Shuttle
Selling Price
~US$1000 as configured

Shuttle has been through quite a few incarnations. For a long time, they were primarily a motherboard maker — they boast of being the world's fifth largest motherboard manufacturer back in 1995. More recently, they created and popularized the toaster-size small form factor case, particularly as a barebones PC. However, by Shuttle's own estimates, the barebones PC market is limited to just 1~2% of the total desktop PC market. This is probably the biggest factor in the wane of SFF sales over the past two years. The decline has hurt Shuttle, as they owned some 60% of the market.

One strategy for Shuttle to regain lost ground is to sell complete SFF systems. They began offering complete SFF systems in Taiwan nearly two years ago thorugh selected retail partners. Not long thereafter, their US web site begain offering direct-to-consumer XPC systems. Shuttle now offers complete systems in virtually all their markets. They still offer barboines systems everywhere; in the US and Canada, their retail partners appear to sell barebones almost exclusively, except for the X100. The expansion from barebones to full systems has followed a natural path. All of the systems are small form factor, and most are based on the barebones systems in Shuttle's existing lineup. In this respect, they have followed Apple: Shuttle's systems are notable for their form as well as their function.

The X100 under review here is the most unusual of Shuttle's complete system offerings. For one, it's not available in a barebones package at all, unlike most of Shuttle's other complete systems. It is also notable for its form. It is the smallest Shuttle of all. Its closest competitor is probably the Mac Mini. It's no coincidence that Shuttle includes the specifications for the Mac Mini along side their own specifications; both are based on Intel's Core Duo chips, and use components that are primarily intended for laptops. Both are approximately two inches high and are designed to sit unobtrusively out of the way on a desktop. They are both appropriate for the entertainment PC market, where sleek looks and a low profile are as important as performance. The X100 can be configured with Windows Media Center Edition, with the option of a remote control for the surprisingly reasonable price of US$31.

(Editor's Note: In positioning the X100 as a PC alternative to the Mac Mini, Shuttle is also making a play for the market segment that the AOpen MiniPC caters to. In a comparison of all three, the X100 is the odd man out due to its larger size; the AOpen MiniPC is a virtual clone of the Mac Mini.)

 


The box is about the size you'd expect for a laptop.


The usual driver CDs and cables, plus a fanless DC power brick and a silver stand.

SPECIFICATIONS

The X100 can be configured with a variety of different parts, from a low end build that costs ~US$750 to a high end model for ~US$1,500. If you felt like it, you could add another $1,500 in accessories and peripherals too. As configured, our sample was worth about US$1,000.

Specifications: Shuttle X100 (from Shuttle's spec pages 1, 2)
Form Factor
Shuttle Form Factor "X" Chassis
Processor
Intel® Core Duo
Chipsets
North Bridge: Intel 945PM
South Bridge: Intel ICH7M
Memory
Up to 2GB DDRII-533
Storage
Up to 400GB SATA 3Gb/s Hard Drive
Graphics
ATI Mobility™ Radeon® X1400
MXM interface
Audio
High Definition Audio
Realtek ALC880 codec
Optical digital audio output/headphone out
Network
Realtek 8110 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
Wireless
Optional - 802.11 a/b/g Wireless LAN
(Intel 3945, mini card interface)
Optical Drive
DVD-ROM CD-R/RW Combo Slim slot drive
or Optional DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW Dual layer drive
Card Reader
Integrated 4-in-1 card reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS-pro)
Front Panel
USB 2.0 port
Power button
Power LED
ODD LED
Back Panel
DVI port
RJ45 10/100 Ethernet LAN port
USB 2.0 port (4)
IEEE1394 port
S-Video out
Mic in
Line in
Analog out
S/PDIF out
DC in
Dimensions
210 (L) x 298.6 (W) x 53.5 (H) mm
8.26" (L) x 11.65" (W) x 2.16" (H) inches
Weight
6.6 pounds / 2.9 kg
Operating System
Microsoft Windows XP
Professional/Home Edition
Accessories
System manual
Quick installation guide
S-video out cable
DVI to D-Sub connector
Stand
Power adaptor
Power cord
Power
120W PSU with active PFC
Input: 100 ~ 240V AC
EMI Certified: FCC, CE, BSMI
Safety Certified: UL, TUV, CB
Power Plug: Region Specific
Certification
FCC / ACE / ABSMI
Warranty
1 year limited hardware warranty
Energy Star Certified
Energy Star® Certified

Our sample had the following hardware installed, and included Windows Media Center Edition 2005:

  • Intel Core Duo T2050 (1.6 GHz, 533 MHz FSB)
  • 1 x 512 MB DDR2 RAM SODIMM
  • Seagate DB35 7200.2 250 GB hard drive (ST3250823SCE)
  • Intel 3945 Wireless LAN card
  • Matsushita UJ-8455 slot-loading DVD-RAM drive



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