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Shuttle X27D review

Kat Orphanides
21 May 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
206
inc VAT

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Specifications

Shuttle's X27D is a smart-looking barebones PC with a built-in Intel Atom processor. It measures just 70x185x250mm, which is ideal if you need a very compact PC. The power supply is external, however, and so will add to the clutter under your desk.

Its Atom 330 processor is a dual-core version of the more common Atom 230. This is the first barebones PC to use the dual-core Atom, which we first saw in Novatech's Ion Fusion (Labs, Shopper 253). Like the Ion Fusion, the X27D was much faster than single-core Atom nettops. It was 23 per cent quicker overall in our benchmarks when fitted with 1GB of RAM, although given current RAM prices you may as well install 2GB of RAM for around £7 more. The difference this makes to performance isn't huge, but it's worth it for faster and smoother multitasking.

As well as fitting memory, you'll need to add a hard disk and optical drive. The tiny case limits your choice of components, as the small drive cage has room for only a 2?in laptop hard disk and a notebook optical drive. Connecting SATA components shouldn't be a problem, and Shuttle provides the cables for this. You'll probably run into trouble if you use older PATA laptop components, though, as they'll need adaptors to connect to the X27D's standard IDE port.

Everything slotted together neatly, although holding the hard disk in position while screwing it into the cage was fiddly, as was cable routing. The single memory slot can accept up to 2GB of desktop, rather than laptop, memory. Standard modules didn't obstruct other components or cables, but memory with oversized heat spreaders left too little space for the drive cage.

The X27D has six USB ports, two of which are on the front, and a pair of PS/2 ports for a keyboard and mouse. It also has DVI and VGA video outputs, which can run dual displays. The three audio jacks - stereo out, line in and mic in - can be configured for analogue 5.1 surround sound, and there's a Gigabit Ethernet port, but no built-in wireless networking.

With its built-in processor, this Atom-based barebones lacks the usual flexibility for picking components. This means there's less to differentiate it from buying a complete nettop. If you shop around, you can get a laptop DVD writer for £25, a 250GB 2?in hard disk for £40 and 2GB of RAM for as little as £15. A complete PC, without peripherals, will cost around £275 including VAT.

Novatech's Ion Fusion has a smaller hard disk, less RAM and costs £35 more, but it comes with a 19in monitor, keyboard and mouse and has Windows XP installed. If you don't need a new display and you have a retail copy of Windows to hand, the X27D provides a stylish alternative. However, for most users, the Ion Fusion PC is a much better deal.

Details

Price£206
Rating***
Processor socketSocket 441
Processor supportIntel Atom
Processor heatsink suppliedyes
Memory slots1
Supported memory typeDDR2 533/667/800
Memory2GB
Dual-channel supportno
Form factormicroATX
Chipset north bridgeIntel 945G
Chipset south bridgeIntel ICH7
Passively-cooled north bridgeyes
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 950
Graphics Memory224MB
Graphics memory typeshared

Ports

USB2 ports (front/rear)2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear)0/0
Legacy ports2x PS/2, serial
Graphics/video portsVGA, DVI
Other portsnone

Internal Expansion

Size70x185x250
PCI slots0
PCI-E x1 slots0
PCI-E x4 slots0
PCI-E x16 slots0
Dual 3D architectureN/A
IDE ports1
Serial ATA ports2
RAID drives0
Floppy ports0
3.5in drive bays0
5.25in drive bays0
Other baysnotebook hard disk, notebook optical

Features

Wired network ports10/100/1000
Wireless networking supportnone
SoundRealtek ALC662
Sound outputsstereo line out, mic in, line in
Speaker configuration5.1
Supported memory cardsnone
Power supply wattage60W
Cables included2x SATA
Power consumption standby3W
Power consumption idle28W
Power consumption active34W

Buying Information

Price£206
Supplierhttp://www.scan.co.uk
Detailshttp://eu.shuttle.com

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