Shuttle PC XPC X100
At a Glance
Shuttle XPC X100
This super-small system will look great on your desk, but this model can't handle power-hungry graphics tasks.
Slim and stylish, with a matte-black and brushed-silver finish, the Shuttle XPC X100 would fit well in an office or living room. This $749 system (as of November 6, 2006) is stronger on form than on functionality, however.
When laid flat, the PC takes up about the same amount of space as a ream of paper--it measures 8.3 inches wide by 11.8 inches deep by 2.1 inches high. The unit comes with a sturdy yet unobtrusive metal stand that lets you orient the system vertically instead of horizontally. Setting up the X100 is a breeze because it's highly mobile and easy to position. The included (and matching) 17-inch Shuttle XP17 LCD is similarly portable, thanks to a handle and a built-in folding stand; it rendered reasonably good image quality, too.
The superquiet X100 incorporates notebook components instead of larger desktop PC parts. Our test model came with a 1.6-GHz Celeron M 420; ATI's Mobility Radeon X1400 GPU; an 80GB hard drive; 512MB of RAM; and a slot-loading, multiformat, double-layer DVD burner (with a maximum single-layer DVD write speed of 8X). The system conveniently stashes a Memory Stick and SD Card reader between its power button and the blue status light on the front of the case.
Not surprisingly, the small case has little room to spare for connectivity and components. The included ports consist of one front-mounted USB 2.0 port, four rear USB 2.0 ports (one of which must be used with the bundled splitter to connect the bundled Logitech keyboard and mouse), one FireWire port, gigabit ethernet, S-Video, audio inputs and outputs, and DVI-D (digital only).
The X100's performance was extremely poor. In our WorldBench 5 tests, the unit scored a doddering 56. Its graphics performance was near the bottom of our range of results, too: It failed to complete three of our four gaming tests at all.
If you want a desktop system that takes up minimal space, the XPC X100 may suit you. And it could have a role in the living room if you invest in a roomier hard drive and a TV-tuner card. But if space isn't an issue, you can spend less money on a slightly larger desktop PC that will provide you with a lot more power.
Melissa J. Perenson