Power, Noise, and Price
Here’s where the Atom-based Shuttle X2700 shows its chops. At idle, the system sips just 27 W—much of that attributable to the 945GC chipset. Under load, that number jumps to just 38 W. The Athlon X2 4050e, along with its 740G-based board, 3.5” hard drive, and Radeon HD 4670 use 88 W at idle and a comparatively astounding 148 W under load.
This one’s easy. When there’s a disc in the slim DVD burner, you’ll hear it spinning up and down. If you’re using a conventional hard drive with spinning platters, you’ll hear them. Otherwise, the X2700’s only noise comes from a 40 mm chipset fan blowing across the chipset cooler at nary a whisper.
At roughly $190, the diminutive X27 barebones platform would seem like a fair deal—especially for those comfortable using the platform with Shuttle’s Foresight Linux bundle. Add your own memory, hard drive, and optical drive and you’re looking at a price point just north of $300.
However, the Shuttle-built X2700 is quite a bit less attractive at $429. As you near the $500 mark, you start getting closer to our entry-level System Builder Marathon system. We’ll update that configuration in October, but we already have the pieces picked out. And while we don’t want to give that story away entirely, let’s just say there’s an 8800-class GeForce and Allendale-derived CPU driving the platform to an entirely different level of performance versus the Atom/GMA 950 combination.
More immediately, we set the Atom-based X2700 up against an Athlon X2-based configuration that comes in at an even lower price point—$420—and serves up a much stronger performance story. Shuttle’s pre-built X2700 is not a bang-for-your-buck type of setup, though the barebones X27 is more palatable if you’re willing to add a couple pieces of hardware.