Shuttle's Stylish New X27 Makes an Appearance

Shuttle has provided Tom’s Hardware with a sneak peak at their stylish new solution to the bulky, comparatively power-hungry basic office or multimedia desktop.

The new X27 is a Small Form Factor PC designed as a replacement for a larger, full-ATX office or home theatre system, which not only saves you an incredible amount of desk space, but looks great in the process! The X27 is finished with a highly-reflective, piano black paint which looks quite sophisticated. You might want to keep your hands off the outside if you want it to stay that way, as glossy paint-jobs are infamous for leaving behind fingerprints and showing up the dust.

With a total chassis volume of a mere 3 liters, around 1/10 that of a standard ATX tower, and measuring only 250mm (L) x 185mm (W) x 70mm (H), the X27 can fit almost anywhere. But you won’t want to hide it away, because while it looks good, the X27 is also extremely quiet, producing a tiny 23 dB of noise at both idle and full load according to the information provided. There’s no need for high-airflow, high-noise fans even in this tightly closed environment.

The X27 is capable of running an extremely quiet cooling system in such a small case because it uses Intel’s new Atom 230 processor that Tom’s Hardware tested back in July, which has a very low 4W TDP. Unfortunately, the 945GC desktop chipset is not nearly as energy efficient because of its aging process technology, and claims a large portion of the system’s power consumption with a TDP of 22.2W - while the accompanying ICH7 southbridge uses 3.3W. Altogether, the system consumes only 24W at idle and 36W under full load. For the environmentally conscious this is particularly good, but just as importantly it also means you save money on the electricity bill, especially if the system runs 24/7.

Because the X27 uses Intel’s GMA 950 integrated graphics, it is obvious that this PC would never be used for gaming purposes, or even for watching HD content. But that isn’t the target market, as is also evident by the use of an Atom 230 at the heart and a single DDR2 DIMM slot capable of holding only 2GB RAM. The X27 is directed towards the basic home theatre and an office environment in need of a bit more eye candy. Capable of running single applications such as email clients, web browsers and office software, as well as watching DVDs, the Atom processor is a good choice of processor for the task because it keeps power consumption down and therefore reduces the need for noisy fans cooling hot components. Of course, the Atom doesn’t have nearly enough horsepower to be used even for relatively simple multi-tasking, despite having Hyper-Threading capabilities.

Hardware Specifications
Form FactorSFF - 250 x 185 x 70mm
ProcessorIntel Atom 230 1.60GHz
ChipsetIntel 945GC + ICH7
MemorySingle channel DDR2-533 (max 2GB)
GraphicsIntel GMA 950
AudioRealtek ALC662
Storage1x UDMA 100, 2x SATA
EthernetMarvell 88E8056 Gigabit ethernet

The Shuttle X27 is definitely not for everyone. Boasting only enough performance for basic home office usage and the occasional DVD, it’s more about elegant looks and blissful silence than hardcore (or even mainstream) performance. If cutting electricity costs is a priority, then the X27 doesn’t disappoint as it is light on the energy consumption side, although the 945GC chipset is an unfortunate addition which negates much of the advantage of using Atom. Cool, quiet and green, the X27 delivers it all in a tiny yet aesthetically pleasing chassis. The X27 is expected to hit the market mid next month.

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  • malveaux

    So if I'm to understand this correctly, it's completely gimped and probably costs a mint. What's the point of that? A pretty box that hums? It can only barely watch a DVD? That's pointless. This is 2008. It should do a hell of a lot more than a little DVD or some office software.

    Review something worth actually looking at?

    Very best,
  • gsteacy
    malveauxReview something worth actually looking at?

    This isn't a review, far from it. If you read the first line, it says "sneak peek", ie. not a review. We didn't get this PC, we got information and pictures. Personally I like the look of it, but would I buy it? No, it would be too slow for me. But some people will buy it for one reason or another. Maybe because it has Atom and Atom is new?
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    It's good to know what's out there, so this review does serve a purpose.

    I'm just personally bored with all the Atom-based stuff rolling out. Maybe a lot of us readers are.
    It's a barely-capable CPU paired with an older chipset that Intel was too lazy to update. I'm not excited about it going into notebooks or low-powered desktops, even though those are areas interesting to me.
    Maybe it's just the coverage saturation. What else is out there that I should look at?