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Shuttle XS29F: Is VIA's Nano Processor Powerful Enough?

Neo Nano

When Shuttle announced its XS29F several months ago, we were told it would bring complete silence to desktop computing (along with its alternative applications, such as a file player for home theaters).

But it was the Mini-ITX fanatics and VIA faithful, rather than Shuttle, who made these claims, and the manufacturer itself provided only a short list of specs for this Nano U1700-powered “nettop” computer--the desktop equivalent of a netbook.

When you're talking about portable computing, the name “netbook” implies a simplified notebook designed expressly as an Internet terminal. Applying the same low-power, reduced-performance technology to desktops allows Shuttle to build its tiny XS29F without any fan whatsoever. Adding your choice of a solid-state drive (SSD), rather than a traditional notebook hard disk drive, can make the system a completely silent space-saving machine perfect for use in noise-sensitive areas like libraries, hospitals, and audio labs.

Today we’ll compare the completely silent XS29F to the virtually silent Intel Atom-powered X27D. We’re already extremely familiar with the Atom’s capabilities, but is the Nano U1700 in the same performance class? More importantly, is it fast enough for typical “office duty” workloads, such as document editing and the viewing of Web content?

  • Wouldn't this just be a linux-only machine then? I can't possibly see any other use for it other than maybe a childs pc or a general "Internet & Email only" PC.
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  • pakardbell486dx2
    This may be a dumb question, but why was Xp not used for this test? Clearly "just barely" wont work for people who spend their hard earn money on something like this. Maybe the celeron is ok for vista basic but the atom and nano platforms are just not good enough for Vista. If I can make an analogy comparing Vista and Atom/Nano it's like an old 73' Corolla trying to haul ten tons uphill.
    Reply
  • werr20
    wonderful ! i'm waiting for faster cpu-s from via
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  • ethaniel
    No CPU usage tests on Blu-ray playback? I was expecting that...
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  • tacoslave
    amd huron platform thats all i have to say i want to see it benched see how it stakes up.
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  • Blueridge
    I agree that the major drawback of this review is the use of Microsoft Vista. I think that Windows XP Home edition for ULPC or a netbook spin of a linux distro (e.g. Ubuntu) would have been a much better choice for this review, especialy since is very well known that Vista is just not the right choice for netbooks (or nettops). Some time ago I read several reviews of the nano processor, based on Win XP and they performed more than OK, they were even suitable for a small HTPC at that time (the toughest challenge was DVD playback back then) and with a better chipset would have performed even netter. But this happens when a resource hungry OS like vista is used... just my 2 cents.
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  • HalfHuman
    i guess a windoze xp or 7 would be a lot better to use with this kind of hardware. in fact i cannot think at a more inapropriate os to run on a nentop than vista. :)
    maybe the performance delta would be the same but the usability would be more than "acceptable".
    regarding the "benchmarking" stuff... i do not think that anybody sane would buy a nettop to use it for hardcore photo editiing or transcoding.
    if i'd buy a nettop i'd be interested in several factors:
    - to be powerfull enough for office work and maybe hd playback
    - to use as little power as possible (which nano does nicely) as this kind of device would be rarely powered down
    - to be silent (which nano is)
    i think that performance per watt is irrelevant here as a system like this is not meant to be "performant". i think that the one that uses less watts, has more features is queter wins here.
    my take on this is that via has a very nice platform and nano wins even if it's not the fastest.
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  • Blueridge
    I just took a look at Via's website and it seems that Nano is available in flavors up to 1.8GHz. I wish a machine based on such a processor was used for this review, though I think the main issue here is availability.
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  • HalfHuman
    i would be nice to see some noise evaluations, some hd playback tests... some appropriate os. :)
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    The Nano would be the perfect computer to just leave it powered on, seeding torrents and such.
    Reply