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?