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.
|Form Factor||SFF - 250 x 185 x 70mm|
|Processor||Intel Atom 230 1.60GHz|
|Chipset||Intel 945GC + ICH7|
|Memory||Single channel DDR2-533 (max 2GB)|
|Graphics||Intel GMA 950|
|Storage||1x UDMA 100, 2x SATA|
|Ethernet||Marvell 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.