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Shuttle X27D review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £206
inc VAT

Shuttle’s X27D is a smart-looking barebones PC with a built-in Intel Atom processor. It measures just 70x185x250mm, which is ideal if you need a very compact PC. The power supply is external, however, and so will add to the clutter under your desk.

Its Atom 330 processor is a dual-core version of the more common Atom 230. This is the first barebones PC to use the dual-core Atom, which we first saw in Novatech’s Ion Fusion (Labs, Shopper 253). Like the Ion Fusion, the X27D was much faster than single-core Atom nettops. It was 23 per cent quicker overall in our benchmarks when fitted with 1GB of RAM, although given current RAM prices you may as well install 2GB of RAM for around £7 more. The difference this makes to performance isn’t huge, but it’s worth it for faster and smoother multitasking.

As well as fitting memory, you’ll need to add a hard disk and optical drive. The tiny case limits your choice of components, as the small drive cage has room for only a 2?in laptop hard disk and a notebook optical drive. Connecting SATA components shouldn’t be a problem, and Shuttle provides the cables for this. You’ll probably run into trouble if you use older PATA laptop components, though, as they’ll need adaptors to connect to the X27D’s standard IDE port.

Everything slotted together neatly, although holding the hard disk in position while screwing it into the cage was fiddly, as was cable routing. The single memory slot can accept up to 2GB of desktop, rather than laptop, memory. Standard modules didn’t obstruct other components or cables, but memory with oversized heat spreaders left too little space for the drive cage.

The X27D has six USB ports, two of which are on the front, and a pair of PS/2 ports for a keyboard and mouse. It also has DVI and VGA video outputs, which can run dual displays. The three audio jacks – stereo out, line in and mic in – can be configured for analogue 5.1 surround sound, and there’s a Gigabit Ethernet port, but no built-in wireless networking.

With its built-in processor, this Atom-based barebones lacks the usual flexibility for picking components. This means there’s less to differentiate it from buying a complete nettop. If you shop around, you can get a laptop DVD writer for £25, a 250GB 2?in hard disk for £40 and 2GB of RAM for as little as £15. A complete PC, without peripherals, will cost around £275 including VAT.

Novatech’s Ion Fusion has a smaller hard disk, less RAM and costs £35 more, but it comes with a 19in monitor, keyboard and mouse and has Windows XP installed. If you don’t need a new display and you have a retail copy of Windows to hand, the X27D provides a stylish alternative. However, for most users, the Ion Fusion PC is a much better deal.


Price £206
Rating ***
Processor socket Socket 441
Processor support Intel Atom
Processor heatsink supplied yes
Memory slots 1
Supported memory type DDR2 533/667/800
Memory 2GB
Dual-channel support no
Form factor microATX
Chipset north bridge Intel 945G
Chipset south bridge Intel ICH7
Passively-cooled north bridge yes
Graphics Processor Intel GMA 950
Graphics Memory 224MB
Graphics memory type shared


USB2 ports (front/rear) 2/4
Firewire ports (front/rear) 0/0
Legacy ports 2x PS/2, serial
Graphics/video ports VGA, DVI
Other ports none

Internal Expansion

Size 70x185x250
PCI slots 0
PCI-E x1 slots 0
PCI-E x4 slots 0
PCI-E x16 slots 0
Dual 3D architecture N/A
IDE ports 1
Serial ATA ports 2
RAID drives 0
Floppy ports 0
3.5in drive bays 0
5.25in drive bays 0
Other bays notebook hard disk, notebook optical


Wired network ports 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support none
Sound Realtek ALC662
Sound outputs stereo line out, mic in, line in
Speaker configuration 5.1
Supported memory cards none
Power supply wattage 60W
Cables included 2x SATA
Power consumption standby 3W
Power consumption idle 28W
Power consumption active 34W

Buying Information

Price £206

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