Shuttle's XPC K6200h
The $999 Shuttle XPC K6200h is pleasing to the eye with its clean, compact shape (it's even smaller than the budget PC roundup. The K6200h's small size and quiet operation make it well suited for people who need an unobtrusive PC--just don't expect to be able to use it for more than the most basic applications.), but its lackluster internal components deliver performance that can't keep pace with the other sub-$1,000 systems in our
The K6200h's tiny dimensions (6.75 by 7.5 by 11.25 inches, HWD) and effective cooling are due in large part to Shuttle's use of an external power supply. By moving the power supply from the case to a brick on the power cable, the system retains less internal heat, thus requiring less work from the typically noisy internal fan. Most of the time, the K6200h produces only a low hum, like that of a quiet fish tank. The only component that made significant noise was the loud Lite-On DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive, which made an intrusive whirr when we imported an audio CD.
The Shuttle XPC K6200h currently has a baseline price of $649 (the included 17-inch LCD makes up the difference in price), but it's no performance bargain. Featuring a 2.8GHz Intel Celeron D 335 processor and 512MB of DDR SDRAM, the K6200h can't match the Gateway and PCs, though, the Shuttle at least posted a score. But make no mistake: with its bargain-basement CPU and integrated ATI graphics chip, the Shuttle XPC K6200h is no gaming box. It can barely handle regular 2D apps.2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3500+ chip and 1GB of system memory. It didn't fare well against the three other budget PCs in the roundup, either. The K6200h performed dead last on almost all of our tests. The only exception, interestingly, was on our Half-Life 2 test. At 17 frames per second, it's not playable even at the less demanding 800x600 resolution, even after reverting to the game's older DirectX 8.1 graphics-rendering mode. Unlike the
The rest of the Shuttle XPC K6200h's specs are similarly basic, with a respectable number of external inputs. It has an 8-in-1 media reader on the front along with two USB 2.0 ports and analog audio jacks. Around back, you'll find two more USB 2.0 ports, another set of analog audio ports, a digital audio jack, and a pair of FireWire ports. The inside doesn't offer much in the way of upgradability, but that's to be expected given the size of the unit. You get one free PCI slot and a spare memory slot, but no empty drive bays or free expansion slots for a graphics card of any substance (sorry, PCI 3D cards, you don't do the job).