Shuttle XPC P2 2700 review: Shuttle XPC P2 2700

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MSRP: $379.00
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Aggressive pricing that will only get more competitive with AMD's coming price cuts; room for full-size graphics card; uses latest AMD platform; strong performance; two free drive bays for more storage options.

The Bad Larger than other small-form-factor PCs; media card reader costs extra.

The Bottom Line You'll want to give Shuttle's new AMD-based, small-form-factor gaming PC a week or two to see how the coming Athlon price drop will affect the price tag. Assuming that Shuttle continues its aggressive pricing, however, the XPC P2 2700 will deliver lots of bang for your buck.

7.2 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 8.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Service and support 6.0

The WinBook Jiv Mini trumped even the Apple Mac Mini for the number of features you can pack into a tiny media PC, and both models make the traditional bread box-size small-form-factor (SFF) case look downright gigantic. With Intel and AMD both increasing their chips' power efficiency, we expect this trend will continue. Thus, an SFF PC such as the $2,392 Shuttle XPC P2 2700 is effectively relegated to gaming, which benefits from the SFF case's extra room for a 3D graphics card. Falcon Northwest, Maingear, Shuttle, and others have SFF PCs aimed at gamers. While Falcon and Maingear systems lean more toward the higher end, with their raft of customization options, the XPC PC 2700 Shuttle instead offers a limited number of configuration choices at better prices. A similar config from its competition will run you at least $500 or more.

If you're looking for a basic SFF gaming PC, we recommend that you do not buy the Shuttle or any other system right now. Instead, wait a week. Intel's new Core 2 Duo chips aren't offered on the XPC P2 2700, but Shuttle says it has a system with those chips in the works. In addition to Core 2 Duo availability, Shuttle tells us that it will implement AMD's forthcoming CPU price cuts as soon as they're announced the week of July 27. We expect that will make the XPC P2 2700 an even better deal than it already is.

For right now, your $2,392 will get you a powerful XPC P2 2700. Our review model came with a Socket AM2 motherboard, complete with the high-end Athlon 64 X2 4800+ CPU and 2MB of 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM--a strong foundation for gaming and other intensive graphics tasks. (Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, however, will provide an even stronger foundation.) Shuttle sent us a powerful 512MB GeForce 7900 GTX graphics card and a fast 150GB Western Digital Raptor 10,000rpm hard drive (with room inside for two more drives or one drive and one $16 media card reader). A dual-layer DVD burner seals the deal.

What we also like about the Shuttle XPC P2 2700 is that upgrading this system costs less than it does with other vendors. Upgrading to the GeForce 7950 GX2 graphics card, for example, costs about $40 less from Shuttle than from Falcon or Maingear. Shuttle's aggressive pricing translates to other parts as well, which helps drive down the overall cost. Still, like every system without one, we wish the XPC P2 2700 came with a media card reader in the default configuration.

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