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. , , 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.trumped even the
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 powerfulgraphics 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 thegraphics 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.
According to our new benchmarks, this configuration of the XPC P2 2700 competes well against the latest chips from Intel. It's hard to do a direct comparison because we haven't seen many systems yet with these parts, nor will we be able to really judge the price-to-performance ratio until we know what AMD's price cuts will look like. But based on raw performance, this new Shuttle finished as expected on every application and gaming test, which is to say that it didn't set records, but it's fast enough for anything you'd want to do with it. It even overachieves a little on our Photoshop test. We threw in the new Dell XPS 700, one of the fastest systems we've ever tested, just to give you an idea of how far the Shuttle is from the top.