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Shuttle launches $299 mini desktop

The cube-like PC continues the recent trend of cheap, space-saving desktops.

Shuttle KPC 4800
Shuttle

Shuttle is at it again with its oh-so-adorable and affordable mini desktops. Late Tuesday night, the KPC 4800 popped up on the company's Web site.

It's similar to the original KPC, the $199 4500, which was introduced at CES earlier this year. The main difference is that the 4800 has an optical drive and dual-monitor support. Also, your color choice this time is, well, there really isn't one. So far, only black is available on Shuttle's site.

Shuttle KPC 4800
Rear view of the KPC 4800. Shuttle

It runs Foresight Linux, but has an option to upgrade to 32-bit Windows Vista. The Linux version starts at $279; the Vista machine at $479. Monitor, speakers, keyboard, mouse, and other necessary computing accoutrements are sold separately.

Last week my esteemed colleague Rich Brown made an excellent case for why buying a cheap desktop isn't necessarily the most practical choice for the average PC buyer. First, they're not that much cheaper than what Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Acer are offering in traditional, more robust desktop systems. And second, "While the Mac Minis and Eee Boxes of the world have visual appeal by themselves, customers still have to figure out how to use them, and their aesthetic and space-saving benefits can vanish once you connect them to a display, and a mouse and keyboard."

But the Shuttle KPC is just so dang cute. Even more so, I daresay, than Dell's mini desktop offering announced earlier this week, the Studio Hybrid, which starts at $499 with Vista.

But looks aren't everything. It's hard to tell just how big a demand there is for this class of desktop. Is this something you'd be interested in? Let us know in the comments.