Shuttle has done an outstanding job of improving its brand awareness over the past few years. Since launching one of the first SFF (Small Form Factor) machines, the name is now interchanged in the same way a Vacuum Cleaner is often referred to as a Hoover. This is most likely helped along, by the fact “Shuttle” is a hell of a lot easier to say than “Small Form Factor PC” or even “SFF”.
The machine in front of me today is one that I've been looking forward to reviewing for quite some time. I first saw it CeBIT, and then again at Computex, so it's taken quite some time for Shuttle to get this to the market, but better late than never right?
Unlike the Shuttle Barebones units we've previously looked at, this is sold as an entire machine. It is fully configurable from the Shuttle website and price can vary considerably, depending on what components you choose.
This is an incredibly cute piece of kit. It's only 55mm high, or wide if you choose to stand it on it's side. At only a 300mm long and 210mm wide, it's barely larger than an external optical drive.
On its side, it is just as stylish and will take up less desk space. As you can see the, the optical drive is slot loading, which I've always been a sucker for. The only issue I've ever had with this, is when using non standard shaped media, like credit card CDs, or GameCube sized DVDs.
There is no reset button, but there is a power button hidden in the silver strip. Holding this down for a few seconds will shut down even a crashed PC, so a reset button is a fairly unnecessary. Underneath this button is a small blue glowing acrylic square that indicates when the machine is turned on. This isn't too bright and looks really cool. Above this, almost going unnoticed, is a four in one card reader which accepts SD, MS, MS-Pro and MMC.
A single USB 2.0 port decorates the front panel for easy access. At first I was a little disappointed not to see a headphone output on the front, but considering the size of the device and simplicity of the design, it's not hard to find the right output at the rear of the case.
One way Shuttle has managed to keep the size down is by keeping the power supply external to the unit itself. This can be easily hidden away, while reducing the size of the unit. It's a similar size to those we see on high end notebooks at least.