Review: Shuttle XS35 Mini PC

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Just today I got my hands on a brand new Shuttle XS35 Mini PC from PCCaseGear. An all-in-one PC with a fanless design in a compact size.

First off, I have to congratulate the store for very fast delivery. I didn’t expect to see it this side of the long weekend! Yet it was waiting for me today, and I didn’t hesitate to start playing with it.

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Here are the specs.This specific one boasts an Intel Adom D510 Dual Core CPU, and an integrated Intel Graphics chip, a 320GB HDD, and 2GB of DDR2 memory. It’s nothing to do backflips over, but this isn’t meant to be a powerhouse machine. More on this later.

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The size of the box alarmed me at first, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

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Indeed it is larger than I thought it would be, but it is still rather small. It is slightly larger than a paperback book, and twice as thick as a blu-ray case.

There are 4 USB ports on the back, and one on the front. This specific model only has a VGA connector, but since my plans are to use this as a headless server, all is ok.

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Only one screw holds the casing together. And once it is removed…

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Isn’t she gorgeous!? As you can see, a standard 2.5″ SATA hard disk drive. If you turn it over you can remove the inbuilt DVD drive and replace it with another. 320GB is enough for me right now though.

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It also comes with a quite heavy stand, if you want to deploy it like this. I’ll decide upon this later on.

My plan was always for Linux, and I am very happy to report that it will boot without an attached keyboard.

The installation for Ubuntu 11.04 Server 64-bit was almost painless, and additionally showed me that this can boot from USB. I did encounter a small issue where I was told that no networking hardware was detected, yet the drivers still installed fine. This was fixed by simply enabling the interface from the console.

I almost feel guilty for planning on hiding this away. A relatively cheap bracket and I could mount this to the back of my TV, and have a true home theater PC. But wheels are in motion, and my plans are made.

Some stores will try to charge you ~$500 AUD for this. Tell them to sod off. I got it from PCCaseGear for $356, and had it a most surprising two days later.

Want a cheap and small server? I suggest this. I can’t comment on the desktop side of things, but it will run Windows 7. Don’t expect to play Crysis at 99FPS. But maybe Minecraft…