Shuttle Computers - We're Not Dead Yet!by Jarred Walton on January 9, 2008 7:45 AM EST
- Posted in
- CES 2008
Shuttle contacted us and other press to invite us to attend a media event with the unveiling of an "exciting new product". If you've followed the industry news at all, you're probably aware that Shuttle has had a difficult time of late, so we were certainly curious to hear about what they might be planning. Part of the difficulty stems from the fact that Shuttle basically staked their fate on the Small Form Factor (SFF) market that they created back in 2001. Interest in SFF computers has been on the decline, in part due to high prices and in part due to reliability concerns. We can say for certain that Shuttle has a new product that addresses at least one of those areas; reliability unfortunately is something that's difficult to gauge in the short-term.
The big announcement is that Shuttle is launching a new product line called "KPC" to compliment their current XPC SFF systems. (The K stands for "Korporate" - because it's kewl to spell words with a K apparently.) The KPC will be available both as a barebones unit as well as a fully functional system. The reason this unit is exciting is that it's the first SFF from Shuttle that can actually qualify as affordable. The barebones case will run $99 while the complete system will cost a mere $199. There's a catch, of course: there's no support for an optical drive (other than via USB), and there are no expansion slots. The removal of these features allowed Shuttle to reduce the size slightly, but while we can probably live with the GMA 950 graphics for basic computer work, the lack of an optical drive is a serious issue. "Hey, let's go out and buy that new Shuttle KPC that costs $99 - all we'll need is a $50 USB optical drive to get our OS installed!" We'd rather have a $50 slim DVDR integrated and pay $150, and we told Shuttle as much. Still, if you're willing to get the pre-built unit you can avoid that hassle. In that case you get a Celeron 420 (1.6GHz 1MB L2), 512MB RAM, 60GB/80GB HDD (because they can't make up their mind), and the Ubuntu OS. Since we appreciate the korporate naming, here are some Shuttle-provided images of the KPC and other Shuttle SFFs.
Another Shuttle product on display is the now-shipping SX38P2 Pro barebones, which is also sold as a complete system with the P2 3800 moniker. It comes with Vista or XP (choose your flavor), dual-core or quad-core CPU (up to QX9650), 1GB to 8GB DDR2, optional 1GB TurboMemory, support for up to three HDDs, CD/DVD/Blu-ray, and a GPU starting at a single HD 3850 and going as high as a single 8800GTX. An updated version sporting the X48 chipset and DDR3 memory will ship in the coming months, although we're not sure why X48 is really necessary. The X48 model will also come with water-cooling for the GPU and CPU. Load up the system and you're looking at prices that can approach (and even surpass) $5000, with 25-50% markups on most of the components. The KPC seems a lot more attractive after pricing out one of these units.
Shuttle also showed a system using the 780a NVIDIA chipset and running a Phenom 9500, a new "surveillance SFF" for the paranoid users, some multimedia systems, and a prototype with a touch-sensitive display and an iPod dock on top. The latter is not ready for shipping and may change significantly before its release, so they would not allow us to take photos. We snapped photos of everything else, including a couple photos of the interior of the X48 unit. We know that Shuttle was anxious to hear our input on their various new designs, and while we provided it we're sure they'd be interested in hearing what our readers might have to say as well. If you've got any comments you'd like to pass along, please do so!