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!

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  • LinuxLOSER - Sunday, January 27, 2008 - link

    The $99 KPC is intriguing and might make a nice NAS/Print/Web/All-In-One server if you have extra RAM/CPU/2.5" drives laying around. Wish there were some specs on the average wattage usage for the $199 device. The power supply is supposed to be 100 Watt so it's going to be below that. Right now I use an old laptop for the All-In-One and it only takes up about 27 Watts on average so leaving it running 24/7/365 is a non-issue. Unfortunately, the old lappy is getting dated and this would be a nice, cheap upgrade. The lack of an optical drive would make built-out a pain; but on the plus side the absence of an optical drive would lower the power requirements. I've seen NAS enclosures alone go for $200+ so $199 for a full fledged PC isn't bad at all. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    Like all other builders, it seems most of their SFFs that are around $200 come with HiPro power supplies, which are known for reliability issues on all OEMs that use them. Also good for saving a few bucks at the customers expense.

    It is hard to find the ones made by Shuttle, though if they say Silent X 250, I think they still exist on higher end models.
    Reply
  • Nyarlathotep - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    The corporate computers I have used have been 1/3 the size of the Korporate and hidden by the screen.

    You might want a screen for this thing to work properly. Then you pay more then the cheapest fullsize laptops.

    For the livingroom I would choose something blending in with my other items. But that´s just me.
    Reply
  • munkay - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    No optical drive probably isn't a problem if using it as a home server. You could probably throw in a tv tuner and set it up as a Myth server, and have myth clients anywhere in your house. I'd have bought this instead of the DNS-323 (which i bought) for the same price. Reply
  • Starglider - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    My main problem with Shuttle PCs (I've owned three) is the noise. All of them were fairly noisy to start with (moreso than the average desktop) and got steadily worse over time, to the point that I had to replace the fans or go insane. Unfortunately that just got them back down to 'fairly noisy', not 'quiet'. There's not much point having an unobtrusive form factor when the audible instrusion is so bad. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    I've always felt the Shuttle SFFs are relatively quiet when idle, but as soon as you put any load on them they get really loud. If you usually just leave your system sitting at the desktop, they're not bad, but a decent ATX case with an aftermarket HSF is going to be quieter for sure. Unfortunately, I don't know that there's much they can do with the noise - either you're somewhat loud in order to get rid of the heat, or you're hot and likely crash under load. All the gaming laptops I've tested are also quite noisy for the same reason. Reply
  • strikeback03 - Friday, January 11, 2008 - link

    The one Shuttle I have used (at work) was very noisy, I'd guess it was the little PSU fan rather than the 80mm that cooled everything else. Admittedly it was powering a 3.0GHz Prescott so it had to work, but it always whined. Reply
  • Blahman - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    replacing the stock fans with quieter/more efficient ones is fairly trivial. see here:
    http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forums/viewthrea...">http://www.sudhian.com/index.php?/forums/viewthrea...
    Reply
  • FreedomGUNDAM - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    Depending on the number of 3.5" bays available (hope 3-4), this maybe the perfect DIY Windows Home Server kit. Reply
  • sullenmoon - Wednesday, January 09, 2008 - link

    Ubuntu or Kubuntu? seems like a Korporate PC should come with Kubuntu, the KDE (instead of gnome) version on ubuntu. You'd get to play on the K letter scheme so much more with software such as Konqueror, Konsole, Kontact, and a mascot named Konqi! Reply

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