Shuttle X5000TA review
Shuttle is known for squeezing PCs of all flavours into discreet, compact cubes. So it’s refreshing to see the company branching out with a very different sort of system: a lightweight all-in-one that’s designed to be admired.
Outwardly, the X5000TA is strikingly similar to the Asus Eee Top ET1602. It perches on the desk in just the same way, and from the front it’s identically laid out, with a speaker bar set below a widescreen touch-sensitive display. There’s no keyboard or mouse provided, though – Shuttle evidently sees the X5000TA as primarily a browsing device.
The insides are similar to the Eee Top’s as well. Both systems are built around an Intel Atom processor, though Shuttle splashes out on a dual-core Atom 330 rather than the single-core N270 used by Asus. Both ship with 1GB of DDR2 RAM and a 160GB hard disk, and both sport a 1.3-megapixel webcam and microphone set into the top of the screen.
Outside of this basic specification, though, the Shuttle distinguishes itself over the Asus on several counts. The one you’ll notice first is build quality. Where the Eee Top has a cheap and cheerful plasticky feel, the X5000TA is a far more solid proposition. With its tasteful white (or, optionally, black) bezel and metallic trim it looks and feels like a quality appliance.
Several classy design features reinforce the effect: we like the status and activity LEDs that shine through the speaker grille, and the physical rocker that controls volume, brightness and contrast. When the machine’s in use, a blue light shines down onto your desk, calling to mind the HP TouchSmart series. And there’s a stylus holder neatly tucked away at the top of the casing.
The X5000TA is also designed for flexible positioning. The stand swings up to become a carrying handle, should you wish to lug its slim 3.6kg frame about. For a more permanent fixture, there’s a VESA standard mounting that makes it easy to set the unit on a wall or bracket. Maybe few of us need these features, but you can’t cavil at having the option.
Connectivity isn’t bad for a device this size, either. You get five USB ports (against the Eee Top’s four), full-fat Gigabit Ethernet and draft-n wireless networking, a four-format card reader and – an unexpected treat – a VGA connector for hooking up a secondary monitor.
Lastly, the X5000TA is gratifyingly upgradeable: a spare SO-DIMM slot lets you up the RAM to 2GB, and the hard disk can be replaced with a standard 2.5in SATA unit of up to 600GB. It’s not exactly an easy-access upgrade, mind: you’ll have to undo 15 screws to get at the RAM slot, and a further four to swap out the hard disk.
While the X5000TA ticks a lot of boxes, it has shortcomings too. One aspect of the Eee Top we wish Shuttle hadn’t copied is the lack of an optical drive. Without one, the X5000TA’s media capabilities are necessarily limited, and you may have to resort to roundabout methods to install applications and drivers – especially if you opt to save £57 and buy the unit without a preinstalled operating system.
The display is also a disappointment. White areas are grainy, while colours appear subdued and washed out. It’s perfectly usable, but in such a well-built package it sticks out as a weak link. The speakers are predictably weedy too.
With its Atom processor, the X5000TA’s performance is also decidedly modest. In our benchmarks it scored a predictable 0.37 overall – fine for web browsing and office applications, but offering little headroom beyond that.
|Warranty||2yr collect and return|
|Total hard disk capacity||160|
|CPU family||Intel Atom|
|CPU nominal frequency||1.60GHz|
|CPU overclocked frequency||N/A|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|Memory sockets free||1|
|Memory sockets total||2|
|Multiple SLI/CrossFire cards?||no|
|Graphics chipset||Intel GMA 950|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Number of graphics cards||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||160GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA|
|Hard disk 2 make and model||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 nominal capacity||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 formatted capacity||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 spindle speed||N/A|
|Hard disk 2 cache size||N/A|
|Hard disk 3 make and model||N/A|
|Hard disk 3 nominal capacity||N/A|
|Hard disk 4 make and model||N/A|
|Hard disk 4 nominal capacity||N/A|
|Optical disc technology||N/A|
|Optical disk 2 make and model||N/A|
|Optical disk 3 make and model||N/A|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Dimensions||391 x 327 x 36mm (WDH)|
Free drive bays
|Free front panel 5.25in bays||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||5|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||3|
|Front panel USB ports||3|
|Front panel memory card reader||yes|
Operating system and software
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Overall application benchmark score||0.37|
|Office application benchmark score||0.33|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||0.45|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.33|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||0.38|