Shuttle XS35GT-804 review

Price when reviewed

It isn’t often we see new nettop PCs since it’s a small market, and when we do the differences between them are often few and far between. Shuttle’s XS35 is another Atom-powered mini-PC that aims to keep its presence unknown while getting to work as either a media-centre or a compact everyday PC.

The XS35 is a space saver with crevice-friendly dimensions, and at a glance it isn’t obvious what its primary purpose might be. The chassis is a combination of matte and glossy black, with little air holes punched in the side; it looks a little like an old-fashioned external DVD drive. It’s about the size of one too, measuring around 25cm long and just 3.8cm thick, making it inconspicuous enough to blend into a living room entertainment console.

In keeping with the discreet design, it doesn’t include a cooling fan. This is largely a blessing, making the XS35 near-silent even when operating at full capacity – all you’re likely to hear is the click of the hard disk as it seeks. The passive cooling does mean, however, that the top edge becomes quite toasty. Still, with just a tiny 40W power brick, the Shuttle makes as much long-term sense as reusing an old, inefficient PC for your media tasks.

The outside of the chassis is well equipped. On the front face sit a well-blended optical drive, a USB 2 port and a reader for Memory Stick and SD cards. A further four USB ports adorn the back of the chassis, and HDMI and D-SUB make up your display options. On the networking side, you get Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n wireless as standard, which worked flawlessly in the congested airwaves of our office.

Shuttle XS35GT-804

It’s worth noting that the model of XS35 on test here doesn’t come with an operating system, so if you don’t have an old licence to use, you’ll have to factor that into the price. We installed Windows 7 and found the 1.66GHz Atom D510 processor, aided by 2GB of DDR3 RAM, capable of handling most everyday tasks. In our benchmarks it scored a respectable 0.49, which makes it 30-40% faster than most netbooks, and the two cores make it more comfortable than you might expect with tasks such as video encoding. Just don’t throw all your usual desktop PC tasks at it at once and it will run fine.

Not surprisingly, there are times when application loading speeds aren’t lightning-quick, so be prepared for a little sluggishness. In spite of this, the Shuttle handled our standard definition and Full HD video files well: we didn’t see any juddering during video playback. Internet TV also fared well: both BBC iPlayer and YouTube HD ran smoothly at 720p, and for the most part at 1080p too.

This graphical grunt comes courtesy of Nvidia’s Ion chip, but its powers don’t extend to serious PC gaming. Managing an average 16fps in our Crysis benchmark at 1,366 x 768 and Low settings, you’ll have to go back to older titles to enjoy smooth gameplay. For a cheap nettop, anything more would be a bonus.

The rest of the internals are largely as we’d expect. There’s a capacious 500GB hard disk, which is a nice touch in such a small and cheap system, and the whole thing is VESA mountable should you want to strap it to the back of a TV out of sight.

The Shuttle XS35’s biggest rival is probably still the year-old Asus Eee Box EB1501, and with its faster processor, larger hard disk and neat design the XS35 betters it in most areas. If you don’t have an OS to put on it, the price will rise perhaps a tad too high for a wholehearted recommendation – these tiny PCs are no longer the wonder they once were – but as an efficient media PC it’s worthy of a place in your living room.

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity500GB
RAM capacity2.00GB


CPU familyIntel Atom
CPU nominal frequency1.66GHz


Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec


Memory typeDDR3

Graphics card

Graphics cardNvidia Ion
DVI-I outputs0
HDMI outputs1
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
DisplayPort outputs0

Hard disk



Optical driveDVD writer


Monitor make and modelN/A

Additional Peripherals



Case formatSmall form factor
Dimensions38.4 x 252 x 162mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream)5

Front ports

Front panel USB ports1

Operating system and software

OS familyNone

Performance tests

Overall application benchmark score0.49
Office application benchmark score0.32
2D graphics application benchmark score0.47
Encoding application benchmark score0.73
Multitasking application benchmark score0.45

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