With its integrated 802.11b/g wireless networking capability and built-in TV tuner, the XPC X200M makes a stronger showing than the X100, which lacked those features, made six months ago. The 250GB, 7,200rpm hard drive might be a little small for serious digital media archivists, but if you think you'll need more storage, you can add larger internal drives, up to 750GB, when you configure this system on Shuttle's Web site. Shuttle also includes an innocuous, four-in-one media card reader that's built in to its front panel, and you'll find an assortment of peripherals, such as an external Creative Sound Blaster audio card, speakers, and a floppy drive available as options, as well.
Shuttle's support is about average for a smaller desktop vendor. You get a one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the XPC X200M, and toll-free phone support from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday. Shuttle's Web site has a FAQ and a few other pages of troubleshooting help. We have a large issue with this system's support policy, however. A shiny sticker blocks one of the rear-panel screws advising you that if you remove the sticker, your warranty becomes void. Sure, the inside is tightly packed, and DIY upgrading or service is harder than it might be normally, but that restriction also means that even if you want to perform a task as simple as upgrading the memory, you have to take the system to a Shuttle-approved depot center. What a waste of time.
Acer Aspire L310
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6300; 1,024MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM; integrated 128MB (shared) Intel GMA 3000 graphics chip; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm hard drive
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6600; Intel P965 Express chipset; 1,024MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7900 GT; (2) 250GB Hitachi 7,200rpm hard drives
HP Pavilion SlimLine s7600e
Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 SP2; 2.0GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 3800+; 1,024MB DDR2 SDRAM 500MHz; integrated 256MB Nvidia GeForce 6150 LE; 250GB Western Digital 7,200rpm hard drive
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Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-51; 2GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 7600 Go; 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive
Shuttle XPC X200M
Windows Vista Home Premium; 1.66GHz Intel T2300 Core 2 Duo; 1,024MB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB (shared) Intel 950 GMA graphics chip; 250GB 7,200rpm Seagate Barracuda hard drive
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