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Goodbye Mac Mini, Hello Shuttle X350 / XS35

Ok, so my days of wandering through Microcenter’s Apple area pondering whether to buy a NEW Mac Mini are over.  It was a short lived dream… or nightmare; I haven’t figured that out yet.  Apple almost had me until Shuttle announced its XS35 at Computex this year.  The Shuttle XS35 is a new addition to the X Series and sets a new bar, raising the stakes once again.  Shuttle’s new addition is just 1.5 inches wide and is about the same size as the very enticing Mac Mini.  The XS35 sports an optical drive, and optional HDMI port, a dual core Intel Atom D510 Processor and an Nvidia ION graphics controller capable of true 1080p resolutions, 2GB of RAM, and uses the SPA platform.

The Intel D510 processor is a 45nm dual core processor with 1MB of L2 cache, a processing speed of 1.66 GHz, 64-bit, and can support up to 4GB of RAM.

The unit also sports, an Ethernet port (speed yet to be announced), integrated wireless, 4 USB ports, VGA, HDMI, Power, and audio connections.  The simplistic front sports your optical drive (no news on Blu-ray support yet, but I bet it could be done), a multi card reader and a singularly lonely USB port.  Hard Drive capacity is not known yet.

The design of the XS35 allows the unit to operate with passive cooling as the enclosure itself doesn’t contain a single fan.  The chassis design allows adequate heat dissipation without the need of fans, making it perfect for those of us that don’t want to hear anything other than our surround sound systems.

Another perk of the Shuttle system is that you are free to choose your OS.  The PC platform allows you to select the operating system of your choice allowing me to run Windows 7 and manage my HTPC experience with Media Center and utilize my Windows Home Server for automatic backups and media distribution.

So now you must be thinking, how much can this machine cost? Well considering the Mac Mini weighs in at a hefty $699 USD and incorporates much of the same technology that the Shuttle machine does one would think they would be similarly priced.  WRONG! The Pine Trail version runs at $199.99 and the ION version for $299 making this one of THE MOST ATTRACTIVE HTPC options on the market… PERIOD!


About Joe D

I have always had a passion for everything computing. In early 2000, I decided to take my passion to the web. Thus, C.O.D. was born. Through the years we have made many great friends at C.O.D. and hope to continue our journey for years to come.

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I have always had an HTPC as my home theater's centerpiece. The flexibility that an HTPC brings simply can't be matched by the likes of WD TV Live, Apple TV, or any Roku. I have the ability to spin a disc, play my enormous library of music and movies, and watch live TV. The only thing that had been holding my HTPC back from being adopted as the primary solution by my fiance was a keyboard and mouse. In order to rid my self of our cable box, I had to find a solution that anyone could use, including my technophobic fiancé.


  1. Shuttle now sells the X350-ION with Linux for $399 on its web site.

  2. The macminiserver comes with open source like Apache/PHP, Postfix MTA/MDA, Dovecot IMAP, Samba, Netfilter, SpamAssasin and ClamAV installed for a robust server. Default 4GB and 1TB harddisk(2x500GB) are included now. Upgrading to 8GB is not very expensive. The core2duo supports virtualisation. With Virtualbox installed it shows near native performance of windows guests.

    This won't be possible with the Atom CPU.

    Don't forget there is Firewire800 in it for the important fast backup-and-restore. The SD card-slot(max 32GB SDHC) gives an additional convenient backup-restore option.

    Bluetooth and Wlan are also interesting features for wireless kb/mouse, rc or wireless rfid application.

    Adding the applecare might give many users a bit more security.

    I would not compare this Apple off-spring with the Intel Atom CPU based system for the above reasons.

    Greetings from an Open Source Software integrator.

  3. "Another perk of the Shuttle system is that you are free to choose your OS."

    Except for the ability to choose Mac OSX – which the Mini provides. You may not care about Mac OSX – and that's fine – but to credit this system for providing the "freedom to choose our OS" when it actually offers less choice is pretty darn ironic/hilarious.

    Also the CPU and GPU in the Mini are far more capable than in the unit you are profiling, and HDMI isn't optional – if you add all that up the price difference is substantially less. And the fan in the mini is neigh impossible to hear – it runs at a very low RPM and vents through the back through a wide grill – indeed it's hard to tell that it's moving air at all.

    I get it that you aren't an Apple fan and have no interest in running Mac OSX – but even if you used it only for Windows the Mini (especially the newest model) is a pretty sweet piece of kit, and a far more viable platform than an atom based machine – unless you are just using it as an extender. And if you are going to do that a sub $200 Xbox 360 is a far more sane choice than an underpowered single purpose Atom desktop.

    "Apple is the only one that makes Mac stuff so they can inflate it however they see fit."

    Except as fum pointed out, your price comparison delta is grossly exaggerated. Time and time again the "Apple tax" argument gets shot down in flames upon closer scrutiny to the comparisons being performed – to only resurface like a zombie out of a b grade sci-fi flick.

    It's not so much that Apple overcharges, it's more that they don't sell cheap, compromise solutions. And that's fine – for many people (heck, even me in some instances) cheap solutions that have compromises are perfectly appropriate and have value. It doesn't mean Apple is overpriced, just that they don't offer solutions for everyone.

    • I have an XBox360 and a Playstation 3 and as stated, they do act as a media extender, however… they do a very very bad job of it.

      I am not anti Apple and I understand the reasons why they implement the strict policies they have, but I prefer the freedom of choice. I, personally, don't want someone telling me what is best for me. That is the only thing that holds me back from buying an apple product (outside of my now retired iPhone). Thankfully Stevie boy is relaxing some of his policies slowly as illustrated by the mildly relaxed policies for apps on the app store for iPhone/iPod and iPad. Let's see where that goes…

      In my opinion, an HTPC doesn't need a Core 2 Duo to stream movies, play music, and surf the web; an Atom processor is just fine. If I can save 400.00 and get what I need, that is the route I am suggesting as my pockets are filled with more lint than money.

      Newegg has the XS35:

      Shuttle XS35GT-804 Intel Atom D510 (1.66GHz, dual-core) Intel NM10 Next-generation NVIDIA ION graphics 1 x HDMI Barebone

      Average Rating

      5 out of 5 eggs 5/5(3 reviews)

      Includes ION II, 500GB HDD, 2GB RAM, DVD RW, No OS


      Unfortunately, it is barebone (NO OS). That means if I were to buy an OS it would be around $550 total for the pc and Windows 7 home Pro making it around $150 less than a Mac Mini running Mac OS.

      As the smoke clears, the price will drop.

  4. Does the price quoted on the Shuttle include an operating system? (as the price quoted on the Mac Mini does). If you're adding the cost of Win7, the price difference is not as great as it's made out to be…

    • I would assume so as it is not advertised as a barebone system… even if it didn't, purchasing an OS for this and the hardware still make it less than half the price of the mac mini.

      • I don't know about about the half price, because i all I could find was the base model listed at $399 on the shuttle website, which was with half the RAM and half the HD space of the base mac mini and also without the ION option, which I assume is the HDMI option, which would be another $100 on top of that? And without looking at CPU performance comparisons too closely, the mac is running the core 2 duo at 2.4ghz, whereas the shuttle is 1.66ghz atom. I'm guessing the core 2 duo would be better than the atom? So $499 vs $699 for a better specced machine.

        • Considering that there is only a "pre-order" option for the x350 and doesn't detail what is exactly included. I would hold off on the price guessing.

          • lol, but isn't the whole point of the article about how the Shuttle is like the Mini but is less than half the price??? The closing paragraph of the article is ALL about the price really.

            • The information about pricing was pre-product release and given by a Shuttle Representative at Computex. I don't control the pricing… nor do I control the time lines for manufacturers to release products. However, the article was written at a time when the price was quoted at 199 (without ION) and 299 (with ION). Let's hold off on the pricing discussions until the actual product is released and online retailers are able to sell it. Then we might see the prices quoted by the Shuttle Rep at computex.

  5. Wait, is someone actually trying to slam windows?? I guess they like paying double the price for all their hardware. Good luck with that, buddy!

    • Windows has nothing to do with Hardware costs, its the open platform in which you can install it and competition between hardware manufacturers that gives users the best deals. Apple is the only one that makes Mac stuff so they can inflate it however they see fit.

  6. Yeah, It might cost less, but it is still a far inferior product on which you must run Windows. It's also ugly. Other than that, Kudos!

    • What is wrong with running Windows? As far as an HTPC is concerned, the flexibility of running windows is a huge advantage. Everyone has their personal preference about which operating system is superior, however, in the HTPC area, you gain far more by using windows. This total solution (with bluetooth keyboard and mouse) will be less than half the cost of the Mac Mini.

  7. I knew it! I knew you wouldn't defect!!

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