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Shuttle XS29f: Linux Looks Great in Green - page 2

Shuttle Unveils a Power-Sipping Winner

  • June 25, 2009
  • By Paul Ferrill

You might be disappointed if you try to use an IDE DVD drive. We found the connector to be a problem as you have to twist a standard IDE ribbon cable to get the pins to line up correctly. The first cable we tried was too inflexible to make the twist. We were able to find another in the scrap box that worked. You could use one of the round IDE cables, and that should make it easier, but we didn't have one on hand to try out.

Drivers might be an issue depending on what distribution you try. We were able to boot Ubuntu 9.04 from a USB key and run with no issues. We even took another Sata disk from a Dell laptop w/ Ubuntu 9.04 loaded, and it ran without a problem. Try that with a Windows OS and see what happens. (I'll give you a hint � the system will probably go into an infinite reboot loop.)

You must open a door on the front panel for access to audio and USB ports. This might not be a big deal for some but could be a minor nuisance if you frequently use a USB key or headphones. The same goes for the DVD drive as it hides behind a similar push-button door. Availability is probably the biggest downer as this unit is currently only available in Europe and Asia.

About the only other thing bad we can say about this box concerns the back panel. The panel itself is made out of thin metal and not very sturdy. Some of the connectors like for the VGA give a little when you plug in the cable. There are also a few other cutouts that you could stick something such as an Ethernet cable into and get it stuck if you're not careful. Other than that the box is pretty solid.

Bottom Line

The Shuttle XS96f is a great little box for the DIY user looking for a small form factor with an eye toward saving on the power bill. We had our box up and running the latest Ubuntu release in under 30 minutes, so you shouldn't shy away thinking the "some assembly required" part too tough. Now if we could only convince the Shuttle folks to make this baby available in the US.

Shuttle has a long history of delivering space-saving systems for the home brew crowd. This addition to their product line is sure to be a hit.

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