9. Final words
The Shuttle XS 3510MA is based at the XS35GT-804 barebone and comes armed with a 500GB HDD, 2GB of RAM, DVDRW, Wifi 802.11n and Windows 7 Home Premium. The retail price for that package is around €525Euro (+VAT) making it a rather expensive solution for today's economic situation.
The mini-pc is also powered by the Intel Atom Dual D510, Intel's the latest offering for small passively cooled systems such as HTPCs. According to our benchmarks, the D510 proved to be faster than the previous Intel Atom 330 CPU but not as much as someone might expect. Of course, we do need to understand what the Intel Atom platform is all about - power for office use, and low power consumption.
The XS 3510MA has another unique feature, the Nvidia ION2 platform. So this Nvidia-powered little system should offer great gaming and video performance. Correct? Not exactly... The Nvidia ION 2 proved to be efficient with some games at resolutions of 800x600 and low details, but with others (for example Lost Planet 2) the system gave a poor performance, making it impossible to enjoy the game.
On the video playback, Nvidia's GPU helps the overall performance. The 720p files we tested using the VLC player were perfectly reproduced, while the CPU usage was also very low (~20%). On the other hand, the 1080p files were more difficult for the Shuttle XS 3510MA to handle. Playback was not always smooth and it was jerky in specific video scenes. We are still not sure whether installing any latest Nvidia drivers would made any difference, as Nvidia doesn't include such drivers on their web site.
The XS 3510MA is also equipped with a HDD and a DVDRW burner. The internal HDD spins at just 5400rpm, meaning that it offers a lower performance than we would love to see. Perhaps installing a 7400 RPM HDD in such a small case would cause thermal problems, but we think that the WD "Black Edition" HDD would be a good choice here.
The internal optical storage burner from Samsung-Toshiba worked great and without any problems. It supports all the CD and DVD formats and will burn your DVDs at decent speeds up to 8X. The drive won't support the Blu-Ray format and Shuttle is offering an optional BD drive. However, we are not so sure the that the machine can handle BD movies after all.
The design of the device is appealing to users' eye and due to its small dimensions you can even mount it at the rear side of your LCD monitor using an extra VESA stand. Although we worked with the device for many hours, the external case got a little hot but nothing to worry about.
To sum up, the Shuttle XS 3510MA is a good solution for office use and for all those who are looking for a highly portable and complete PC system for basic office use and also HD playback. All you need is a mouse/keyboard/monitor and you are ready to go! On the other hand, the system should be regarded as an entry-level gaming system. Despite its dual-core CPU, the gaming performance of this system cannot give you any acceptable frame rates.
With the current configuration, the device costs around €525 Euro (+VAT), which means an overall cost of around €625 Euro. Perhaps buying the barebone and adding a faster HDD would be a good idea, since this would increase the system's overall response. We feel that the Shuttle XS 3510MA is overpriced but after all, beauty comes with a price, don't you agree?
+ Small dimensions
+ Attractive design
+ Includes both DVDRW burner and HDD
+ Easy access to the internal
+ DVI and VGA work at the same time
+ Quiet operation
+ Windows 7 Home Premium with 2GB of RAM
+ Perfect for office use
+ Windows Vista Home Basic disc is included
+ Perfectly playback of 720p videos
+ Gaming is possible under conditions
+ Includes 802.11n adapter with software on/off switch
- High retail price
- No Bluetooth adapter
- Average HDD performance
- Nvidia ION2 cannot be used for serious gaming
- We would love to see more USB ports at the front