Shuttle XPC G2 2200Shuttle's system delivers reasonable performance in a compact, tightly crammed package.
The shoe-box-size, Vista-capable Shuttle XPC G2 2200 ($999 as of November 6, 2006) is a space-saving system that goes pretty far in view of its diminutive stature-but not far enough if you want a system for casual game play. Just 7.2 inches high and 7.8 inches wide, this system houses a 2.4-GHz AMD Athlon 64 3800+ processor and 1GB of RAM, a combination that helped power this system to an above-average WorldBench 5 score of 95--fast enough to support some video and image editing.
Unfortunately, this system can't handle even casual gaming. The G2 2200 barely completed some of our graphics tests, and it failed two others. Our test system depended on an integrated VIA Chrome 9 IGP graphics chip; you can, however, add a dedicated graphics card via the system's single PCI Express x16 card slot.
The exterior of the small case offers six USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire ports, and both coaxial and optical digital audio outputs (the PC supports up to 5.1 surround sound audio). Inside, though, the system has little room for expansion: You get a single internal drive bay, and two slots for half-height cards (one each for PCI Express x16 and for PCI). The cramped quarters make working inside the case a pain, too. To install a new hard drive, you must undo three screws to remove the cover, undo two more to access the drive carrier, and then unplug a load of cables to remove the drive assembly cage so you can add the drive.
Our test system came with Shuttle's 17-inch XP17 LCD, a satisfactory monitor that produced strong colors and good shadow detail. It's portable, too, with an easy-tote handle integrated on top.
The XPC G2 2200 is an attractive system--especially for use in space-constrained environments--but even casual gamers would do well to consider springing for a dedicated graphics card.