Legendary Small Form Factor integrator Shuttle breaks onto the Home Theater PC scene with the m1000. Sporting a horizontal slim-line form factor, it's sleek, solid, and unique, but how does it stack up to the competition?
As many of you might know by now, HardOCP doesn’t "review" systems, we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on how fast it ran a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
Shuttle, Inc., is the Taiwanese parent company of U.S.-based Shuttle Computer Group, Inc. Shuttle started out with small form factor PCs and has steadily expanded to include Home Theater PCs (HTPC). The field of Media Center PCs (MCPC) is still relatively new and now complicated by the increasing prevalence of HDTV, but Shuttle’s unique approach to this arena relies on their experience in producing unobtrusive SFF PC solutions. We’ve seen SFF systems before in our Puget Systems Custom Gaming SFF and Polywell Mini-Box2. However, this system adopts a new slim-line media center form factor that blends Shuttle’s expert knowledge of cozy computing with power-mindful hardware. Is that expertise a vital advantage in the MPC market? We’ll see.
Given the ever increasing feature set of DVD players and video game consoles, a Home Theater PC has a lot of competition. Consumers are getting used to multi-function devices, and, at the very least, a good HTPC must be able to function as a player and recorder, be able to handle different formats of movies, pictures, and music, and even throw some gaming ability into the mix. On top of all that, we are always on the lookout for stability, ease of use, and speed. Given the increased cost over consumer electronics that perform similar functions, and having to compete against other HTPCs such as the Maingear Prysma and the Voodoo ARIA, the Shuttle m1000 needs to impress in a big way to justify its price tag.