Shuttle SH67H3 vs Shuttle XPC SV24
When Shuttle's diminutive XPC SV24 launched ten years ago, it challenged expectations of what a PC had to look like. As the 2000s passed, however, the bread bin XPCs had to accommodate more powerful components that ran hotter and required more cooling. As a result, they got bigger and some of their charm was lost.
How's this for 'plus ca change', though?
A decade after it first appeared, the latest XPC SH67H3 is almost exactly the same size as the original SV24. Yet thanks to the efficiency of modern processors, system builder Ambrose has managed to fit a top of the range Intel quad core that's fully unlocked for overclocking in, and it never gets warm to the touch. It's a supercomputer in a shoebox. A mean feat indeed.
USB 3.0 connectivity
And while the size is back to what it was at the start, Shuttle has learned a lot about design. The brushed aluminium case fits together almost seamlessly, and controls for power and volume are tucked away discretely beneath a low rim along the front. There's the odd splash of colour that could look garish, but since this is to signify front-facing USB 3.0 ports, it's easy to forgive.
Graphics performance - GeForce GTX550 Ti
It is pricey, though. For nearly £1000, it's a shame Ambrose couldn't have included a Blu-ray drive or a slightly more powerful graphics card. Thanks to the CPU, this is capable of professional HD video editing, but the GeForce GTX550 Ti holds the system back slightly in games. It'll run most things in 1080p resolution, but you may need to dial back some of the more complex image quality settings.
And while the cooling is certainly competent, it's far from silent. Even while the CPU is idling fans can be heard buzzing away on the desktop, and if you fire up a game it gets close to being uncomfortably distracting. In all honesty, though, the machine Ambrose submitted for review is too powerful for what it is. If it we were buying, we'd use the online store's configuration tool to choose a cheaper but just as practical CPU, and maybe improve the graphics too.
Because then, we may not have made it to the post-PC world Mr Jobs told us about, but we'd certainly never need to fire up a desktop tower again.