The Shuttle XPC G5 3300M came to us from Ambros, Shuttle's UK distributor, as a fully-built PC, instead of the usual barebones. Basically, it's a Shuttle SG33G5M with a Core 2 Duo E6750 processor, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a TV tuner and a GeForce 8600 GTS graphics card running on Windows Vista Home Premium.
For a £940 price tag, what could we expect from this media centre PC?
The Shuttle SFF chassis is small at 200 by 185 by 310mm, so you should have no problem finding it a home next to your game consoles and home theatre hardware.
The mirrored front of the Shuttle conceals a series of flaps and covers. At the top is a stealth door that hides the multi-format DVD writer. Below it is a covered four-slot card reader and a single USB 2.0 port. In the middle, there's a VFD display that gives information from the music you're listening to or the movie that you're watching.
Finally, at the bottom of the 3300M, there are headphone and microphone jacks, two additional USB ports and a mini FireWire port.
On the back of the Shuttle there's a comprehensive array of connectors. Included are five audio mini jacks and an optical audio output. You'll also find four more USB 2.0 ports -- if you're keeping track, that's a grand total of seven. There's also one eSATA port and a Gigabit LAN controller. The graphics connectors consist of VGA and HDMI outputs for the integrated graphics, and there's an HDMI-to-DVI adapter in the box.
There's a surprise in store as Shuttle has installed an XFX 8600 GTS graphics card with dual DVI ports and an S-Video output. The second add-in card is a TV tuner with RF and S-Video inputs.
Shuttle uses a small internal power supply with a rating of 105W. It has a kettle connector on the back of the PC so you don't have to worry about a messy external power brick. The dominant feature on the back of the chassis is a perforated exhaust area for the 90mm fan that Shuttle uses for its ICE cooling system.
The cover of the chassis is formed from a single piece of aluminium sheet that is matt black in colour with perforations on each side to assist cooling.
If you undo three thumbscrews on the back of the cover, you can lift it away to reveal the innards of the PC. Undo two more screws and you can lift out the tray that holds the optical drive, card reader and hard drive, although you'll have to unplug a few cables. You'll see the ICE cooler that covers the Core 2 Duo processor. The single module of DDR2 memory is clearly visible at the front of the Shuttle motherboard, too. There's another memory slot available for expansion but 2GB is plenty for Windows Vista Home Premium.