Shuttle has shied away from any next-generation optical disc formats, so there's no sign of any Blu-ray or HD DVD drive in the mini X 200. Instead you get a good old-fashioned Matshita UJ-845S slot-loading DVD rewriter. It's fairly slow, maxing out at 8x for DVD ROM reading or 2.4x for dual-layer (8.5GB) DVD+R writing, but it's fine for creating backups as long as you have patience.
One of our gripes with the mini X 100 was its 200GB hard drive -- which wasn't large enough for our liking. The mini X 200 comes with a more capacious 320GB drive, which should please anyone with an extensive digital file collection. The PC ships with a hybrid digital/analogue TV tuner, but this won't let you simultaneously record one channel while you watch another.
The mini X 200 has a gigabit Ethernet controller, so it can transfer data to compatible NAS devices at up to 1,000Mbps, and the unit has optional Wi-Fi so you can connect it to your home network and share an Internet connection without using cables.
There's not a great deal of software included in the package. You get a demo of Nero 6, NeroVision Express 3 and PowerDVD for movie playback, but that's about it. Our review sample used Windows XP Media Center Edition, but future versions will use Windows Vista Home Premium Edition.
The mini X 200 is a solid machine for everyday use, but it's slower than the mini X 100. It scored 2,538 in PCMark 2005, whereas the Mini X 100 scored 3,336. This we attribute to the T2050 CPU having a slower FSB than the T2300 in the mini X 100. Gaming performance is also worse than the mini X 100. It scored 298 in 3DMark 2006, which again is lower than the mini X 100's effort of 798.
Arguably the best aspect of the mini X 200's performance is its quiet operation. It's barely audible when idling and doesn't get much louder when running demanding applications.
This is one of the better Media Center PCs -- it's small enough to fit under your TV and has most of the features you'll need. Providing you're not looking for a gaming machine and aren't fussed by its limited upgradeability, it's a solid choice.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide