Best budget all-in-one PCs (20 inches or smaller)

If you’re willing to accept a display of 20 inches or smaller, you can pick up a good all-in-one for a little over $500

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Shuttle X50 (AIO)
X50 (AIO) Review, by David Murphy, PC World May 5, 2009


CPU: Intel Atom 330; CPU speed: 1.6GHz; Graphics adapter: Intel 945 Express Chip Set; Monitor: No; Hard drive size: 160GB; WorldBench rating: Poor

Slick design

Poor power button placement

Bottom Line: Despite its upgradable RAM, it's hard to recommend the X50 when cheaper rivals offer larger screens and built-in DVD drives.

Review updated 7/21/09: Shuttle's X50 all-in-one PC has a 15.6-inch, 1366-by-768-resolution LCD touchscreen, the same size as the display of its direct rival, the Asus Eee Top ET1602. The specs of the two systems are almost identical, too. But whereas the Eee Top ET1602 (as well as Asus's Eee Box mini desktop) uses the older single-core 1.6GHz N270 Atom CPU, the Shuttle X50 carries Intel's newer dual-core 1.6GHz Atom 330 processor.

A single, 1GB stick of DDR2 memory is all the RAM you get, though we give the X50 points for supporting an upgrade to a maximum of 2GB (its only upgrade option). The system also holds the expected 160GB hard disk, in this case a Western Digital Scorpio hard drive running at 5400 rpm.

Even with its faster CPU, the X50 performed identically to the Eee Top ET1602 in our everyday-applications benchmark, WorldBench 6, with both machines earning a score of 41. That's comparable with other cheaper all-in-ones and netbooks, but nearly half the speed of similarly priced value desktop PCs. The X50's price tag is strangely high at $550, and even the Linux version will cost you $500. These days, $529 can get you a system like the MSI Wind Top AE1900 (01SUS), which has a larger 18.5-inch single-touch display and a DVD±RW drive.

The X50 doesn't come with any customized programs or fancy interface tweaks for its touchscreen capabilities to take advantage of. That's not necessarily a criticism, though, because the software bundled with rival all-in-ones can often seem bloated.

The system's integrated graphics couldn't run a single one of our gaming benchmarks at a playable frame rate, but that's to be expected on a roughly $500 all-in-one.

Shuttle is selling the portability of this system as its main draw, especially since the X50 is equipped with a stand that doubles as a carrying handle for easy transport (the handle also detaches to reveal standard VESA mounts). We only wish that Shuttle had put as much thought into the rest of the PC's design. The connectivity is average, consisting of a total of six USB ports, one gigabit ethernet port, one DVI connection, and a four-in-one media card reader.

The front of the PC is attractive; a bright, blue bar of light shoots out of the X50's bottom. Propping up the system in the rear is a single bar that you can adjust to modify the angle of the display. The included stylus is hidden near the system's power button, at the upper left. I found myself bumping the power button numerous times when reaching for the stylus.

Our X50 configuration didn't come with a mouse or a keyboard. Have no fear, though: Shuttle promises to offer an optional mouse and keyboard addition on its Web site, should you order the PC from there.

We've spoiled the ending by now, but here goes: Shuttle's X50 is a netbook concealed within a 15.6-inch desktop monitor. It faces stiff competition from the Eee Top ET1602, and even stiffer competition from new all-in-ones that cost less, have a bigger screen, and pack in extras the X50 lacks, such as a DVD drive.

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