Shuttle and Asus Offering Cedar Trail-Based Nettops
When Intel first announced their Atom line of low power processors way back in 2008, I had visions of tiny, quiet HTPCs sipping power in my home theater stack. Unfortunately, the promise never lived up to expectations and it has been awhile since I seriously considered an Atom processor for my own HTPC, but that hasn't stopped me from hoping that Intel would finally strike the right performance/power balance. The Cedar Trail Atoms that Intel released late last year might just fit the bill, and recent offerings from Shuttle and ASUS are certainly intriguing.
ASUS is pushing the EeeBox EB1030, and from the sounds of things, this little nettop should fulfill the power-sipping part of my dreams with a 1.86 GHz D2550. There is also a slightly more powerful EB1031 sporting the 2.13 GHz D2700, but the EB1033 might be the most interesting option for HTPC aficionados with the addition of an NVIDIA GeForce GT 610M GPU.
We've seen a fair share of space-saving nettops pass through our very own crowded halls, so what's one more to add to the list? Especially when it's one being flaunted as the most eco-friendly, energy-efficient PC. That's exactly what ASUS thinks of its EeeBox EB1030, which aside from sporting a relatively minimalist design (as is usually the case with nettops), it's also boasting Intel's latest batch of Cedar Trail CPUs.
Shuttle is also utilizing Cedar Trail to build on its small form factor roots with the XS35V3 and XS35GTA V3 barebones nettops. Both systems opt for the higher-end D2700, but the GTA version adds on a Radeon HD 7410M GPU. While the ASUS systems offer a variety of configurations for storage options, by going the barebones route, Shuttle is offering the ultimate in customizability, not to mention the option of an optical disc drive for those who still like their media on disc.
The XS35V3 and XS35GTA V3 have moved on to more contemporary Cedar Trail-era, 2.13GHz Atom D2700 processors that keep the power draw to a fanless 27W, even when everything is churning at full bore. That limit might get tested with the GTA variant, which brings in Radeon HD 7410M graphics for a lift to 3D performance, but neither mini desktop will exactly make the power company beg for mercy.