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I recently bought a Shuttle X27D to use as a Home Theater PC (HTPC). The reviews of this hardware run from disappointing to average, but I’m reasonably happy with it. It’s quiet (just one small fan for the GPU, and none for CPU, case, or power supply), uses little power (I measured it at 32 W in full operation), and the analog audio jack on the motherboard has no discernable noise in the audio stream (unlike my Dell Vostro 1500 laptop).

Unfortunately, the Intel 945G graphics processor can’t reliably handle 720p @24 frames video. I tested with a downloaded copy of Sita Sings the Blues, and it dropped frames as the animated fireworks exploded during the title sequence. It was fine with most of the rest of the film. Still, it means I’m likely to stick to upscaled 480p video. Which is far better for my bandwidth usage.

Naturally, I ran into some problems setting it up.

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