At the end of 2017, I reviewed the very compact Shuttle X1 Gaming PC. It was a perfect hybrid gaming PC that had a form factor that worked for both the living room and an office while still packing a punch. I loved the X1 and I'll be honest, I was sad to ship it back to Shuttle after our review was done. Over the last month, my spirits were back up as I've had the opportunity to check out Shuttle's newest gaming PC, a slightly larger, more powerful the Shuttle SZ270R9. Should it be your next gaming PC? Let's dive in and find out.
- Intel Core i7-7700K Processor 8M Cache, 4.2ghz
- 32GB of DDR4 Memory
- 250GB 2.5" SSD Drive
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
- Windows 10 Home
Shuttle is known for its compact design. The X1 I reviewed a couple of months back came in a couple inches smaller in all dimensions. It was almost like a cube, whereas the Shuttle SZ270R9 is about 1.5x the size of the X1. In terms of putting something like the Shuttle SZ270R9 in your living room, that's probably a long shot. The SZ270R9 comes in at 332(L) x 216(W) x 198(H) mm and feels hefty.
The SZ270R9 has a very familiar Shuttle design of their previous products. The front bezel has a beautiful armored black and gray design with multiple colored LEDs that you have full RGB control of through software. My wife asked me to turn the front LEDs off after a week or so (it didn't go with her office decor), but I tended to turn it on every chance I got. There are two USB 3 ports, a line out jack, a power button and a turbo button on the front. More on the turbo button later.
The back panel of the SZ270R9 is stacked with inputs. I mean, if you need ports, I'd find it hard to believe that you'll find this gaming PC lacking at all. Here are all of the backports:
- (4) USB 2.0 Port
- (4) USB 3.0 Port
- (1) Line in jack
- (1) Line out jack
- (1) Audio MIC in
- (1) HDMI
- (2) DisplayPort
- (2) LAN
- (1) CMOS clear button
- (3) Antenna hole
The fact that you have that much expandability options on a PC of the size of the SZ270R9 is really impressive. I'm a minimalist type of guy so I didn't have a ton of uses for 10 total USB ports, but I'm sure there's someone out there who was hoping for an even dozen. The ports make sense though for those who do end up using it as a VR machine (which it's easily capable of).
All in all, I really appreciated the design of the SZ270R9. One minor nit to pick (and this is really minor) is the very short power cord. I believe it's around six feet and I have it setup on a desk plugging into a surge protector on the ground and the cord barely makes it. If I wanted to put this on a standing desk, I'd have to go out and purchase a longer cord. Seems like an easy thing to include with a high-end gaming PC.
It would be hard to argue that the Shuttle SZ270R9 is anything but a top of the line gaming PC. To test it out, I played some of the most graphically intense games on the market. After setting up the PC and hooking it up to a 4K HDR monitor, it was time to test the computer out. One of the first things I tested was the included XPC Overlock Software, which has a nice interface to tweak and overclock the PC. It's been a decade since I've spent much time overclocking, so I hit the turbo button instead and let the PC handle the rest. You do have plenty of control and can easily tweak different settings within the software, allowing you to get peak performance out of your PC. I will say that on two occasions the computer did a reboot on its own while tweaking with the XPC software, so be careful.
I started out my testing with The Witcher 3, a game that I've now used twice to test out gaming PCs and have subsequently put in five more hours into the vast open world. It's a gorgeous game but witnessing it running in a smooth 4K is something you have to see to be believe it. Even more so than when I reviewed the X1, it might be one of the prettiest games I've ever seen and it runs buttery smooth on the Shuttle SZ270R9.
The next game I threw at PC was Forza Motorsport 7. Racing games tend to be at the forefront of the graphical curve and Forza 7 is absolutely part of that. Running Forza 7 at 4K is far and away the most beautiful video game I've experienced to date. From the opening cutscene to my first race, there's no denying that seeing this game running in 4K in 60FPS is the pinnacle of graphics right now. The Shuttle SZ270R9 handled it all with ease, never once hitting any snags or hiccups. Insanely impressive. I spent some time with Battlefield 1 and seeing this game run on the highest graphical settings was unbelievable. When I threw some good headphones on, the experience was electric. It didn't matter how big the moment got, the Shuttle SZ270R9 handled it all like a champ and kept a beautifully consistent frame rate.
One of the odd missing features in the Shuttle SZ270R9 is the lack of built-in WiFi. There are two built-in Ethernet jacks but there isn't WiFi. I asked Shuttle about it and they referenced that most gamers want to have a stable internet connection through LAN. That makes sense for those playing a lot of MOBAs or Player's Unknown Battlegrounds but as someone who doesn't play many games online, the only downside to being over WiFi for me is slower download speeds. A trade-off I wouldn't have minded but unfortunately it wasn't an option with the Shuttle SZ270R9. Instead, I had a nice long ethernet cord running to it.
I wasn't able to test with the HTC Vive or an Oculus. Although given the PC's robust stats and a plethora of ports, there's no reason why this PC couldn't handle any modern game (VR or not) out right now. And that's really the best part about getting the Shuttle SZ270R9. There's not a game on the market that it can't handle, and I'd imagine that'll hold true for a while. And even when I threw some of the beefiest graphical games at it, it handled them beautifully. About 45 minutes to an hour into some intense gameplay, the fans would spin up and get relatively loud, but given the small form factor, it wasn't too bad.
The Shuttle SZ270R9 is a top of the line gaming PC and it doesn't hold back giving you all of the optionality one would want for a long-term investment. This is a fully-featured Gaming PC and there's nothing about it that isn't impressive. Would I have liked the option to connect via Wifi? Sure, but everything else about the Shuttle SZ270R9 blew me away. From its beautiful design, easy to use software, robust specs and the vast amount of ports, the Shuttle SZ270R9 is the real deal. If you can afford it, it will keep you gaming on the top end of graphics capabilities for years to come.
I'm the Owner & Editor in Chief of Darkstation.com. After spending seven years as the reviews editor I took over the site in 2010. The rest is history. Now I work with our amazing staff to bring you the best possible video game coverage. Oh and I really like sports games.