It’s been a couple of years since I was heavily into PC gaming. As my life has evolved, my time to be in front of a computer playing games to the wee-hours of the morning have become limited. I’ve moved the majority of my gaming to the living room and mobile. And yet with that shift, I’ve felt like something has been missing from my life. There’s an entire world of games out there that I feel disconnected from. I’ve thought for a long time about looking at different living room solutions to bring PC gaming back to my life. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been testing out the Shuttle X1 Gaming PC, an ultra compact gaming PC that packs a lot of power in a small footprint. The big question in my mind was, what am I giving up with this smaller form factor? And the good news is not much.
GTX 1060 3GB
256GB SSD M.2
Intel WiFi B/G/N/AC + Bluetooth
Windows 10 Home
If you’re looking at the Shuttle X1 Gaming PC you're probably looking for a smaller form factor. The Shuttle X1 Gaming PC comes it at 5.6(L) x 5.6(W) x 3.4(H) inches. That’s a staggeringly small form factor. For reference, it’s a couple of standard Roku boxes stacked on top of each other. The good news is you don't lose out on any major ports, because the Shuttle X1 is packed with a multitiude of them. They include:
- 7 USB Ports (1×SB 3.0 Type-C, 4×USB 3.0 Type-A & 2×USB 1.0 Type-A)
- 1×3.5mm audio jack
- 1×SD card reader
- 1 GbE port
The Shuttle X1 is designed to be the device you use for a multitude of functions including gaming and VR. I used the Shuttle X1 Gaming PC as both a conventional gaming PC and one hooked up in my living room. The Shuttle X1 has a very unassuming, simple design, that doesn’t scream “gaming PC” to anyone within spitting distance. It’s also a convenient design for both functions. With two USB ports on the front and an SD card reader, I found that the Shuttle X1 is set up to be used in a variety of setups.
From a pure design standpoint, the Shuttle X1 is just what I look for in a product that I will use every day. It’s almost all black with some slight accents of red, grey and white on the top. There aren’t any gaudy lights or crazy flashing fans. Just a simple LED on the front that lets you know when the PC is in use or on standby. This design suits the computer well whether it's in front of your TV or on your desk.
Because I tend to sway more to console games; my couple of weeks with the Shuttle X1 was not only a foray back into PC gaming but into PC’s in general. Initial setup for the Shuttle X1 is incredibly simple. There are three HDMI ports, but if you want 4K output, make sure to use one of the bottom two HDMI ports, as the top one is for the integrated video, while the bottom two are for the GTX 1060. I made the mistake and it took me thirty minutes to realize why the output wasn’t going to 4K.
Once I was hooked up, the rest of the PC setup process was a standard fare. I had everything up and running within minutes. To do testing on this gaming PC I threw at it some of the most graphically intensive games on the market today. These games include Battlefield 1, The Witcher 3, and Just Cause 3. And even outside of the more graphically intensive games I also tested the Shuttle X with games like Planet Coaster and Cities Skylines.
Battlefield 1, The Witcher 3, and Just Cause 3 ran at either the highest graphical settings or the second to highest, producing beautiful 4K graphics. I’ve been gaming primarily on a Playstation 4 Pro and have played all three of these games on the PS4 Pro and it’s no contest, the Shuttle X1 blows it away. The picture that the Shuttle X1 can display is crisper and more vibrant. Battlefield 1 which is already a gorgeous game on consoles is draw dropping coming out of the Shuttle X1. I hooked the PC up to my living room sound system and was blown away by the immersion of the graphics and sound. The explosions display more detail, the environments have less muddy textures, and the entire thing ran smooth. I played through four or five hours of Battlefield 1 the first night I had the Shuttle X1 and although the fans were spinning it was incredibly quiet and never got anywhere near the levels of sound coming out of my PS4 Pro.
Although I’ve never been the biggest fans of either The Witcher 3 or Just Cause 3 there’s no denying how beautiful both of those games are and thus made great tests for the Shuttle X1. What I really wanted to see with both of these open world games is how the PC would handle the frame rate when things go crazy in Just Cause 3 and also see how the draw distance was in The Witcher 3. Both were spectacular. I’m still in awe every time I boot up both games how well the Shuttle X1 can handle both. In both cases, the Shuttle X1 handled the wide open worlds in brilliant fashion.
For the multitude of other games I tested during my near month with the Shuttle X1 all handled beautifully. Although I primarily used this as a home entertainment PC, there are definitely games that just don’t scale well to my 65” 4K Samsung TV. That’s not the Shuttle X1’s issue, but just a realization I came across as someone who hasn’t experimented much with using a PC as a living room device. I also used the Shuttle X1 as my primary streaming device which it handled beautifully. I streamed 4K content from Vudu, Netflix and Amazon and all worked without a hitch.
The Shuttle X1 starts at a little over $1400 and can go all the way as high as $1700. For that price range, you’re looking at the very high end of standalone gaming PCs. Needless to say, the Shuttle X1 at its base model is pricey given the i5 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB. There are going to be other manufacturers that are able to beat these specs and for less money. However, what Shuttle has managed to do is put a ton of power in an elegant package that works in a variety of circumstances. Want to have a gaming PC that’s easily portable? No problem it’s very compact and easy to travel with. Want to put the Shuttle X1 it in the living room? Also not a problem, it looks unassuming enough for most to just assume it’s another console. Or want to use it as your primary office/gaming PC? It can do that as well with plenty of power and ports to make it a very versatile machine to play games, enjoy VR, and get stuff done. And that’s really where I landed with the Shuttle X1. It’s not the gaming PC for everyone, but if you fit in 2 or all 3 of those scenarios like I do then the Shuttle X1 is an amazing option.
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.