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Review: Shuttle KPC K-4800

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We liked Shuttle's $230 KPC K-4500 PC mostly because it was one of the cheapest complete desktops around. This higher-end model is a different story. We should qualify "higher end," because the Shuttle KPC K-4800 still starts at $299. But at that price, it's closing in on standard Windows PC territory. While we welcome this model's DVD drive, for the same price you can get systems from eMachines with XP or Vista and significantly better hardware. That hurts the Shuttle's outlook as a budget-friendly PC for the non-Windows savvy, and also sours the deal for Linux enthusiasts or anyone looking for a cheap PC to repurpose as a home server. That makes it tough for us to recommend the K-4800 to even the most dedicated Linux enthusiast.

We'll refer you to our review of the KPC K-4500 for the ins and outs of this model's Foresight Linux operating system. This pre-built, user-friendly OS is common to both models, and remains largely unchanged in the K-4800. Instead, the biggest difference between this model and the last is its hardware. By opting for a larger case with the K-4800, Shuttle has expanded the available hardware options. The price has also gone up correspondingly, which is the chief problem.

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