Among the more popular posts on this blog are my DIY 200 PC posts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). There are a few compromises with that route, such as it involves using a motherboard with an integrated 1.2GHz Celeron processor, which isn't exactly good for much more than file serving and basic web browsing. Shuttle's KPC, or "Korporate Perfect Cube", is meant to be the machine for bargain PC shoppers and at 99 for the barebones unit, or 199 for a complete system, Shuttle has hit the nail on the head.
The front plate graphic is user-replaceable.
Tom's Hardware posted a full review of the KPC and only really knocked on the KPC for lacking an optical drive and having limited expansion capabilities (ex: no PCIe slot if you wanted to slap in a beefy video card). On the plus side, the KPC brought out "surprisingly good performance."
Consumers who opt for the barebones model can slap in whatever DDR2-667 RAM, socket T processor, and hard drive they like. Well, almost any processor they want. Since the power supply is only 100 Watts it can't run with something like a Core 2 Extreme QX9770 quad-core processor. Regardless, I'm quite surprised that a computer this affordable comes with 5.1 channel audio and gigabit ethernet. The ability for users to put in more powerful processors makes the KPC a viable HTPC but it would be better poised for the task if there was a PCIe slot.
The ~200 pre-built system includes a 1.8GHz Celeron 430 processor, 512MB of RAM and an 80GB hard drive, all of which is sufficient for the casual PC user. As for the quality of Shuttle systems, they are great machines, something I can attest to having owned SB61G2 and SN85G4 systems years ago.
Can the Shuttle KPC fit into your life or one of your friends' lives?