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Living Room Media Center PC - Any Recommendations?

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  • User profile image
    BigDataDev

    I am looking for recommendations on a high-end Media Center PC.

    Requirements:
     - much horsepower: 64-bit dual core, 2 GB RAM, 1/2 TB Disk drive
     - sleak looking for the living room
     - quiet
     - drive a 50" HDTV
     - able to host next year's Vista 64-bit Media Center


    I did some research and so far I believe the Alienware DHS 5 series is the best option.

    Here are my options in order of preference:
     1. Alienware DHS 5 Series - AMD Athlon 64 processor
     2. Dell XPS 600 - Intel Pentium D Dual Core
     3. HP m7100e - Athlon 64 X2 Dual
     4. HP m7100y - Intel Pentium D Dual Core
     5. Gateway FX400 - Intel Pentium D Dual Core

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    You're always going to have a little bit of noise... the Alienware is probably your best bet, because Alienware is a very high quality computer.  I hope you've got money though.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    DoomBringer wrote:
    You're always going to have a little bit of noise... the Alienware is probably your best bet, because Alienware is a very high quality computer.  I hope you've got money though.


    Product Price != Product Quality.

    Sony and Alienware do produce very expensive hardware, but they're both guilty of over-pricing. Often, you're just paying for the name (and tech support).

    When building PCs, the overal quality of the PC is equal to the sum of its components, since Alienware only produces the case and imports everything else (GPUs, CPUs, RAM, etc), then you cannot say that Alienware are high-quality just because they buy their components from the highest bidder.

    Want my advice? Build your own MCPC.

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    W3bbo wrote:
    DoomBringer wrote: You're always going to have a little bit of noise... the Alienware is probably your best bet, because Alienware is a very high quality computer.  I hope you've got money though.


    Product Price != Product Quality.

    Sony and Alienware do produce very expensive hardware, but they're both guilty of over-pricing. Often, you're just paying for the name (and tech support).

    When building PCs, the overal quality of the PC is equal to the sum of its components, since Alienware only produces the case and imports everything else (GPUs, CPUs, RAM, etc), then you cannot say that Alienware are high-quality just because they buy their components from the highest bidder.

    Want my advice? Build your own MCPC.

    Alienware is more than just expensive hardware... from what I understand, support is top notch.  Myself, I'd build the machine too, but I'm a geek.
    The biggest problem with me building a machine is getting a lot of the custom doo-dads, like LED screens or the like.

  • User profile image
    Cybermagell​an

    If I said iMac G5 with Front Row will I get hit? Seriously though if I was just looking for a Media Center that is what I would get the "Giant iPod".

    Sad part though is I sit in front of a computer too much to use it as a Media Center. Something TiVo'ish like with a UI would work though.

  • User profile image
    Michael Griffiths

    Cybermagellan wrote:
    If I said iMac G5 with Front Row will I get hit? Seriously though if I was just looking for a Media Center that is what I would get the "Giant iPod".

    Sad part though is I sit in front of a computer too much to use it as a Media Center. Something TiVo'ish like with a UI would work though.


    Front Row offers DVR capabilities?

    News to me.

  • User profile image
    MisterDonut

    PocketXP wrote:
    I am looking for recommendations on a high-end Media Center PC.

    Requirements:
     - much horsepower: 64-bit dual core, 2 GB RAM, 1/2 TB Disk drive
     - sleak looking for the living room
     - quiet
     - drive a 50" HDTV
     - able to host next year's Vista 64-bit Media Center


    I did some research and so far I believe the Alienware DHS 5 series is the best option.

    Here are my options in order of preference:
     1. Alienware DHS 5 Series - AMD Athlon 64 processor
     2. Dell XPS 600 - Intel Pentium D Dual Core
     3. HP m7100e - Athlon 64 X2 Dual
     4. HP m7100y - Intel Pentium D Dual Core
     5. Gateway FX400 - Intel Pentium D Dual Core



    I have an HP m1050y Media center, I"m writing this on. It's a pretty nice, reliable machine, but I will say the fan kicks in quite a bit (and is, thus, noisy. I would give HP another try, though, on a media center.

  • User profile image
    Angus

    I have been thinking of getting a Media Center PC recently, is is not too hard to build one?

    Angus Higgins

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Angus wrote:

    I have been thinking of getting a Media Center PC recently, is is not too hard to build one?

    Angus Higgins



    No, its about as "hard" as building a normal desktop.

    Only problems are:

    a) finding specialist cases, but Shuttle make a number of good Media-Center-type cases
    b) finding silent cooling solutions (i.e. do NOT put a stock GeForce 7800GTX in there without moving it to water-cooling)
    c) Finding a compatible TV tuner

    Other than that, its also cheaper too (but bear in mind you are forfeiting tech-support)

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Unless you're an OEM system builder its no longer possible to legally obtain a Media Center licence

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    AndyC wrote:
    Unless you're an OEM system builder its no longer possible to legally obtain a Media Center licence


    Or MSDN subscriber.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    blowdart wrote:


    Or MSDN subscriber.


    I think having it sit in your living room 24/7 probably counts as a "production environment" though.Tongue Out

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