Build Your Own Media PC Review

Anyone who read the recent budget HDTV roundup might be after a little more information on what we used for our testing.

While Riyad was vigorously testing these displays with his Xbox 360 and a copy of Dead or Alive 4, I could be found bent over my lab desk with a screw driver in hand, doing things the hard way.

This rather tasty looking PC is virtually silent, powerful, has HDMI output and is coupled with a copy of Windows XP Media Center Edition, making this the perfect HDTV partner.

The PC consists of a Silverstone SG01 chassis, CoolerMaster 600W iGreen power supply, T2600 Core Duo processor, Samsung WriteMaster SH-W163 DVD burner, Asus N4L-VM motherboard, Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 DDR2 memory and a Sapphire X1600 PRO HDMI.

We’ve previously looked at the CoolerMaster power supply and found it to be very quiet, while giving out very little heat – perfect for this project. We’ve also looked at the memory and DVD burner before, but my reasons for using those aren’t quite as well thought out, just that they happened to be within arms reach at the time.

What we haven’t looked at is the chassis, graphics card and motherboard. So the emphasis of this article is on these and their application in a Media PC.

First and most importantly, is the chassis. Riyad isn’t a big fan of SilverStone chassis, but I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for them. This case is no different, I think it looks great. Its rounded panel and brushed aluminium finish is complemented well by the blue LEDs that glow around the power and reset switch, as well as around the two 5.25in bays.

At the front there are four USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, headphone out and microphone in. The power and reset buttons are also made from aluminium and have a positive feel about them. That and the aluminium feet give it the feel of an expensive piece of hi-fi equipment.

From the back, you see four expansion slots and support for a full-sized ATX power supply. You’ll also notice there is a considerable number of grills. Two 80mm fans are included. One is at the back of the case at 45 degrees to the motherboard, drawing air away from the expansion slots. This could be really useful if you are running high end hardware. The second is at the front side of the case, drawing cool air in and pushing it straight over the hard drives. Both of these are positioned right next to grills for optimum airflow.

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