Slowly but surely, the PC is making its way out of the office or study into that focal point of domestic life – the living room. Intel’s launch of Viiv in January marked another milestone in this inexorable progression. But for anyone who prefers to build their own custom system, Viiv won’t fit the bill, as it will only be available in fully integrated systems. For a bit more flexibility, you’ll want to construct your lounge PC yourself.
The downside of the do-it-yourself approach is that you won’t know for sure if your choice of components will actually work well together. So Quiet PC’s D.Vine Quiet Media Center hopes to offer the best of both worlds. On the one hand, you get everything you need in one box to put together a kick-ass Windows XP MCE system. The combination is tried and tested, so you can be confident it will work together. On the other, you build the system yourself, so you can add any custom touches you fancy along the way. In the near future, Quiet PC will be offering the components separately, so you can mix and match as required.
Quiet PC supplies a highly comprehensive guide to building the hardware and installing all the software. It leads you step by step, and even includes cable tidying tips, BIOS settings, important patches, and even suggestions for a CD quietening utility. So even if you’ve never built your own PC before, a moderate knowledge and a screwdriver will be all you’ll need to put this system together – plus a couple of free hours.
The D.Vine chassis comes in a funky black or classy silver. You can also get the MCE302 variant of the chassis for the same price, if that really floats your boat.
Ahanix MCE301 black or silver chassis (Ahanix MCE302 also available for same price)
Aopen i915GMm-HFS motherboard
1.7GHz Intel Pentium M 735 processor
1GB Corsair Value Select PC2-4200 DDR2 SDRAM
Intel integrated GMA900 graphics
Intel integrated HD 7.1 audio
250GB Samsung Spinpoint P120S hard disk
NEC ND-3550A DVD-RW
2 x Black Gold low-profile Freeview digital TV tuners
400W QTechnology power supply
SoundGraph iMON VFD
Windows XP MCE 2005 (including IR receiver and remote)
Accessories – TV aerial splitter, cable ties, extra screws
If you wanted to tweak the combination, there are perhaps a couple of upgrades we'd recommend. First, you could add in an ATI X1300 series graphics card or an Nvidia card such as the 7300, both of which should be available in low profile. A second Samsung Spinpoint also wouldn't go amiss, doubling up the storage, if you happen to have a particularly large media collection.