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Pros: While there are better looking HTPC boxes and ones with more functions or perhaps better layouts, its hard to beat the pure bang for the buck here. I bought this for an sub $500 HTPC build last year and it has worked out great. The stock PSU is not top end, but it has worked perfectly, and is fairly quiet. We quickly got used to the faint whisper that it puts out and I don't even notice it anymore. Its pretty decent looking, even though it doesn't blend with other stereo components, and I thought that it was very easy to work with the MicroATX board I put into it. It was the easiest build I've ever done, and I've been building my own computers for 20 years now. It has also been easy to add/change components since then.
Cons: The unusual layout of the box does end up making it rather long. It fits in our entertainment center, but just barely. Anything stuck into the front USB ports stick out a bit and make me worry that someone will brush by and snap them off, but it hasn't happened yet. This is a minor problem, and I knew from the dimensions in the specs that this would probably be the case, so not enough to subtract a star here. Also, as is the case with many blue LEDs, the power LED is crazy bright. I had to put duck tape over it, as it will blind you when watching the TV. Also not a huge deal, tho.
Other Thoughts: I suppose its a little strange that you have to take off the plastic front cover in order to work on it sometimes, but it comes off and back on easy enough. I'm not stressing out the PSU much either, not OCing, only a dual-core CPU and using the on-board video, so other people's mileage may vary with it.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: It can use more then 2 gigs of memory because its 64-bit. Comes with Media Center built in and functions pretty well with the remote that I bought, as this OS is being used for a HTPC I've built.
Cons: Many. Its crashed a bunch of times already, about once a day. Does not work well with the AverMedia TV Tuner I bought for it. Cannot even really view live TV much less record shows. Had to plug the antenna back into the plasma just to watch TV again. Doesn't want to play well with some legacy apps. Seems to have a huge number of updates to install everytime its shut down. Did not find much of my hardware when installing (video card, sound, ethernet adapter), and occasionally cannot find it again when it comes back from sleep mode. This always requires a reboot, where I have to sit and wait for more patches to download (which of course, never fix the problems). Can only install on one machine. Is microsoft so poor that now you have to buy their OS for every computer in your home? Not to mention, if I decide to get a faster processor or motherboard, I will now have to call and beg them to let me use this copy again. If not, it will be just a $110 coaster.
Other Thoughts: The absolute most frustrating part of all of this is the upgrade coupon. After the above problems I decided to just go straight to Windows 7 to see if its any better, but after filling out their crazy online form (really, you need my phone number?), I learn that the front page of the site was lying, and that the 'general availability date' is not October 25th like it says there, but is actually December 4th (and even that is 'estimated') So even though I can buy it now from Newegg, I have to wait until at least December ?? to see if Windows 7 is any better this this !@#$. Wow. Suck it Microsoft. Suck it.READ FULL REVIEW