Asus P2-M3A3200 HTPC ReviewZertz - November 6, 2008
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Home Theater Personal Computers, or HTPC for short, are one of the newest device to appear in our living rooms. They can be used as a DVR, digital video recorder, or simply as an upgradeable and feature packed multimedia player. With today's huge hard drives and high speed networks, buying and downloading, or streaming movies directly from your couch is no longer a utopia. Also, with software like Windows Media Player combined with hardware video decoding and a high definition television, movie playback has never been so easy, smooth, and gorgeous. Until recently, that was pretty much limited to enthusiasts, but that is about to change. All that is now easily said and done by nearly anyone with minimal knowledge and with prices being constantly driven down, it is almost ready for the mainstream market.
Asus, one of the world's largest consumer computer hardware manufacturer, which also makes their own, custom designs, has recently started designing and bringing to market HTPC's based on both AMD and Intel platforms. The one I am looking at today is their latest offering based on an the AMD 780G chipset the P2-M3A3200. With a very reasonable price tag, good looks, and an impressive feature list, this one might just be what it takes to bring more computers into our living rooms.
This case comes into a dull but solid box which is all that really counts. Inside the box, the case isn't protected by any kind of foam beside the bag it is wrapped in, it's just aqueezed between cardboard bended around the top and bottom parts of the case to keep it from moving. The box is pretty heavy, which is usually sign that a solid case is hiding in there, although let's not forget this one already comes with a power supply and motherboard which does add some weight to the package. Nevertheless, the case is quite small so, keeping proportions in mind and the Asus name behind it, I expect it to be a well built unit.
With the case out of packaging, the few accessories are finally revealed. Only the bare minimum is included: a power cable, manual, disk, SATA cable, molex to SATA power adapter, and a few screws. Also included is a base to lightly raise the case above ground, similar to those you can buy for consoles. Nothing too fancy and definitely not as much stuff as you would find in a normal desktop case. The small case comes with a small bundle. Which kind of makes sense, no?
Let's move on and see how Asus' HTPC looks.