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HP z556: Why Build When You Can Buy?

Last response: in Tom's Guide
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July 18, 2006 3:48:24 PM

Many "Media Center" PCs are little more than slightly beefier desktops with Windows MCE installed. But Mike Baggaley found that HP's z556 is a viable alternative to building your own HTPC.

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July 18, 2006 11:40:46 PM

Are all the PCI cards on the one riser? ie 3 cards on one pci slot?(as the pic shows)



Could that cause skipping?
July 19, 2006 12:48:51 PM

Who can remember the Gateway 901x??? Similar pre-built system, wanted to get one, then found out it was discontinued. :( 

I wonder how long HP will carry this one.

I also wonder if the Sony Digital Living System is any good?
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July 19, 2006 2:24:28 PM

Quote:
Who can remember the Gateway 901x??? Similar pre-built system, wanted to get one, then found out it was discontinued. :( 

I wonder how long HP will carry this one.

I also wonder if the Sony Digital Living System is any good?

Looks like the z556 may already be gone. HP's site shows only the slightly beefier z558, which they couldn't provide for review.

Still plenty of z556's available online, though, at least for now.
July 19, 2006 3:39:00 PM

Quote:
Are all the PCI cards on the one riser? ie 3 cards on one pci slot? Could that cause skipping?


Hey Nukemaster,
Yes, the three cards PCI cards are in one riser card. As far as I understand it, the bandwidth in the PCI bus remains a constant regardless of where the cards are plugged. As long as the three cards in the riser don't exceed the available bandwidth you shouldn't see slowdown; even if they're all technically plugged into the same slot. I didn't notice any obvious or unexpected slowdown with the performance of the cards though (even when using all three at once)

Hope that helps!

Quote:
I wonder how long HP will carry this one. I also wonder if the Sony Digital Living System is any good


I hope HP keeps their Digital Entertainment Center product line. The Z556 is a perfect system to recommend to my non computer savvy friends who want a decent HTPC but can't build one of their own. Heck, it's really well built and it's cheap enough to tempt even a die hard builder like myself!

Quote:
Looks like the z556 may already be gone. HP's site shows only the slightly beefier z558


That's too bad. The Z556 is a bargain! Well, as long as they are still available get 'em while they're hot I guess. 8) The Z558 boasts a faster CPU and doubles the storage space in an HP personal media drive
September 19, 2010 3:24:28 PM

This topic has been closed by Reynod
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