Velocity Micro releases Blu-ray Media Center PC box

Richmond (WA) - Enthusiast PC maker chimed in the general Vista launch activities with one of the more interesting hardware products. The company released, according to our knowledge, the first Vista-based set-top media center PCs with an optional Blu-ray writer. Of course, these PCs don't come cheap. Be prepared to spend about $3000.

If you are not convinced that shelling out about $1000 for a basic media center PC with a DVD drive does not make sense in a time where everything circles around high-def, Velocity Micro offers another option. The firm's new "CineMagix" PCs come with a styling that resembles high-end audio/video equipment and can be ordered with a Blu-ray writer.

The addition of a Blu-ray drive makes this PC especially interesting, as high-definition drives aren't yet officially supported by Intel's and AMD's entertainment PC platforms. The base price of the CineMagix series is $1700 and includes and AMD X2 dual-core processor, 1 GB of memory, a 256 MB graphics card with HDCP chip, 250 GB hard drive storage and a DVD burner. A Lite-On 2 X Blu-ray writer adds $625, which brings the price of the systems to just over $2300. You can go hardware crazy, upgrade the processor, the memory to 4 GB, faster graphics and the storage space to 1.5 TB - and end up with a price tag of nearly $5000.

If you still have some room to play with, you can opt for a Core 2 Duo equipped system, which starts at about $2820 for the basic Blu-ray system and extends to an enthusiast PC with a quad-core CPU, an Nvidia 8800 GTS graphics card, dual TV tuners, an HDTV antenna, high-end speakers, 3 TB hard disk space and wireless connectivity for close to $7000.

We gather from the Velocity Micro configuration sheet that a sensibly equipped media center PC with gaming capability should cost around $3000.