Reader How Tos: Build a PC for TV

All Software Included, Continued


First, I must say that if you want a multimedia box in your living room, this is a good solution. For the 'low' price of $1199, you can get an incredible range of functions and features that you can control from your couch. It is a silent, high performance multimedia platform. On the other hand, you must build it yourself, which, in my case, was a complete pain. However, if you are careful and read the documentation, you should be all right. Be sure to test your components. Many vendors custom-build these systems to your specifications if you have the extra money.

It took me about three to four hours to physically build the system, but it took me many hours to install Windows and all applications and to shake out all the 'bugs' in the system. I think ATI should examine their driver/ application installers. It really should be easier to install this kind of video card, and the updates from the website should not require the uninstalling of previous apps and drivers.

At $1199, it is not exactly a bargain-basement system, but even if you trim away all the 'extras,' you can still have a high performance system for $850 with a 2.4 GHz P4 and 256 MB CAS 2.0 DDR333 memory, and retain most of the features. Look through the PriceGrabber further, cut the CPU speed and hard disk requirements, and you'll end up under $800. Good luck, and happy building!