HP Media Center m7100 series
The HP Media Center m7100 series features systems that are well-designed, fairly priced, and boast unique features such as a LightScribe DVD burner and a hot-swappable Personal Media Drive. The series comprises Intel-based (Pavilion m7100y) and AMD-based (Pavilion m7100e) customizable models, as well as two Intel-based ready-to-ship models, the m7160n and the m7170n Photosmart PCs. We reviewed the earlier this year, which shares the same midtower case design and many of the same features as the current models. The customizable configurations provide a choice between single- and dual-core processors, from either AMD or Intel. If price is no object, we recommend the dual-core Athlon 64 X2 3800+ processor on the m7100e. If your budget doesn't allow for dual-core processing, the m7100e's AMD Athlon 64 3500+ is a good choice, as is the m7100y's Intel Pentium 4 630. Many options are offered across both AMD and Intel platforms, including memory allotments up to 2GB, 80GB to 500GB hard drives, and an entry-level ATI graphics card or midrange Nvidia card. The m7100 series uses Microsoft's Media Center OS and features a 9-in-1 memory card reader and either a single or dual TV tuner card.