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Hands on: Asus Asteio D22 Media Center

Another week, another Media Center machine. This one is the stylish, quiet, inexpensive and well-equipped Asteio D22 from Asus

The hype behind Intel Viiv has died a horrible death (Joe Public still doesn't know what it is), but we're still seeing a regular stream of Media Center PCs. The latest to hit CNET.co.uk Towers is the highly affordable (£899) Asteio D22 from Asus.

It looks as if it's been cut from the same generic mould as most Media Center machines, sporting DVD-player looks, a black and silver colour scheme (brushed metal, of course), but this one can be mounted vertically or horizontally.

Asus has missed a trick by not using a slot-loading disc drive and avoiding support for either Blu-ray or HD DVD flicks, but the Asteio D22 is well-equipped elsewhere. You get a dual hybrid TV tuner, so you can record two channels simultaneously, and the fanless (read silent) Nvidia GeForce 7600 GS graphics card has both DVI and HDMI outputs, so you can connect it to your big 1080p telly.

Inside it uses a 250GB hard drive, an Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 CPU, 1GB of RAM and a 13-in-1 memory card reader under the brushed-metal fascia at the front. You also get a super-stylish remote control and a wireless keyboard, so you can kick back and enjoy your flicks. The machine's pretty darned quiet, too -- Asus says it runs at no more than 26dB.

One final note: the Asus Web site says the Asteio D22 can stream TV, music and movies to a mobile phone or a laptop, but at the time of writing nobody could explain to us exactly how this works. Perhaps it'll end up being an Orb-like package.

The Asus Asteio D22 will be available by January 2007. Check back for a full review shortly. -RR