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Desktops

Optima MyPC MCE PC

Optima is the first Australian manufactuer to launch a locally-made Media Center personal computer. Sticking with a traditional PC form factor, this MyPC MCE PC bundle will appeal to digital technology neophytes who want a lot of bang for their buck.

Upside

Optima's MyPC MCE PC is an all-in-one computer and digital entertainment unit, powered by Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2005. It allows users to play DVDs, edit digital photos, compile photo albums into slideshows, watch (and pause) television and listen to music, all through the use of a single remote control.

MyPC MCE PC includes an Intel Pentium 4 530 processor with HyperThreading, an Intel 915G Express Chipset, 512MB DDR400 RAM and a 120GB Serial ATA (SATA) Hard Disk Drive for transfer rates of up to 150 MB/s.

Along with the PC, this Optima bundle includes a 15 inch LCD monitor, DVD+/- burner, an integrated 10/100 LAN and 56k internal modem, an internal analog TV tuner, a Windows Media Center remote control, a Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse and Altec Lanseng 5.1 speakers.

Downside

This big black box of a PC will not be winning any design awards, but according to an Optima spokesperson, this was a deliberate move to not intimidate the target audience. Hmmm...

And while its nice to have all the speakers, what you'll really want is a much bigger screen/monitor to watch TV and your new snazzy slide shows.

Outlook

Keeping it simple and reasonably priced sounds like a good idea to get the market familiar with the benefits that Media Center brings to the PC world. But watch this space. Optima plans to launch a completely different slim line form factor PC that looks more like a big DVD recorder. With the company's soon-to-launch large flat panel screens, these more modern-looking solutions will be better suited to the décor of a lounge or home entertainment area. Optima says that both the slimline PC and its large screens will hit the Australian market before Christmas.

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