Let me take you back to a simpler time; 2004. I was setting up my first media box, cobbled together off of a terrible old Dell machine with less then a gig of RAM. It backed 500 GB of hard drive space though, which was a lot back in those days. While having a media box was far better than not having one, I still had endless problems with the old girl. She crashed constantly and would break frequently for reasons I could rarely work out on my own.
Now kids with fancy TVs and a desire for a media box don't have to worry about repurposing ancient, failing machines to do the job. Several companies have dedicated PCs that were built from the ground-up to be media boxes. Today, Dell unveils another PC in that image; the Inspiron Zino HD.
The Zino HD is one of the most stylish media boxes I've seen. It's just a simple 8" by 8" cube with a glossy colored top. All you have to do is plug it in right under the TV and, boom, your set-up is basically complete. Plug in a USB keyboard and a wireless mouse and you're good to go. The HDMI-out and optional Blu-ray drive mean that this will make a very solid companion for any HD television. You have the option of paying for discrete graphics, and these machines can pack up to 8 GB of RAM and 1 TB of data.
Prices start at $229 for the minimalist model, and go up to $649 for the the works, plus a 20" panel thrown in for good measure. Anyone interested by this? Or would you still prefer to build your own? More details on Dell.
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