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HP m7580n: Athlon Dual-Core Dorm-Room HTPC Powerhouse

Introduction

The HP Pavilion m7580n

At a Glance
ProductHP m7580n Media Center PC
SummaryWMCE-based Home Theater PC targeted at the dorm-room crowd
Pros- Plenty of dual core power
- Acceptably quiet operation, even under a heavy sustained load
- Wireless RF keyboard and mouse
- Upgraded video card (6150 IGP to 7300LE PCIe)
Cons- HDTV card not included
- Limited expandability
- Limited range of wireless keyboard and mouse
- No DVI or HDMI video out
- No gigabit Ethernet

When I first heard that people were starting to use HTPCs to manage their home theaters, I thought it was conceptually an interesting idea, but I balked at making one for myself at first. PCs can perform a diverse variety of tasks, and pigeonholing them into a purely multimedia environment sounded like a waste of their full potential. Clearly I've managed to overcome that line of thinking since I've become somewhat of a crusader for HTPCs among my friends and family.

A computer is a large investment for most people, and not everyone is willing to invest in a PC that is dedicated to their home theater. Many of the people that I try to talk into purchasing HTPCs agree that they are fun and useful, but they would rather have their PC investment to live up to all of its potential instead of merely managing their multimedia files. Fortunately, there are computers that allow you to sample the benefits of an HTPC while retaining the function of a traditional personal computer.

The HP m7580n Media Center PC is a reasonably priced desktop PC with an Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Dual-Core Processor. It ships with the Windows Media Center 2005 operating system and comes with a Hauppauge NTSC TV tuner.

System Specs
CPUAMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
MotherboardASUS A8M2N-LA (HP Name- Nodus-GL8E)
Socket AM2 Micro ATX GeForce 6150 LE
RAM2 GB Hynix PC2-4200 (2 X 1 GB)
StorageSeagate 320 GB 7200RPM Serial ATA
GraphicsAsus Geforce 7300LE 128 MB PCIe
AudioRealtek ALC 888 High Definition 8 channel compatible
PSUBestec 300Watt Single fan
NetworkingWired 10/100 Base T

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