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Ok, so my title is a bit OTT, but there isn't much this PC cannot do, add an integrated toaster and it would be perfect. Even though I have had the PC for about a year I'm new to Ciao so I thought I better write a review for thing that brought me and Ciao together.
To look at the M7081 looks like every other home PC. I'm not going to tell how it doesn't… because it does. The familiar tower structure is fairly plain with the usual memory card slots located at the top of the case, the connectivity panel is well hidden by one of the two sliding doors on the front, what's behind the other will come later on. The look of the PC is more suited to bedroom rather than at the heart of the home as the name "Media Centre" suggests, the two tone chrome effect works well the blue light that emits from the power button and other crevasses. I am in no way trying to imply that this PC is ugly but you could find more attractive alternatives if you are planning to use it in your living room.
Rating: 5/10 Comment: Nothing spectacular but not bad either
The M7081 couldn't be much better in this department with a 3.2Ghz P4 processor, 250Gb Hard drive, Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 soundcard, Hauppauge analogue TV card and 1GB of DDR2 RAM to boot. The only thing that lets this PC down is the graphics card, an ATI Radeon X600 is nothing to be sniffed at but there are far better on the market but as yet I haven't found a game that the X600 will not run. Now to the best bit, remember the other sliding door on the front of the case, well, it opens to reveal a 160GB personal media drive, that's 160GB of removable hard drive to be filled up with songs, movies, pictures etc. then pulled straight out and plugged into any other pc with the supplied cables. So really it's an internal, external hard drive!
Rating: 9/10 Comment: Impressive spec that will run anything you throw at it
As this is a Media Centre it is supplied with Windows Media Centre 2005, which, contrary to many people, is actually really good. It is simple to navigate through the menu and once you have set it up, which actually isn't the easiest thing, you have a gateway to all your music, picture, videos, live TV and Radio. With the ability to record, pause and rewind live TV (yes this really does work!) watching your favourite program will never be the same, interrupting phone calls will never be an issue again! Also included is Microsoft Works Suite which includes Word and other basic applications, Sonic Record Now! and PC-Doctor. These programs are adequate but should really be replaced by Microsoft Office and Nero Burning Rom.
Rating 7/10 Comment: Media Centre is great but other software is a bit lack lustre.
Find me a program or game that this PC cannot run and I will eat my cyber hat! Even with the economy graphics card it will still run games like Half-Life 2, Quake 4 and Oblivion at fairly high if not highest settings.
Rating: 9/10 Comment: Nothing short of outstanding
~*~My Opinion~*~ ================
As you can tell I'm fairly fond of this PC to say the least and would recommend it to anyone looking for a high performance PC for a bedroom or study, if you're looking for a more cosmetically pleasing Media Centre for the living room then the Sony Vaio VGX-XL 100 is probably more suitable. All in all this is a great piece of kit and well worth considering when looking for a new PC.
Overall Rating: 8/10 Comment: Feature rich PC that gives most new PCs a run for their money
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