"Competent desktop, ideal as a media server."3.5 starson by Papo_Anaya
Pros: Small foot print, enough USB ports to connect peripherals, external SATA port, Competent graphics for gaming, good support for Open GL games, ideal device as a media server.
Cons: Not the fastest number cruncher, no way to change components other than a motherboard swap.
Summary: I purchased two refurbished units to be used as media servers, one for the den and another for the "game room". One of them is used to store recorded TV programs over the air. The other one is connected via HDMI to a flat screen TV which is used for playbacks. I've used a series of media players and playbacks have been good, the only exception have been some of the playbacks from Boxee but it is mostly because of the way Boxee translates some of the Flash movies than the computer. Playbacks from flash and big .ts files using VLC work fine. I would say that these unit work for the intended purpose.
I have played games with them, mostly Open GL. Word of PadMan, Torcs, Super Tux Kart and Flight Gear execute fine, considering that they are not used for gaming. But have not use these to execute a more demanding game.
These units are not meant to be used for upgrades or build a "mega gamer" computer. What you pay is what you get, which is not a bad device, but just adjust your expectations accordingly. Due to size they can be a perfect companion for a LAN party, but considering that many laptops perform better, you might want to get a laptop if you can afford it if the main purpose is to play games.
My pet peevies have to do with performance under stress. I have been converting videos to play in the PSP and it will take its sweet time to complete. If you're not in a hurry, it would be fine. Air Video playback is ok, but it will take its time doing the conversion on the fly. Good thing is that it has a dual core CPU which helps a bit.
I disagree with the CNET reviewer, I rather get a general purpose computer than a console because of the flexibility that it provides, but at the end it is up to the individual to decide.