"Fine for a media-room PC"3.5 starson by steveinwa
Pros: Compact, visually-appealing design, reasonably well-configured for HTPC use
Cons: No internal TV tuner; Intel X3100 graphics are weak
Summary: I thought Rich Brown's review missed the target market for this product. It's easy for PC enthusiasts to dismiss it as under-powered, and yes, you can easily buy or build a bigger PC with more bang for the buck. But, this product is not intended to be a gaming box, or a computing powerhouse. It is targeted to the same audience who'd buy a Mac Mini, or any other small form factor product...good looks, unobtrusive design, well-equipped for a basic home office or home theater PC (especially when they replace the current optical drive with a Blu-Ray drive).
I'm now on my 4th generation home theater PC, all built by me. My previous generation machines were built using Antec Sonata tower cases, but my current version is a tiny AOpen MiniPC, built out of similar, but higher-spec, laptop guts. It runs Vista Ultimate just fine, records HDTV shows, acts as my music and photo server, and is virtually silent. Nobody walking into my family room would notice a PC next to the TV. I simply plug in a large external HDD for media storage, and I use a SiliconDust HD HomeRun networked HDTV tuner. It was fun to build the AOpen MiniPC from barebones parts, but it was a big hassle to source all the laptop-class parts, and the Dell product is ready to go. Although the Intel X3100 graphics hardware is rather weak for Vista Aero, it does work for its intended purpose. It will be an even better performer when Dell inevitably upgrades the chipset to Centrino 2 (Montevina).Don't compare this to state-of-the art desktop/tower PCs, to laptops, or to cheapo-budget boxes, none of which are the intended market for this product. Compare it to the Mac Mini and to the small form-factor business PCs from Lenovo.