Because Rym took the Mac mini, I've been in the market for a new living room computer.
I know we've recommended the Mac mini in the past, but it has some limitations. It's small and quiet, yes. But it has problems as well. If I want to say, play emulated NES games with wireless XBox 360 controllers, Mac mini isn't going to cut it. I could use boot camp to put Windows on there, but how well will the mini display port? Speaking of which, Mac mini also requires getting special A/V cables to connect to the TV. I also just don't want to give Apple any more money
Then I considered getting the ASUS eee box 1501
. It's basically a netbook without a screen. The key is that this has the NVidia ION chips in it, so despite being underpowered, it can actually play some high definition video with GPU accelleration. It's really awesome at running Boxee, and such. But still, it won't be able to do certain things. For example, if I buy a game on Steam, like Trine, I can't really play that on here with three people at 1080p resolutions.
Then I dicovered the Dell Inspiron Zino HD
. It's basically Dell's Mac mini. It's nice and small, and has HDMI and everything. The only problem is that it has AMD/ATi parts. I know you're going to get all fanboy on me about not wanting that, but hear me out. The thing here is that NVidia and Adobe are in bed. When it comes to watching Flash videos, NVidia has the GPU acceleration going on, and ATi doesn't. Also, Boxee
NVidia. The world is moving away from Flash slowly, but it's still here right now, and I don't know if the Zino has the horsepower to get the job done.
Now I'm considering just making a computer, as usual. The benefit of this is that the compute will be able to do ANYTHING. Crazy HD, crazy surround sound, Steam games on the TV with XBox controllers, everything I need. The downsides are that it will be big compared to the alternatives. MicroATX size probably. It might also be a few hundred dollars more, but I'll be getting a lot more horsepower in exchange. It might also be less quiet, but I can buy quiet parts on purpose.
What do you people think of <a href="http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=10449254
It's somewhat small. Should be quiet. Only marginally more expensive than the Mac mini, but has much more horsepower. Also, I've got my SoundBlaster X-Fi sound card in my desktop that I will move over to this one. That will allow me to route the optical audio through it before sending it out to the sound system for awesome surround-ness and such.
So what say you? Mac mini with boot camp? Net-top? Dell Zino? Build my own? Something else?