capsule review

HP Pavilion Media Center m7590n

At a Glance
  • HP Pavilion Media Center M7590n Desktop (Pentium D, 2GB DDR2, 500GB, DVD?RW DL, Windows XP Media Center Edition)

    PCWorld Rating

    With lots of thoughtful extras that would appeal to photo and music mavens, the m7490n makes a great media machine.

HP Pavilion Media Center m7590n
Photograph: Chris Manners

Thanks to its affordable $1300 price, scads of features, and strong performance on WorldBench 5, HP's Pavilion Media Center m7590n (first reviewed as the Pavilion Media Center m7490n) earned the Best Buy award in our recent roundup of dual-core value desktops. A terrific system for multimedia, the m7590n includes lots of extras that will appeal to photo and music mavens, and its well-labeled ports simplify the process of hooking up all the peripherals you will need. The only fly in the ointment is that we found its gaming performance to be far from superb.

The m7590n, which uses a 3.2-GHz Pentium D 940 CPU and 2GB of RAM, earned a score of 100 in our WorldBench 5 tests, making it a very strong performer in comparison with the other five PCs we tested. But its gaming performance was by far the slowest of the systems in the group. At 1280 by 1024 resolution and 32-bit color, it produced just 29 frames per second in our Return to Castle Wolfenstein test--a mark 78 percent slower than that of the roundup's leader, CyberPower's Gamer Ultra 8500SE. The m7590n's gaming speed is barely fast enough to keep jerky images to a minimum.

This Windows XP Media Center-based PC contains just about everything you could want in a multimedia machine: TV and FM tuners, 500GB of storage, twin optical drives including a DVD±R DL burner, lots of well-labeled and color-coded ports on the front and the rear, a front-panel bay for HP's optional Personal Media Drive (not included at this price), and a top-of-case position to store discs or add a dock for an HP camera. The front ports sit behind a door that neatly slides into the case when opened. HP's five-in-one media-card reader is conveniently integrated on the top front of the case.

I encountered a few drawbacks. The case isn't expandable--granted, it already contains most of what you need, but if you want to add another drive, for instance, you'll find no bays or slots available. The system also lacks a DVI monitor adapter.

The m7590n was the only model in this group to come with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and it also included a remote control and USB remote receiver. I found the HP vs17e LCD monitor a bit dark, even after adjustment. One welcome touch: HP includes an extensive guide (with troubleshooting assistance) to the Media Center OS, the remote, the system, and the monitor.

The m7590n is a great basic media machine. Though it isn't a high-level performer, it's chock-full of thoughtful features and details that will help you build and maintain a multimedia library.

Dan Sommer

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    With lots of thoughtful extras that would appeal to photo and music mavens, the m7490n makes a great media machine.

    Pros

    • Lots of thoughtful extras

    Cons

    • Lacks easy expandability
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