Home entertainment centers will get a serious boost in computing power if their owners choose to add Gateway's new 901 Media Center PC.
Serious audio and video enthusiasts often build their living room or family rooms around their entertainment centers, which are typically filled with DVD players, personal video recorders (or PVRs), CD burners, stereos, and televisions. The Gateway 901 Media Center looks to simplify that setup by integrating those devices in a PC that will let users play games and surf the Internet from their easy chairs, says Philip Osako, vice president of alternative form factors at Gateway.
A standard television or a newer LCD or plasma television can plug into the back of the unit, allowing customers to view content directly on their televisions, Osako said. The PC measures 17 inches wide by 5.75 inches high by 14.5 inches deep, about the size of a standard audio receiver, he says.
"As people have gotten more and more into digital content, people want to take that content out of the office and into the other rooms we live in," Osako says.
The Poway, California, company plans to release additional Media Center PCs in different styles over the next year to cater to a variety of applications, Osako says.
Two configurations of the new PC are available for order immediately. The $999 base model comes with a 2.6-GHz Celeron processor from Intel, 256MB of DDR SDRAM, an 80GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive, and a GeForce FX5200 graphics card from Nvidia with 128MB of memory.
A more powerful version, the $1799 Gateway FMC-901 X, comes with a 3-GHz Pentium 4 processor with hyperthreading, 512MB of DDR SDRAM, a 250GB hard drive, a multiformat DVD burner, and a Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card from ATI Technologies with 128MB of memory.
Both PCs come with Microsoft's latest version of Windows XP Media Center Edition, and six-in-one card readers that can accept data from a variety of expansion cards such as Compact Flash or Secure Digital. They will ship in mid-December.
A wireless keyboard and mouse allow users to remotely operate the unit, Osako says. Gateway did not include wireless LAN technology in this version of the PC, but it expects future versions to include support for 802.11 technology as consumers grow more comfortable with wireless home networks, he says.