Elonex eXentia Gold Plus review

£1275
Price when reviewed

While we focus on the living room this month, other types of Media Center PC are available. The eXentia isn’t a new concept, but remains the best all-in-one design we’ve seen to date. Intended for a smaller room such as a study or bedroom, this updated eXentia is a capable system, with the PC and speakers effectively integrated into a 17in widescreen TFT.

Elonex eXentia Gold Plus review

The 1,280 x 768 display grabs your attention immediately, and the viewing angles are wide enough to allow the whole room to enjoy its crisp and bright picture. The integrated speakers are also superb, giving a surprisingly high audio quality with a lot of bass and loud volume. An infrared keyboard and mouse combo complement the standard MCE remote control, giving you full PC control.

Core components include a 3GHz Pentium 4 with Hyper-Threading, plus 512MB of PC2700 RAM. It performed reasonably well, with a score of 0.72 in our 2D benchmarks, proving that the small space hasn’t cramped power too much, and the GeForce 6200 will run games like Far Cry at lower resolutions such as 800 x 600.

Elonex has somehow managed to squeeze in a Hauppauge hybrid analog/digital tuner. A 200GB Western Digital hard disk provides ample storage and is supported by a single-layer DVD writer for backups.

The eXentia produces more noise than many of the standard systems, due to the cooling required with components so tightly squeezed together. When idle, it produced 30.4dBA, equating to a hum that’s audible, but not annoying. There’s still a faint hum in standby mode, but take even more note of the DVD noise of 36.3dBA, which is audible over quiet dialogue.

Connectivity is better than you’d expect, with integrated 802.11g wireless and 10/100 Ethernet. There’s also a modem, five USB 2 ports and FireWire. It has outputs for composite and S-Video, with input for the latter, and audio is taken care of by an optical S/PDIF output and 5.1-channel mini-jacks.

If you’re after a complete system for TV, DVD, music and photo playback, the eXentia is a great choice. It’s a shame no 19in version is available yet, but for now there’s no better alternative. Use the code 01-PCP-EGP to buy this exact specification.

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