The everyday PC gamer may spend quite a bit of his/her spare time (outside of Work and school) sitting in front of the gaming PC blasting away at an opponent who may be an A.I. algorithm or a coffee house gamer across the globe. There is ,however, a small yet growing segment of the PC world that is developing to the home media environment in the area of PC being connected to the family TV. This is not new to most of you who read TWL as the inclusion of the Media based PC has been around for a while, but for some the media PC is just now obtainable. Also with modern LCD's , plasma's and DLP TV's providing incredible clarity of 1080P as appose to older tube TVs, watching movies from the internet and/or playing games is the next big thing. This is the reason so many companies have jumped aboard the online availability of television programming. There are plenty of already built media devices on the market, and the majority of them have preloaded options which make you have to wait for firmware releases before you can use the newest release of video format. Building your own media PC still seems to be the way to go for many people.
Of course as stated earlier, the concept of using the household TV as a computer monitor is not new, but having the standard PC case sitting next to or inside the home entertainment stand has always been an eye sore. There has been options on the market to put your PC in a case that is more appealing to the eye, but mostly the price of these options have been above what most are willing to spend. GMC, a company based in Korea sent TWL their AVC M-1 case to review and with no exaggeration, “This case and its features belong in the "GOT TO HAVE" category. Read on to find out why.
|Dimension||( W x D x H ) Chassis 345 x 390 x 145mm|
|Carton Box Color||Silver / Black|
|Multi Port||USB2.0 x 2port, Audio + MIC port, IEEE 1394|
|Form Factor||Micro ATX|
|Drive Bay||5.25" x 1 (Ext) / 3.5" x 3 ( Int)|
|Expansion Slots||4 Slots|
|M/B Size||Micro ATX|
|Weight||Net : 6.7kg / Gross : 7.5kg|
|Fan||Rear 80mm Fan / Front 80mm Fan|
|Optional||VFD Module : 16 x 2 Character VFD
Manual : English edition
A quick look at its specifications and the picture above shows you that this case looks like it belongs integrated with your DVD player and amplifier. The inclusion of the VFD makes for an attractive as well as useful media device. It has the usual compliment of ports and the manual is even in english.
The M-1 is designed to resemble your standard component stereo case. With this design, you PC will look as it belongs in with the rest of the components of your home theater entertainment system. The case is designed to accomodate Micro ATX motherboards and a micro ATX power supply.
This case did come with a remote which turned out to be a lot more handy then we figured it would be. The remote has an over-sized rocker button which turned out to be the mouse control, though getting used to this could be difficult for some. This control is similar in concept to the pencil eraser on some laptops on the market today. The remote is designed to be used in conjuction with Windows Media Center Edition and keyboard to navigate different folders quickly. The package came with a driver CD which will need to be loaded in order to use all of the features. We find that these included CD's are more than likely be the media you will misplace when it comes time to reload the system. We would like to see these drivers located on their site in an easy to find manner but were unable to find them at the time of this publishing.
We have to say that this case looks awesome.
In the end there are many reasons to build your own media center over purchasing an already complete system. If its time to update your gaming PC, why not use the Processor, RAM, and video card, hard drive in a media PC. You may only need to purchase a micro ATX power supply, motherboard, and heat sink along with this case from GMC to assemble your own. Since the GMC M-1 case also comes with an IR remote, you will not need to spend additional cash on the convenience of a remote to complete the package. There are many component shaped cases on the market today but very few come with all the features the M-1 has and are still within the price range of a consumer who is willing to spend only a few bucks to get a media center PC running.