The Basics HP's Media Center m1070n Photosmart PC features similar functionality to HP's awesome top-of-the-line Media Center m1090n Photosmart PC but with considerably less power and storage space. Perfect for general users and multimedia fans who want high-end perks such as DVD burning, integrated seven-channel audio, cordless remote control and all the latest connectivity but don't want to pay a premium price for cutting edge performance, the Media Center m1070n is a strong bang-for-the-buck desktop computer that makes quick work of all but the most demanding tasks or applications.
At the heart of any computer lies the CPU (or processor), a massive collection of miniature transistors that governs the speed and power of the entire unit. For the Media Center m1070n, HP has turned to Intel and its new Pentium 4 520 CPU. This is an upgraded version (nicknamed "Prescott") of the venerable Pentium 4 chip, featuring one full MB of Level 2 cache and a more generous data "pipeline" than prior models. Operating at 2.8 GHz and of course sporting Intel's Hyper-Threading technology (Hyper-Threading allows a single CPU system to behave at times as a dual CPU system, thus adding substantially more speed to some high-end applications), this is a fast CPU and a strong centerpiece to a midlevel system.
Computers typically store information on their hard drive, but they keep frequently and recently accessed data in Random Access Memory (RAM) for faster retrieval. More RAM means more efficient computing, superior multitasking and less strain on your hard drive. The Media Center m1070n features 512 GB of fast PC3200 DDR SDRAM main memory. This is an average allotment for a computer of this caliber, but its rated speed is comparatively quick. As such, it is more than enough for most multitasking situations and complex applications. Moreover, the system is constructed to support RAM upgrades to a stunning total of 4 GB.
CPU's are usually so busy doing basic calculations that they need help translating visual output to the viewing screen. This is the duty of the graphics card (or graphics controller). The Media Center m1070n features a strong graphics card, an ATI Radeon X300 SE PCI-E with 128 dedicated MB of video memory. A video card with dedicated memory is far preferable to cards that share the system's memory, and this card is capable of accurately displaying virtually any 2D application and delivering smooth frame rates and immersive, lifelike visuals to the 3D animations found in most computer games and 3D animation packages. Serious gamers who demand perfect frame rates at extremely high resolutions may want to upgrade to a 256 MB video card, such as the Radeon X600 PRO PCI-E found in HP's Media Center m1090n.
HP has not included a display screen, thus allowing you to continue using your current monitor or select from today's many alternatives.
The Media Center m1070n produces stereo and surround sound via an Intel High Definition Audio chipset with support for seven distinct audio channels and one subwoofer. The two more costly computers in this series (the m1090n and m1080n) also feature a three-piece Altec Lansing speaker system, whereas this system does not.
At 160 GB, the unit's internal hard drive is spacious enough for a massive allotment of files and applications and a comprehensive music, video/photo and multimedia library too. Further storage possibilities are offered in the form of the convenient HP Personal Media Drive, a docking slot located on the front of the computer tower that accepts portable hard drives.
An optical drive is essential in today's computing environment. A "CD-ROM" drive allows you to install CD-based applications and play music CDs. A "CD-RW" drive adds CD "burning", so you can also backup your important files to long-lasting discs and create personalized music CDs. With a DVD-ROM drive you can enjoy all of the above plus watch the same big budget DVD movies you watch on your home entertainment system. And with a DVD-RW drive, you can also "write" home movies to durable discs and archive files to DVD (DVDs boast more than seven times the storage capacity of a CD).
This system features two optical drives -- a DVD-ROM drive for playing music and data CDs and DVD movies, and a DVD+R/RW drive through which you can burn music and data CDs, play DVD movies, and record home videos to long-lasting DVD media. Moreover, the unit's two drives allow you to make extremely quick copies of any CD or DVD.
Connectivity and Expansion
With no less than six high-speed USB 2.0 ports -- two of which are conveniently located on the front of the unit -- you'll have plenty of room for plug and play gadgets such as digital cameras and printers. HP has also included two IEEE 1394 "FireWire" ports (commonly used for fast data transfer from digital camcorders) and a versatile 9-in-1 card reader for reading memory cards from devices such as digital cameras, PDAs and more. Communication options include an integrated 10/100Base-T networking interface for fast Internet and network communication and a V.92 data/fax modem for low-speed dial-up connections. The system's single open PCI slot may be used for add-on audio cards, video cards, and the like.
Operating System and Software
The Media Center m1070n features an extremely comprehensive software package headed by Microsoft's beefy Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system. HP will also pre-install the Microsoft Money Standard 2004 and Quicken New User Edition 2004 financial suites, Microsoft's Works 7.0 productivity package, HP Image Zone Plus photo and imaging software, and an impressive assortment of multimedia utilities. Last but certainly not least is HP's own Personal Video Recorder for recording and archiving up to 200 hours of video from sources such as cable and satellite TV.
To help free your workspace of cumbersome cables, HP will provide an HP Media Center keyboard with convenient one-touch hotkeys and a corded optical mouse. To help you relax when you're watching movies, playing games or listening to music, the system also features a handy wireless infrared remote control.