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D2 Quiet Media Center, Black
D1 Quiet Media Center, Silver
D1 Quiet Media Center, Black
D2 Quiet Media Center, Silver

D.Vine Quiet Media Center

Build the ultimate Media Center PC

At Quiet PC we love Media PCs but believe there's no need to compromise. So we decided to design our own ultimate system which would be slim, great looking and powerful, yet essentially operate in complete silence. We put the very latest components through their paces and came up with a unique specification which we believe will make the best Media PC around.

The Perfect Media PC CPU

Unlike the vast majority of existing Media PCs, ours doesn't employ a traditional hot and power hungry Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 desktop processor. Instead we selected Intel's Pentium M processor, a chip originally designed for laptops, but which actually makes an ideal heart for a Media PC.

The Pentium M is designed to generate little heat, which makes it perfect for quiet cooling in a compact case. Better still, it runs on less power than a traditional desktop processor. Our complete configuration consumes between 65 and 75 Watts which is up to half that of a typical Pentium 4 or Athlon 64 system, despite delivering similar performance.

The Perfect Motherboard for the Perfect CPU!

We found the best motherboard for the Pentium M was Aopen's i915GMm-HFS, which features a wide range of on-board connectivity, including VGA, DVI, S-Video and even High Definition component (YPbPr/YUV) outputs, along with analogue and digital audio (SPDIF Mini-optical). It employs integrated graphics which are sufficiently quick for accelerating DVD and WMV-HD video, but also has a PCI-Express slot for anyone who wants to upgrade their 3D performance. Aopen supplies the board with a fansink which can keep the Pentium M cool with occasional short bursts of its virtually silent fan.

The Perfect Media PC Chassis and Components

For a case we chose the slim Ahanix MCE301/2, available in silver or black, which looks great in any living room, and fitted an internal VFD display and remote control sensor (see below for the type of information shown by the VFD while running Media Center 2005). Into this went the Aopen board and Pentium M processor along with 1GB DDR2 RAM, a quiet 250GB Samsung Spinpoint SATA II hard disk and a pair of Black Gold digital Freeview tuners, allowing you to record two shows simultaneously. The whole system is then powered in silence by a Semi-Fanless 400 Watt power supply.

The Perfect Operating System

The ultimate hardware specification is worthless without software to match, so we chose to install Microsoft's excellent Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. This by far the best Media PC software available with a slick but powerful interface and free 14-day electronic programming guide which downloads over the internet. The sensor inside the case is one of Microsoft's own, designed to work with the official Media Center remote control.

What does all this mean to you?

The result is the best Media PC we've had the pleasure of using, and it's now available for you to buy in kit form, complete with all the components and software required; you need only add a mouse, keyboard and display. We've also produced our very own illustrated guide to building the system, from assembling the hardware to the software installation including any necessary tweaks, all of which should take less than a day to complete, even if you are new to building PCs.

Building your own Media PC is the only way to enjoy a truly uncompromised specification at the right price, but let us do the hard work by providing all the best parts and a complete guide to putting them together. You'll soon have a system which is the envy of your friends and family, not to mention most PC manufacturers.

D.Vine Quiet Media Centre showing different VFD displays when running Media Center 2005.
D.Vine Quiet Media Centre showing different VFD displays when running Media Center 2005.

VFD Display

The VFD supplied with the D.Vine Quiet Media Center is an iMON VFD. We have highly modified it and integrated the IR receiver from the Microsoft remote control. This allows you to have an internal VFD and IR receiver, meaning no wires extend out of the back of the PC! Another reason for the modification is so the Media Center is compatible with Microsoft's Remote Control rather than any other third party controller. This makes perfect sense when you are using Windows XP Media Center 2005. The image above shows the type of information the VFD is able to show while MCE2005 is running.

SpecificationsD1 QMC BlackD1 QMC SilverD2 QMC BlackD2 QMC Silver
CaseAhanix MCE301 Ahanix MCE302
ColourBlack Silver Black Silver
CPUPentium M 1.7GHz 735
MotherboardAopen i915GMm-HFS
RAM2 x Corsair 512MB DDR2 PC3200
SoftwareMicrosoft Media Center 2005
Optical DriveNEC 3550A DVD/RW
HDDSamsung Spinpoint SATA II, 250GB
TV Cards2 x Black Gold Low Profile Freeview tuners
VFDiMON VFD with MCE Remote
Misc PartsVFD mounting screws, cable ties, TV aerial splitter

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Quiet PC Ltd
Brawby Grange
YO17 6PZ
United Kingdom

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