March 04, 2010
| by Stephen Hopkins
Tons of people have a spare PC lying around the house. It’s usually not a speed demon, but with hardware acceleration of video decoding, it might not need to be if you want to repurpose it as a HTPC or movie server.
With the right software, the least expensive video cards have the power necessary to decode 1080p video, even for Blu-ray playback. But hardware usually isn’t the only thing holding people back from a low-rent HTPC conversion. PCs of yester-year usually don’t look the part either.
NewEgg is letting you kill two birds with one stone. A combo of a Radeon HD 4350 video card and black Apevia HTPC case (including reasonable 500w power supply) is available for only $65 after rebated and combo savings.
The video card won’t be rocking 100fps in Crysis, but all of your totally legit 1080p MKV movies will play back with ease.
The case is spacious enough for basic multi-drive RAID array (room for two 3.5-inch drives and a full-size optical) so you’ll never lose an episode of “South Park” to a corrupt drive, while looking right at home with all of your other AV components.
Stephen Hopkins is chief technology editor for EH Publishing. He writes product reviews, features, and focuses heavily on 3D TV, iPhone and iPad apps, and digital content.