HP z545 (refurb): $795


Staff member

Digital Entertainment P4 3.0GHz DVD+RW Wireless G THX® Media Center ( hp Refurbished - z545 )
Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 3.0GHz, 512MB DDR SDRAM, 200GB SATA HD, 160GB Removable Drive, 16x Dual Layer DVD±RW/CD-RW Drive, TV Tuner/Recorder, Wireless B/G, XP Media Center 2005, hp Refurbished

This is a great looking MCE machine, I was playing with a very similar model at CompUSA (z555) just a few days ago, it truly looks like a set top box (so it will look ok in the living room), and has many nice options.

Make sure you check the reviews before you buy this machine (I haven't), but the specs look good.
Oh man its so tempting... I just broke my laptop by droping it on the floor from the bed. Now we need a new PC in the bedroom and that would be great. Two things are stoping me. 1) I would have to get rid of the VCR/DVD combo and all the kids tapes are on VHS and we have TONS of them. No way in hell would I try and rip them all to the PC. and 2) It would probably mean my wfie and kids would think its their toy and not my toy and I would never get to use it. But at that price it seems like a nice little deal.
Wow, I've never seen the backside of one of those before. Not a PCI slot in site, just AV connections. It really is a set-top-box!


Still too 'spensive for me, though. Doesn't have gigabit LAN, so no playing FDD-based DVD's from the network. What I need as a "HTPC" is:

- Bare minimum specs to play HDD-based DVD's a 480p (since that's all most of my TV's can handle).

- Gigabit LAN

- Be able to run MLServer (for redirect commands) and a copy of MainLobby, with the 2nd session RDP hack so I can have ML on a touchscreen with the media playback on the TV. That way there's only be one PC per room.

I could probably get away with something along the lines of the P4 1.8's that a bunch of y'all bought with a gigabit card added.

It's a nice machine, though!
the z555 is pretty much the same box, but has 1 gig of memory, and gigabit lan. It also has 2 regular tuners and 1 HD tuner. This is the box I was playing with at CompUSA, and it really looked like a nice machine, and had so many audio & video ports! 100mbit should be fast enough for streaming DVD tho.