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Review: Cooler Master Media Center 280

by Matt Davey on 22 December 2006, 08:43

Tags: Cooler Master

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qahis

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Introduction

It's December already, the month of manic shopping sprees and the traditional Christmas Eve rush for disorganised males like me.

Looking through the community forums here at HEXUS over the last few weeks, many of our members are trying to find the next cool thing to have under their tree.

At the same time, Christmas usually brings with it a plethora of quality television, even for the mere terrestrial viewers amongst us. With suitable envy we all lust after some form of recording hardware, be it the popular Sky+ format or even a nice, shiny Pioneer HDD-based recorder. The fact is, though, the PC hardware market has seen a distinct shift over the last twelve months to more consumer electronics items and a number of chassis manufacturers are taking advantage with a new range of cases.

Going hand in hand with the above, the digital home scene is growing and Cooler Master thinks it's bringing something special to the market in the form of its brand-new Cooler Master Media Center 280 series chassis, an apparent twist on the usual HTPC.

Looking at the HTPC market, nearly all the widely available chassis are desktop-sized and presented in various formats such as ATX, microATX and miniATX/ITX. Cooler Master believes there is space in the already-crowded HTPC for a tower-based solution, but there's more to the '280 than pure size.

The '280 has the ability to function as either a desktop or a tower chassis. How? Well that’s what the rest of the review should explain, but with an RRP in the upper £50s, the 280-series certainly isn’t as expensive as recent efforts from the company. The ultimate question is whether the low-ish price has completely dictated the quality of the product?