The Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA is a complete media-centre PC system built by Eclipse Computers around the MSI Media Live case.

Many of us dream of the day when our PC needs are met by a discreet stylish device, tucked away beneath our televisions, but the media-centre revolution hasn't taken off quite yet.

It can't hurt to have AMD joining Intel in the fray, and the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA is an MSI Media Live case that's been created very much with AMD Live in mind. You can actually buy the MSI case by itself, but here we've chosen to review it as part of the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA, a complete system built by Eclipse Computers.

The Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA looks quite pleasing compared to a typical PC. It's also fairly low on noise, although we could hear a faint hum – this could be offputting if you're going to be placing the machine in a quiet room.

As you'd expect of a media-centre PC nowadays, the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA comes with an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port – although you also get an analogue RGB connector in case you are yet to jump on the HDMI bandwagon.

From the battery of 7.1 audio RCA-out connectors and Component Video-out to the AV-out and Scart, the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA is an impressively stocked system. Six USB 2.0 ports and a pair of FireWire connectors complete the line-up.

One slight drawback is that there isn't a great deal of room inside the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA's case for upgrading. Games tend not to be a priority for media-centre PCs, and the lowly graphics card shows that the Media Live is no exception.

However, the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA does offer a decent amount of raw performance, with the 5600+ processor and 2GB of DDR RAM combining well.

The 802.11g wireless facilities are now par for the course, while the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA's 320GB hard drive is ample. The TV@nywhere card is fairly handy, but it's not a dual-tuner version, which means you can't record two channels simultaneously.

Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA: Specs

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB hard drive
  • GeForce 6150 LE
  • remote control
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • single-tuner TV@nywhere
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB hard drive
  • GeForce 6150 LE
  • remote control
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/4x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • single-tuner TV@nywhere

OUR VERDICT

For the money, the Eclipse DMS Media Live A56VSTA is impressive. It has its drawbacks (the sluggish graphics, the lack of dual-tuner support), but you get a decent array of technology and an effective introduction to the world of the media-centre PC.

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