Evesham's original e-box, along with the Acer Aspire iDea, was one of the media-centre PC market's bigger hits. Now, with the age of Vista, dual-core technology and high-definition TV firmly upon us, Evesham has decided to unleash a new version: the e-box HD.

Unsurprisingly, HD refers to the Evesham's high-def aspirations.

The 'HD' aspect is covered primarily by the Evesham e-box HD's HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface). There's no DVI (digital visual interface) converter – if you don't have HDMI cabling, you'll need to buy a converter or stick with RGB. There's no HD-DVD or Blu-ray drive either.

Otherwise, the Evesham e-box HD is a competent rendition of a modern media PC. It doesn't have the most extensive collection of ports (there's no Scart, for instance) but most of the major connections are supported, and the six USB ports are pleasing.

The Evesham e-box HD's case is easy on the eye, although there's no hiding the fact that it's a PC – particularly with its rather brash green light. It's not totally silent in operation, but the Evesham e-box HD is quiet enough that the typical user is unlikely to be too bothered by its presence. Internally it's well arranged but there's not much room for replacement cards.

The Evesham e-box HD's hardware is mostly pretty proficient. Given the price point, the Athlon 64 X2 5000+ is a sensible choice, achieving a decent WorldBench 6 speed score of 79. A mere 1GB of DDR RAM seems a bit skimpy and a larger hard drive wouldn't have gone amiss – still, the 320GB hard drive should allow for 160 to 200 hours of recording.

The graphics controller makes a decent job of displaying HD video, but the Evesham e-box HD isn't ideal for gaming. Audio is capably handled and the wireless and dual TV-tuners are nice touches.

Click here to read about Evesham's change in ownership.

Evesham e-box HD: Specs

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB hard drive
  • Radeon X1250
  • dual DVB-T TV tuners
  • remote control
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • 3-year warranty
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 1GB DDR RAM
  • 320GB hard drive
  • Radeon X1250
  • dual DVB-T TV tuners
  • remote control
  • 802.11b/g Wi-Fi
  • 8x/8x/8x/4x/8x/6x/8x/5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-R DL/+R DL/-RW/+RW/-RAM) drive
  • 3-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

Media-centre PCs don't really stand up to close scrutiny as everyday systems. However, as a half-way house between a living-room appliance and a desktop PC, the Evesham e-box HD makes a decent compromise.

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