The Fusion Multi Media PC is designed to be used as Media Center PC with extensive personal video recorder (PVR) functions. Its physical appearance helps it blend in with your existing audio or video components, and its hybrid digital/analogue TV tuner lets you watch and record a host of terrestrial Freeview channels -- all for under £800 from Expert Technologies' Web site. You certainly get what you pay for, though. The Fusion is badly let down by its lack of a wireless keyboard and mouse, no memory card reader, and one of the noisiest cooling solutions we've heard in some time.
The Fusion Multi Media PC looks much like an ordinary DVD player. It uses a SilverStone LC10m case -- an undeniably attractive box, whose appearance is enhanced by a brushed-aluminium front panel. The front edge of the DVD tray juts out too far for our liking, but your attention will more likely be drawn by its front-facing LED information panel. This useful addition relays handy information including what tasks the PC is performing at any given time.
Our only real concern is the case's size -- it's around twice the height of an ordinary DVD player. You should be prepared to dump or move your existing audio-visual components unless there's tonnes of space available under your television.
FireWire, microphone and headset ports are conveniently located to the left side of the case and there are four USB ports at the front, which is helpful as you're unlikely to get day-to-day access to the four remaining USB ports at the rear. Unfortunately, the four front-facing USB ports are spaced only a millimetre apart, so you may have difficulty connecting large USB devices side by side.
The Fusion Multi Media PC lacks any sort of memory-card reader. This is an almost criminal omission given that it's being marketed as a multimedia PC. Sure, you can transfer files to and from the PC using a USB memory stick, or via an add-on card reader, but this is hardly ideal.
The Fusion Multi Media PC's most notable feature is its use of Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE). This version of Windows XP is almost identical to Windows XP Professional Edition, but it features vastly improved multimedia file-handling capabilities. You can use it to watch and record television, play video files and DVDs, as well as listen to MP3s or view digital images.
The Fusion Multi Media PC doesn't come with a monitor, but it'll work out of the box with any standard CRT or LCD screen with a D-Sub video port. It'll also work with a TV or projector with component video ports, but first you'll need to connect a standard monitor and choose the appropriate display method using ATI's Control Panel utility.