Niche computer maker Systemax today announced its new Impact Mini-PC line, aiming at hoome users who want a living-room friendly PC but who are frustrated by the Mac mini (or its current inability to function as a fully-fledged media center). Three new Impact Mini-PCs range from economical home-use systems to Media Center-eqipped units with TV Tuners, remote controls, S-Video, and S/PDIF. Plus, you know, they’ve got cool blue blinky lights.
"PC users have been asking for an alternative to the Mac Mini that satisfies their needs in terms of feature set and functionality for the home environment," explains Richard Wallet, Systemax executive VP, in a release. "With our new line of Impact Mini-PC’s, Systemax has stepped up the challenge to offer three attractive and unique configurations at price points that blow away the competition."
At the high end, the Systemax Impact VXR2 sports a 1.66 GHz Core 2 processor on a 667 Mhz frontside bus, Windows XP Media Center Edition, Intel integrated graphics, 1 GB oF RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, a DVD-RW optical drive, 802.11b/g wireless networking, an ATSC/NTSC hybrid television tuner, plus 2 USB 2.0 ports one FireWire port, DVI video output, S-Video output, and S/PDIF digital audio. The VXR2 also comes with a remove control or managing media and video programming from across the room. Next up, the Impact VXR2 offers much the same specs, but steps back a little bit to a 1.6GHz Duo mobile processor on a 533 MHz frontside bus with 512 MB of memory. Finally, the plain-old Impact mini-PC ditches Media Center and the remote and just aims to be a reasonable system for home use rather than a media hub: it’s driven by a Celeron M 1.4 GHz CPU on a 400 MHz frontside bus, runs Windows XP Home, and has rather light 256 MB of RAM with a DVD/CD combo drive, 40 GB of storage, and 802.11b/g wireless.
While the Impact Mini-PCs may fall down in the high-definition department—and upgrading RAM and other components in compact systems like these can be notoriously tricky—Systemax’s price points draw some attention: The Impact VXR2 carries a suggested retail price of $899.99; the Impact VXR comes in at $799.99, and the Impact just barely hits the sub-$500 mark at $499.99. All three systems will be available through TigerDirect as of October 1, and ship with a Microsoft USB keyboard and mouse.