"To PC or to Xbox?", that is the question.

I'm faced with a delima. I just changed jobs (I joined Capable Networks, as you know), and my old company owns a bunch of equipment that I've come to rely on. So now, I've got to send back (among other things) my desktop PC in my office.

So, I'm faced with an interesting choice...

I could build a pretty sweet machine for well under $1k. So, that's definitely option #1.

However, I also own a server powerful enough to be retooled as a new desktop machine. And my Media Center PC (currently living in my entertainment center) would be more than capable of handling everything my server does. So, with a little shuffling around of hard drives and operating systems, I could have a server in the basement that is both the file/app server and the media PC. And what is my server now would become my new desktop box.

"Doesn't that leave you without a media PC?" you ask? Well, it doesn't have to. For $400 (compared to the $600-800 I'd spend building the box I want), I could have an xbox 360 in my entertainment center. And the connection is that the xbox 360 is a full-featured media center extender. So, I'd be able to access my media PC (which in this scenario would be a floor away) still from the comfort of my sofa.

What's the catch?

Well, first I lose the ability to surf the web on my big TV. I don't do it often, but I like having that ability in the family room. Second thing is that I'd have to move one of my DirecTV set-top boxes downstairs into my control room. Not too bad a headache, but there.

There's also the possibility of merging the server and media PC as stated, but to leave the finished PC in the entertainment center. However, I don't really want to contemplate this option because it's no fun to solve my problem that simply. :-) Remember, we're looking for an excuse to buy an xbox (and play with a novel configuration). Can I actually sell my wife that this option is "cheaper"?

I've also come into a prismiq media player (on loan from a friend), so that's a possibility to. But I had that targeted for a different room, so we'll see. I'm looking forward to being able to write about that experience as well.

Any thoughts? Any recommendations? Any hope I can talk my wife into the xbox?

PS -- Something you might find to be interesting reading: http://www.xboxmediacenter.com


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