NEC recently launched a brand new concept PC and a media server solution that works hand in hand to realize their vision for a fully integrated home entertainment environment - inside and outside of the home. We attended a showcase not too long ago of this technology that NEC calls Home IT (or HIT). Basically NEC has teamed up with CyberLink to provide an integrated hardware/software platform focused on media and communication.
First up, we have the NEC POWERMATE P5000, NEC's latest all-in-one concept PC that takes a page right out of the iMac concept and design right, but with the usual quirkiness we've come to expect from Japanese innovation. The P5000 is a fully integrated PC and monitor in an incredibly slim chassis weighing in at only 4KG in total. Besides the whole integrated feature, things in common with the iMac that will probably come up is the side slot-loading DVD Super Multi drive and its high gloss white, though NEC has been smart about their timing as the iMacs are now silver and black. From the design aspect, the POWERMATE P5000 is propped up like a photo frame and occupies a minimal footprint of 157mm. NEC adds a handle at the top to make it easier to carry around and you can even slot in optional gadget pockets, little plastic pockets that can be used to carry any amount of assorted devices from stationary to your mobile phone. Another highlight of the P5000 is its one cable operation. A single power cable is the only wire that is still required to operate this PC. Both its keyboard and mouse are wireless devices. Specification-wise, the POWERMATE P5000 is really a notebook in disguise, running off an AMD Turion 64 X2 processor, AMD RS690MC chipset and integrated ATI Radeon X1200 graphics. The P5000 will come with a 17-inch display using NEC's Super Shine Ex2 technology, 1440 x 900 resolution and 700:1 contrast ratio.
The NEC POWERMATE X on the other hand is a more traditional home media server, in a proper PC chassis and the usual storage extravaganza. There are different models of the POWERMATE X, but the general specifications seem to be running on an Intel Core 2 Quad processor, NVIDIA GeForce 8600-series GPU and a huge 2TB of storage in the form of four 500GB HDDs in RAID 0. You can alternatively configure it for RAID 1, RAID 5 or RAID 10 if you feel a little insecure of four times the possible failure rate of such a huge RAID 0 configuration. In any case, the NEC POWERMATE X has probably the highest storage space available for currently available retail media server PCs – and NEC has hinted that they would be increasing it in the future as well. As a regular PC, the POWERMATE X should be capable enough for any and all tasks, even for gaming. As a media server, it does it magic as well with support for all available A/V connections – except for HDMI, which is a shame. The NEC POWERMATE X series will start off from a pretty reasonable S$2099 price tag for the entry level version.