updated 01:40 pm EDT, Thu March 22, 2007
Niveus Rainier HTPC
Niveus late yesterday rolled out its 2007 line of home theater PCs catering to the higher end of the spectrum. The Rainier series marks the first from the company for those enthusiasts who want a serious home theater but don't need the firm's premium Denali line. Each computer is four inches tall and can easily fit in a TV stand while still remaining silent through a passive cooling system.
They also bring much stronger HDTV viewing options to the company's line: the 500HD and 750HD both feature HD DVD drives for watching 1080p movies, while all four Rainier versions optionally hook into Niveus' new Digital Cable Receiver with dual CableCARD tuners to legally play and record cable HDTV on the computer itself.
The entire range ships with 7.1-channel optical audio support, an RS-232 home automation port, and GeForce 7600 GS graphics for driving video. Systems start at $3,199 with a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, 1GB of memory, a DVD drive and 320GB of storage but scale up to the $5,999 750HD with a 2.13GHz processor, 2GB of memory, HD DVD, 750GB of hard disk space, and three TV tuners (two analog, one HD). All models ship within 2-3 weeks.
Niveus has also upgraded the Denali line itself. Twice as tall as the Rainier at eight inches, the Denali fits in an AV rack and adds several extras to the top-end Rainier, including a maximum 1.5TB of storage, a fourth TV tuner, and the option of eight-channel analog surround sound. It starts at $7,999.
A third choice in systems, the Pro series, exists primarily for custom home theater installers: it too is a rackmount design but steps up the flexibility even further for automating an entire house's AV systems: a dual-core 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme and GeForce 8000-series graphics form the baseline alongside greater third-party hardware control and up to 3TB of storage. The Pro n7 starts at $7,999 and is complemented by the ultimate n9, which holds 2GB of RAM and four TV tuners at $15,999. [via Engadget]