Diva: MSI Shows Off Home Theater Personal Computer with HDMI, Audio Amplifier
For years makers of personal computer hardware have being trying to enter the market of consumer electronics. To some degree they have succeeded in that: the very first HD DVD players from Toshiba were based on Intel Pentium 4 microprocessors and chipsets. However, in general consumer electronics is still made by companies like Samsung, Sony or Sharp, but not by Asustek Computer or Shuttle.
Microstar International unveiled its Diva home theater personal computer (HTPC) at CeBIT 2008 that not only features HDMI output with HDCP and high-definition capable graphics core, but also comes with audio amplifier built in. Moreover, Omaura, a consumer electronics supplier from the USA, already uses MSI’s MS-7411 mainboard to power its latest Blu-ray disc HTPC called Omaura TF.
MSI’s Diva is based on mobile AMD 780G and SB700 core-logic and supports AMD Athlon 64/Athlon 64 X2 or AMD Sempron microprocessors. The system features ATI Radeon HD 3400-series DirectX 10.1 compliant integrated graphics core that supports universal video decoder for H.264 or VC1 1080p video, features 4 DIMM slots for DDR2 memory, 3 PCI x1 slots for add-in cards, one PCI Express 2.0 for graphics card as well as a PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot that is occupied by DAE-3 amplifier from D2 Audio. The Diva chassis support digital and analogue video and audio outputs, but come without any optical drive by default: the actual reseller may either install DVD drive, Blu-ray disc drive or universal Blu-ray/HD DVD optical disc drive.
The manufacturer uses MS-6465 mainboard inside Diva, hence, it is not exactly the same as Omaura TF, however, both motherboards have much in common.
MSI did not demonstrate remote control for Diva and if it is absent from the package, it will take some time to find one that has drivers for Microsoft Windows Vista. In addition, MSI did not disclose whether it plans to bundle high-definition video player software, something which is absolutely necessary to watch BD/HD DVD movies, with its HTPC device.
In fact, this is a good time for computer hardware companies to enter the market with more audio/video-centric devices: the vast majority of Blu-ray disc players are very slow for interactive BD-J-based features, as a result, Sony PlayStation 3 and personal computers are effectively the best players for Blu-ray movies. Unfortunately, neither of hardware companies have channels to sell consumer electronics products. This is changing, as CE stores start to sell notebooks from Asus or MSI, but it is definitely a very slow process.