Whether it´s relegated to a den, a dorm room or an office with enough privacy to sneak the occasional TV show or movie, a desktop Media Center PC can be tailored to your primary computing interests-be they gaming, graphic design or novel-writing-with media capability added on for dessert. For example, if you´re a hardcore gamer, you´ll still want to max out your machine with high-end graphics and audio; running the Media Center Edition of Windows XP (instead of plain XP) won´t affect your ogre-slaying activities. If your desktop is used mostly for less-demanding tasks, such as e-mailing, word processing, and surfing the Web, there´s no need to soup up the system just for the Media Center software. Save your pennies for an enhanced speaker system or a bigger display, all the better to watch
The West Wing in one window while balancing your checkbook in another.