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Niveus Media Demonstrates 4 Custom Install PCs

Niveus Media revealed four very high-end Windows Vista Ultimate computers destined for the custom installation market on Jan. 30 at Harvey Electronics’ Manhattan flagship store.

The company’s two unit Summit Series and two-unit Pro Series are now available through Harvey, several West Coast Magnolia Audio Video locations and direct from the company, said John Trimbach, Niveus’ sales VP.

The rack-mountable models are intended strictly for use as media servers and not as a personal computer, although each is a fully functional high-end PC, said Tim Cutting, Niveus’ co-founder and CEO. Because of the inherent complexity of the systems, Niveus will only sell through dealers offering installation, he said.

The company has also come up with its own software for the Media Center part of Vista. This includes additional features, such a weather button, plus what Cutting said was a simpler user interface.

“Our company actually has more software engineers than hardware engineers. It’s how we differentiate ourselves,” he said.

The Summit Series consists of the Rainier and Denali Editions. The Denali carries a $7,999 suggested retail and is powered by an Intel Core Duo processor, four television tuners, HDMI video output, 4GB of memory, 1.5TB of storage and NVIDIA’s GeForce Series 7 graphics card and eight-channel audio. Since the unit is designed for living room use, the company devised a passive cooling technology that uses a glycol-coolant-based system where the glycol is heated to a gaseous state by the heat, the gas rises to a vent area, cools by dispersing the heat and then returns to a liquid state falling back down into the computer, said Trimbach.

The Ranier, $3,199 suggested retail, uses a conventional fan-based cooling system; however, it is about half as tall as the Denali. It has the same processor, three TV tuners, 750GB of storage and 2GB of memory.

Each unit has an embedded 802.11b/g wireless, an HD-DVD drive and a flash-card reader. The Summit Series also uses CableCARD technology.

The Pro Series n7 and n9 models are available in several configurations with the base models using an Intel Core Duo Extreme processor, up to 3GB of memory, four TV tuners and Niveus’ proprietary Glacier cooling technology. Pricing for the n7 and n9 will start at $7,199 and $15,999, respectively.

While these Media Center PCs can work with non-Niveus devices, they are intended to be mated with the company’s CableCARD-equipped set-top box, storage server and DVD jukebox, Cutting said.