Buying a PC box for the living room
It is not rocket science, you say. It is not, I do agree, but forget about getting it solved quickly once you do not want whatever they have to sell you. I just wanted to get an empty box that would fit in my TV table. My current TV computer uses a standard mid-tower beige-box. My only limitation was that I needed a box not taller than 14cm, but I had up to 50 cm width. It should be enough.... wrong!
The first box I bought was a new brand, Antler, a Poland-based company. The product was nice and well priced but I had a problem: It only accepted low-profile PCI cards and I needed one full size PCI slot. I went back to the web and I found this nice article. Thanks to them I could narrow down my choices to a couple of boxes only: Siverstone LC11 or CoolerMaster Media 260. The last one does not come with a power supply so it could be cheaper, or so I thought.
Unfortunately for CoolerMaster, the only partner they have in Spain that seems to sell retail is the Beep.es chain. It took them one week to email back just to tell I could not get a quote online and I needed to go to the shop in my city to get that information. I phoned three different shops, only one answered the phone, I asked them for a quote and availability of CM Media 260 but as time of this writing I'm still waiting for their answer (Beep Ruzafa, in case you ask).
Google use to be my friend when searching for a product, but it failed me in this case. I could find only a few shops that claimed to have the product. Given my lack of success with traditional shopping I decided to shop online. But, again, I faced the problem the box is only sold --apparently, because another mail to CoolerMaster Europe got unanswered, too-- with a remote control and vacuum fluorescent alpanumeric display. At least it works with Linux as I could check with LCDd project. But the bottom line is that I ended up shelling out around $180 for the thing (you can buy it for $90 on eBay in the USA). And please note this does not include a power supply.
At least I hope that the craftmanship will be on par with the price. If I am lucky I'll get the box on Friday so I could conduct my weekend's cursing ritual (while building the system). Still, it is cheap when you compare it with the >$1,000 new Fujitsu media centers.
Update: I've just get an answer from the Beep franchise shop. They are unable to sell me any version of RC-260. This really makes you wonder why they are on the list of CoolerMaster distributors in Spain on CoolerMaster website, also marked as having stock.