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Asus Bravo 220 review – media card

Rating: 5.0.

I admit it, I am a technology junkie and I always have been, when other kids were playing with Star Wars figures I was disassembling my father's radio and trying to figure out how it worked. “You got an unhealthy fixation, son” he would mutter as he slapped me on the head in disgust.

In later years when I bought a Carl Fogarty Ducati 996S, I took the bike apart and starting messing with mappings on my laptop generally trying to make it run better. I have probably broken as much as I have fixed, but I would never admit that. Hell, is this on?

When you label yourself a junkie it means that you are addicted in an unhealthy way to the topic of discussion .. it has gotten me into all sorts of trouble throughout the years, including starting several technology websites to feed my passions.

One of my ever increasing addictions in the area of technology is creating and tinkering with various media PC configurations. While my media PC should be sitting discretely beside the TV, it now vaguely resembles a Frankenstein monster. What started life as an Intel Atom small form factor PC has warped into a watercooled Core i7 920 running at 4GHZ on a Rampage Gene II board, with an SSD Raid and custom modded 2GB 285GTX inside a carbon fibre custom Shuttle based Cryo chassis. I even drilled holes and replaced all the fans with silent 12cm Noctua models. In a moment of reflection recently I looked hard, shook my head and wondered what had happened to my initial goals of “low power, silent and out of sight”. This thing sucks so much juice under load it would probably be more economical to go to the movies every night.

That said, what I love about the ‘Z-Special' (stop laughing) is the fact its whisper quiet, lightning fast and you can whip out the Xbox 360 controller and game when friends are over. I am even contemplating whether I should put a 980x into it. Why? I have no idea, I don't need it, I just want to try it. When people tell me its stupid, I just want to try it even more.

By now I am pretty confident I have also been describing a few of our readers, heck maybe even you. This neverending desire to create and mod things we really don't need, to push the limits, bend the rules. Then tell everyone about it afterwards with a smug look.

In the attempts to reduce the power draw of this system I recently had a discussion with Asus and they offered to send me their media center Bravo 220 card to tinker with. Checking the specifications, I thought the card was interesting, it was totally silent (fanless), consumed 21% less power than competiting Geforce 220 models and came bundled with a media software suite specifically designed for Windows. Will I miss the 285GTX? most likely, but lets take a look anyway…

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