The Gigabyte AVPC performed very well overall, but to be honest it didn't do anything particularly dazzling. XP Media Center Edition 2005 is a great backbone to any HTPC, and considering the specs of the system, it performed precisely as we expected it would.
It's also fully ready for Windows Vista, even though it's not marketed as such. That's yet another advantage of compliance with Intel Viiv architecture.
The software bundle was, frankly, disappointing - Gigabyte could have done better with a later version of PowerDVD and a better DVD burning package. But considering that the whole point of a vendor-built HTPC is to get Windows XP MCE 2005 working as well as possible, the generally poor third-party software (with the exception of Norton Internet Security 2006, which is a nice touch) doesn't have a negative impact on the system overall.
The most impressive aspects of this system are the work which Gigabyte has put into developing the case and the external power supply. Apart from looking great, Gigabyte have created a case which fits seamlessly into any home theatre environment, and will complement any other home theatre systems you already have. The external power supply is a great innovation also, reducing internal heat build-up thus limiting the need for extra intake and extraction fans and resulting in a cooler and quieter system.
The Gigabyte AVPC H663 would make a great addition to any home theatre just as long as you don't need HDCP support for next generation movie playback. In the meantime, we look forward to checking out Gigabyte's new H971 which is coming soon.
Low power and low heat generation
7-in-1 Card Reader
Bundled IR keyboard and MCE remote
Poor software bundle
A little outdated now, no HDMI (HDCP) support
Rating - 9 out of 10