Greetings, kindly critique the following HD/HTPC build. The primary purpose of the system is audio and video playback (Blu-ray/DVD & CD/MP3) and Internet access. The system will not be used for gaming, broadcast TV, nor will it be connected to cable, or satellite TV. The system will be connected to a LG 32LP1D 1080i LCD TV (using HDMI) and a Rotel RSX1056 (5.1) Receiver (using Fiber Optic). Audio/Video quality is paramount to the build.
Case Antec New Solution NSK2480 Black/Silver 0.8mm cold-rolled steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 380W Power Supply – Retail
Hard Drive SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM
Optical Drive LG (Model GGW-H20L) Black 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 4X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 40X CD-R 24X CD-RW 40X CD-ROM 4MB Cache SATA Super Multi Blu-ray Disc Burner & HD DVD-ROM Drive – Retail
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 w/SP2B – OEM
(1) Microsoft 69Z-00001 Silver 101 Normal Keys 18 Function Keys USB Bluetooth Wireless Ergonomics Entertainment Desktop 7000 Mouse Included – Retail
(2) Microsoft A9O-00007 Windows XP Media Center Infrared Remote Control
That on board video is pretty weak for HD playback but it will work. Vista Media Center is better forsure than MCE 2005. The Antec Fusion case has much better air flow than the NSK 2480 and is virtually silent.
Perfect. It's almost exactly what I want to build my HTPC into. (Currently have the NSK2480 case - without the Earthwatts, and a old Athlon XP system with a junker PSU).
I would suggest getting Vista Home Premium, unless you're really adamant about retaining XP MCE. Also, no HTPC is complete without a Hauppauge 1600 (PCI) or 1800 (PCIe 1x) for Analog, Digital OTA and Cable TV input.
I don't even think you would need to use Media center. I'd save some money and use a linux distro (though I'm not sure how well that mobo will work for HD playback in linux). Mythdora, mythbuntu, or even just fedora or kubuntu with all the appropriate repositories. Geexbox is real simple and effective too. Then add something like an ATI remoter wonder.
Nothing needs changing. Pull out that credit card.
Although I'd cast another vote for Vista Home Premium and it's Media Center abilities.
TechReport review on the GIGABYTE GA-MA78GM-S2H shows the HD Video playback strength.
The whole review should interest you.
The OP said this build isn't for TV watching, so a capture card is not necessary.
The 780G onboard video is fine for HD/Blu-Ray playback. It was designed for it. The OP has done his homework on that one. A discreet video card is only needed if there will be 3D intensive games played on this HTPC.
The media center software is a matter of personal preference. Linux, XP MCE, or Vista Premium... whatever floats your boat. I personally like Vista's media center myself. MS got that one right IMO.
For your peripherals, you may want to research your bluetooth items. Some bluetooth peripherals are known to have problems after coming out of S3 sleep mode (a must for any HTPC). There are Microsoft hotfix topics on this subject: KB929577 and KB941997 that you should be aware of. When I first built my HTPC, I had a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and they would not reconnect after coming out of sleep. I did not know about the MS hotfixes then, so I exchanged the bluetooth items for a non-bluetooth RF setup and have been happy since.