HTPC Build Suggestions?

With the increase of popularity for HTPC rising dramatically, shouldn't there be a dedicated forum for them here on THW? Just a thought...

Anyway, I was looking in to building one of these although I'm not sure what to really go for. So far I see most people recommended low power consumption to keep the heat down and less fans spinning. I've seen people recommended one large harddrive and a simple back up method rather than multiple harddrives. I see people are very critical on the HTPC cases due to airflow and the such, again to keep the heat down.

I'm generally a gamer. I've never used my PC for anything else besides games and then the common things like school work, web browsing, chatting, etc etc.
I currently have an old 700watt home theatre system, no HDMI. My tv is a 40" Samsung 1080p.

What are your personal recommendations and suggestions? Here are some questions I have but feel free to add more questions and personal experiences dealing with HTPC's as this thread evolves.

Will the quality of the videocard effect the output for a Blu-ray player?
Is a dedicated videocard even necessary?
Is HDMI recommended for best quality of the image? Will an HDMI from the PC to the TV also deliver audio?
Onboard or dedicated audio?
What kind of TV Tuner do you prefer?
Does processing power matter much?

Links to specific hardware would be great as well.

Looking forward to hearing from you all. Enjoy the holidays!
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More about htpc build suggestions
  1. Well im no expert on HTPC's but one suggestion might be to get passive cooling to cut down on the noise level.
  2. This is exactly the same setup I have...big old speakers and a new 1080p TV. Looking for answers to the same questions you have haha.
  3. I guess it's a good thing this thread was created then. Hopefully the THW regulars will be able to lend a helping hand.
  4. Any ideas?
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