My main reason for building this is I am tired of having to hook my laptop to my TV to play my HD movies. This HTPC's sole purpose is to store and play 1080p Blu Ray rips on a 52" hdtv. Video will go through HDMI. Will probably use the optical for Audio at first and then HDMI for both when I get a new receiver with 1.3a repeater.
Here are my parts I've selected with a brief reason why I chose it. Please let me know if you have different opinions and why!
Unless you plan on installing Windows 7 from a USB stick, your going to need an optical drive, you may as well get one anyway, $20 gets you a good DVDRW drive... How do you plan on transferring the movies to the HTPC, over a network?
Oh sorry I didn't specify, I have plenty of DVD drives around that I can either put in it or just hook up temporarily to install so that's not an issue.
To transfer I will probably set up a remote login to it. I use logmein since it's free and easy so may just take control of it like that from desktop or from work to transfer stuff over. It will definitely be on a wired network.
I may look to see if it can even handle streaming over the network and ditch a hard drive if possible with 1080p. I tried it using a network media tank like Popcorn Hour but it doesn't really have enough processing to handle 1080p streaming. I just really want to free my laptop up!