I'm seeking opinions on the best combination of processing power, initial cost and running cost involved if I'm going to buy a 24hr HTPC/Home Server. To make it simple lets assume I'm able to get any component that exists on the planet.
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Watch Full HD movies, run Win 7 with Media Centre, stream movies & audio Wirelessly throughout the house, torrents, capable of playing some low graphic intensive 3D games (in my case FIFA 09)
IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER: Power consumption since it's running 24/7, enough power to do all the tasks mentioned above concurrently, quiet operation
Personally I haven't had much experience with AMD based systems in recent years. Please keep that in mind when reading my reasons.
Nvidia ION based Atom N330 system
Pro: This would obviously be the lowest power consumption system
Cons: Firstly will it have enough power to run so many programs concurrently (I'm not sure), secondly the initial cost of a Nvidia ION based MB or pre-built system is quite expensive
Pentium Dual Core E6300 with G31 + discrete graphics
Pro: The major benefit here is the inital cost, which is very low, G31 MB are the cheapest about. This system will definitely be able to handle all the tasks listed above. Power consumption is decent probably around 50-60W idle.
Cons: Probably there won't be optical audio output.
A good place to start reading is on the AVS Forum. Specifically
There a builds for different performance and price ranges. I would recommend GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H with on board Nvidia GeForce 9400 video chipset or something from a different vendor if you can't find it.