24/7 HTPC / Home Server

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.


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

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe if it can be justified

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No considering the power usage

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  1. Personally I haven't had much experience with AMD based systems in recent years. Please keep that in mind when reading my reasons.

    Option 1:

    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

    Option 2:

    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.

    Please post your preferred system and reasons.
  2. A good place to start reading is on the AVS Forum. Specifically http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=940972

    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.

  3. My suggestion would be -
    1. AMD Sempron 140 Sargas + 2. GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H AM3/AM2+/AM2

    1. Low power consumption
    2. Onboard graphics can easily handle 1080p playback
    3. Cheap
    4. There is a possibility of unlocking the 2nd core on that Sempron. Just read its reviews.

    Just not sure how well you will be able to play on that CPU and mobo. But you sure can if you are able to unlock the 2nd core...
  4. Also check out Tom's "Blu-ray Done Right: How Does Your Integrated GPU Stack Up?" http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/avivo-purevideo-clearvideo,2408.html It's full of a lot of good information and what to expect with the different video chipsets and High definition audio.

  5. You may want to check the upcoming ZOTAC ION ITX-F mb.

    Atom 330 ion + PCI-E 16x slot if you want to add a better GPU later.

    I am using the IONITX-D-E as htpc 1080p/file server without any problem.

    However, it does not have enough cpu/graphic power for games.


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