Hi, I built my current htpc a few years ago now and am looking at a partial upgrade. Here is what i have.
3gb ddr2 800 ram (generic)
250gb hdd + 320gb for recording only
monitor is my 42inch 1080p plasma
asus quiettrack dvdrw
Gigabyte GA-M57SLI-S4 nForce 570-SLI
AMD Athlon 64 5000+ (I think)
Antec Neo HE430 430w powersupply
Thermaltake Orb cpu cooler
Hauppauge Nova s-plus
asus wireless card
running windows 7 media centre, have usb controllers for the odd game
I think thats it...
So am going to upgrade to an HD system. here is what i am looking at so far
1 tb hdd
LG GGW-H20L bluray drive
Prof dvb s2 8000 pci express sat card (not sure on this as would like dual tuner, maybe 2 of these?)
graphics card? i have a hd4670 sitting around but wat best possible way to do 1080p
new motherboard and cpu, needs to be able to do HD sound. full atx is fine.
Motherboard needs to have, pci slot x 2 ideally. pcie slot 1 for gpu + minimum of 2 for sat card/s.
Mostly need help on what mb + cpu to get. Intel or amd?
Look into the new 785G's, but be forewarned that it can only use the AM3 proc, and DDR3 RAM. Look for ASUS, or Gigabyte (as these have the sideboard RAM built in). The onboard video is easily capable of playing Blu-Ray movies (or 1080p), leaving the PCIx16 slot for a tuner card (besides the PCI slots). AMD has the best onboard video BTW.
There's a whole slew of small form factor kits that were made for the HTPC role, though be forewarned that the only thing most of those kits do very well is HTPC. If you plan on using your build for more than only HTPC, you're better off with a more standard build keeping HTPC functions in mind.
If you are interested in the small form factor kits, Zotac has some neat little mini-ITX boards that will fit the bill. Also, look for any Atom based boards that have a NVIDIA Ion GPU. If you use your HTPC a lot, or keep it on most of the time, the power savings alone would probably cover the premium price for those parts right now.
If you have to go with the larger boards because of your sat card setup, I would advise biting the bullet and upgrade to DDR3 RAM along with the new motherboard.
3 GB of generic DDR2 RAM isn't ideal for performance, and DDR3 4GB RAM kits are pretty reasonable now with deals/rebates.
I also agree AMD has the best onboard video right now, I just find the NVIDIA Ion interesting since systems built around it use so little power. Intel will shake up the integrated graphics market when the core i3's become available next year, but since you're buying now and not in the future, AMD is the way to go.
Am definately going larger board. partly for upgradability and partly for the odd gaming.
I do use it all the time, maybe 3hours a day, however im not really worried about power consumption.
I am happy to use gpu as opposed to onboard video, whats the better option? as i have had problems trying to get a good usable display with a dvi - hdmi cable?
do i need a board/card with hdmi output?