Looking for thoughts on how to get a balanced HTPC that is quiet, energy efficient, doesn't generate a lot of heat, and provides good HDTV video output (preferably via component video because I'm trying to hook to an older German TV) but HDMI&VGA should be optional outputs. Good audio output to a surround sound system is a must.
Small case, appearing similar to other home theater devices, silver preferred to black but not a deal breaker.
Case will probably require small form factor motherboard
Silent as possible (would like to find a motherboard that effectively uses heat pipes to distribute heat in order to use few fans, I'm too scared to use water cooling or other alternate cooling techniques unless someone can convince me it's easy)
Would like some form of data storage that is scalable, preferably eSATA RAID enclosure that could sit away from the PC itself, but I don't want lag playing video from this storage device
Needs to be simple enough for wife to use, have a remote, and wireless keyboard for internet use
Integrated wireless, I don't want to hook up to my network via ethernet cable
Needs to be able to throughput video and audio via different inputs
DVD or BluRay drive, with requirement of burning DVDs
I don't normally build this kind of computer so here are some thoughts to steer me away from my normal path
As form factor is an issue, onboard components are good
Would 2 SATA 3.0 RAID 0 drives make enough data throughput for boot/virtual memory to make any difference?
Would prefer to use newegg.com for price comparisons, but open to other vendors if not in stock there
Maintain energy efficiency
Not sure what CPU to use, whether a mobile CPU would be better or something like a Core Quad
Want to keep costs reasonable, for sure less than $2K, preferably near $1K, excluding storage.
I like Gigabyte boards, but willing to go for another good brand.
I'm not in a huge hurry but let's try to price this thing based on October 2009 rates.