I have a Quad Core Dell Optiplex 755 DT with a Radeon 2400XT Graphics Card that came with it. I have basically started messing with this system to turn in into a HTPC ready for moving to my new flat.
Software wise I am using W7 Mediacenter with Mediabrowser which I am very happy with.
For movies it will be ripped Blu-Ray movies and HD iPlayer etc(x264 MKV rips in highest quality, these need to run flawlessly at 1080p, 24fps etc)
I will be fitting a DVB tuner in the system which will be mostly SD as will Sky Player. Up-scaling of this would be good.
I need a graphics card that has HDMI that carries the best sound possible. (Optical out would be a bonus)
Noise is not really an issue as I hope to put the system in my loft.
I would love to be able to play games as well upto say the standard of the xbox360 so maybe a card with good power saving that can ramp up when needed but run on little power when not.
As an aside, will a wireless RF media center remote wake up the system? If it will are there any recommendations?
If thats not an option are there any tiny IR sensors that I can hide on the TV wall mount somewhere?
Also if anyone from UK knows any good W7 compatible Dual Freeview tuners call them out.
Since you also want to play games, a 5750 would probably be a good choice for you. You will need to replace the stock PSU, if what you have is <400W. Choose one with full range active PFC (no little voltage switch) and at least 80+ certification. Antec, Corsair, PC Power & Cooling, Seasonic, and Enermax are among the better brands.
You may not need a card that expensive unless you want to play cutting edge games on high settings. The best cards you could get without switching the power supply* would probably be an ATI 4670, or a Nvidia GT 240. ($65-80) These would play almost all games, but maybe not the newest at the highest resolution settings. If you have more to spend jtt283's suggestion is a good one.
*maybe. this depends on what your PSU actually is. 250-300w could probably handle these lower suggestions.