You bought a $540 CPU for an HTPC? The i3 is the perfect HTPC CPU and is only like $120. How about you send me some of that cash you have laying around?
Asus P7P55D-E Pro. The problems are likely just a bad batch. If it happens to you, RMA it.
nVidia isn't worth it. It's not future proof at all. Since you paid $540 for a CPU, I'm assuming you're loaded. Get the HD 5970 for $650 if you can find it in stock.
Sorry, not loaded, CPU was a gift. Now I'm trying to scratch up funds to try to make a system that will last a while. I realize HTPC is basically a throughput device, but believe I can find other ways to use the horsepower of this processor, and want to be ready for anything I throw at it in coming years (like Photoshop, 3D HD, video/sound editing perhaps?). Am already afraid to see the best GPU prices and might be looking for an interim solution for graphics. Have a lesser system that could suffice for a bare bones HTPC for now as I catch up on all the technology & OS potentials.