$1000 Combo HTPC-Gaming-DVR Machine

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within 5 months BUDGET RANGE: $1000 After Rebates OS: Will be buying Win 7 Pro

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: HD DVR, Movies (inc. Blu-Ray), TV, FPS Games (Call of Duty and Op. Flashpoint series), Photo/Video editing, Home

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Monitor (45+" ~$3000 TV, 240 Hz, 3d-Capable, Picture-in-Picture, Not bought yet), keyboard, mouse, Sound (will be upgrading to 5.1 or 7.1 surround separately later)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, ncix.com, MicroCenter, reputable sources COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Looking for Something with a long upgrade path for the future. Leaning towards cheapest i7 socket 1366 right now. Socket 1156 and 775 seems to be ending soon. I would go for AMD, but AM3 looks like it might be getting replaced with their new Fusion lineup coming out next year.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe, but only with stock voltage SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Yes, in the future, but not right now

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Noise is a factor, for things being equal, but not as important. Looking to put this system together for/with my dad, who is paying for the computer/TV/Sound setup. This will connect to a Big Screen TV (see above specs) that has not been purchased yet, new surround sound system (5.1 or 7.1) not purchased yet either. House is wired with Coax and Cat5e 100 Mb ethernet. (Cable ready, but Currently just using Free Over the Air Digital TV with a large antennae in the attic feeding through the house via the coax, but will upgrade to Verizon FIOS, when it becomes available sometime in the next few years).

Note: This is going to be a High End HTPC with about 1 TB storage initially, with lots of room for upgrades as time passes, that is going to do a lot of work. Needs to be reliable, stable, and ideally, long life.

Key Feature: Dont know if this is possible, but my dad wants to be able to do simultaneous Gaming and TV (via Picture in Picture) and simultaneously be able to have the computer DVR either the TV channel and/or the Game being played. Is this even possible with todays hardware/software? If so, how would that be implemented?

TV Tuner: so the TV tuner needs to be able to allow DVR on over the air TV right now. I can upgrade to a different tuner when FIOS becomes an option. if possible, tune/DVR 2+ channels simultaneously, or while gaming. Leaning towards the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR2250 dual tuner, or ASUS MyCinema PE9400. Thoughts? suggestions?

Im still muddling through motherboard and case reviews, but i think im settling on a cpu and video card so far:

$160 - Radeon 5770 (Best bang for the buck, with decent heat control, power consumption and noise level, and CF capable for future upgrade)

$290 Intel i7 920 (cheapest 1366 i can find), and underclock it to keep temperature and fan noise under control. Games are only going to be played at 1080p. Is this enough for simultaneous gaming, DVR, and TV?
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  1. Also, forgot to add that the HTPC will be connected to the house network (100 Mb Linksys router) connected to Verizon DSL service, and will be used for online streaming (Hulu, Netflix, NBConline, etc.). The dsl connection streams HD content fairly well and reliably.
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