Trying to choose an ITX motherboard/CPU for HTPC


I am building my first computer, so bear with me. I want to build a HTPC. It doesn't need to be bleeding edge, just good enough to be future proof for 3 or 4 years or so. Still, I'd like to get the best board for the money I wish to spend.

After a LONG and very tedious process, I've narrowed down my search. I've decided to go minimal, and get a mini-ITX board with an integrated CPU. I only need 1 expansion slot, which I'll use for my TV tuner, because I don't need a graphics/sound card. The onboard is fine with me. I will be using this mainly to use as a DVR for cable and HD antenna, and to stream from the web. I'm probably not going to be streaming HD or anything else crazy like that, but it would be nice anyway. I won't be doing much, if any, gaming.

I'd like to have 2 hard drives, a 1TB HDD and a 60GB SSD for the OS, which will probably be Linux (although, since I've never used Linux in my life, this may end up being Windows 7 if my patience leaves me learning it). I'll also have a Blu Ray optical drive.

My problem is, there are SO many choices, and I have such a hard time narrowing them down! Thank goodness Newegg only lets me compare 5 parts, or I'd probably have more. Here are the 5 I am choosing from:|13-500-036^13-500-036-TS%2C13-500-027^13-500-027-TS%2C13-500-051^13-500-051-TS%2C13-131-653^13-131-653-TS%2C13-131-663^13-131-663-TS

Most of these look the same to me. Yeah, the last 2 have wireless, which is nice, but probably unnecessary for me. The only one that stands out is the ASUS AT5: It only has room for one HD, but supposedly the graphics card is much better than the rest, so I kept it in there just in case.

My intuition says to go with the ASUS AT3: DDR3 memory support, and its the cheapest, although $30 for a better board is no problem. That's why I posted: to see if my intuition is correct, or if I'm TOTALLY missing something from this equation.

Thanks for your help!
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  1. I'd go for the $149.99 asus; gets decent reviews and has a separate pci-e slot. Only negative is no dvi port. Newegg also has an Apex MI-008 mini itx case with power supply for $36.99 with free shipping with email promo code EMCZZNN25. You have to be registered for the promo code to work.
  2. Tonight only, newegg has a foxconn atom barebone setup with case, ps, board/atom cpu, and two gigs of ddr2 for only $115. It's a shellshocker deal.
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