ability to support Bluray 3D in the future on a 1080p TV with the new HDMI 1.4A (aka HDMI 3D) input - I am OK with adding a new video card for this. I'll add the Bluray drive at this time as well.
Cheap NVidia GPU with s-video out using PCIe x1 recommendation
Comments on case selection
Comments on overall build plan
Opinion on if the processor is sufficient
RAM recommendation (plan for 2x2GB)
Well I'm not sure why I didn't get any responses but the build is done now so I thought I would post what I did as an FYI for anyone that is interested.
I replaced the SiTouch mini-keyboard/mouse combo with the Logitech diNovo mini. This is a fantastic addition to a media center PC setup to control a TV.
Regarding the things I was looking for feedback on:
I bought a BFG GeForce 8400 GS PCI-e card as a stopgap until I go to Bluray.
I bought a Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 motherboard. No complaints so far.
The case is working out really well. It was a little difficult to work with because it is small and not tooless but it is very well thought out and looks good.
I bought the cheapest memory I could get with a real brand name. This turned out to be Corsair. No complaints.
I used an existing 500GB HDD as the boot partition so the Green 2TB drive does not cause any problems and the extra storage space is great.
The system is working out well. With media center, netflix, and Hulu I always have something to watch even without cable channels.
I'm just not sure why anyone would build a HTPC. That is probably why you never got a response. What's wrong with a HD DVR...PS3 for streaming Netflix and Blu-Rays and a solid HDMI based surround sound? Please tell me what justifies a HTPC.
Did you try the system out without the graphics card? It seems like the consensus opinion (just what I gather from trying to read the HTPC posts) is that the i3 doesn't need a video card to run blu ray smoothly.
I like the interface of the HTPC. Most of the DVRs I have seen aren't as nice.
A PS3 can't have tuner cards and do DVR.
I also use my HTPC as a home file server.
I also use it for Hulu desktop.
I haven't seen another solution that works as well for me.
I went with 4GB.
I didn't run it w/o the graphics card because I needed s-video out to connect to my old TV. I will upgrade the TV eventually but I am waiting on 3D TV prices to come down. The card was pretty cheap and I haven't had any problems.
If you want to see pictures of my setup then I'm afraid there isn't much to see. There is an old 27" tube TV and a black box that says Phillips on the DVD tray. It's in an old Sauder cabinet with some family pictures on top. Once I can get a decent 3D TV for a good price (say a Samsung 8000 series) then I will redo the rest of the setup.