I'm planning on doing building my own HTPC. I am a total novice with no techie experience.
It'll be a challenge but I ready to learn and do it.
So here goes:
APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Jul - Aug 2010
BUDGET RANGE: $1500 - $3000
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT:
Listen to Music - CD / MP3 / Pandora / Etc
Watch Blu-ray / DVD / Movie d/loads & Live Streams via internet
Watch TV [OTA Antenna only]
Burn CD / DVD
Connect Camcorder & Camera
Store Pic / Camrec / Movie
Surf the web
Connect to my home network wirelessly
PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
TV [Sony 40" LED]
Speakers [Energy 5.1 Mini]
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: Newegg
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: Intel
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe [Don't know what this is]
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe [Don't know what this is]
MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 - I think that's what the TV is.
Quiet PC / Attractive Case / Need great audio output with or without a A/V Rec.
Hmm at 1st glance : your budget is way too high and if looking for silent you'd want to either run GPUs with passive cooling or with advancement in IGP capability consider the most current IGP chipsets ^^ These would do fine for HTPC duty and seeing gaming is not on the table for your needs? 1394/Firewire would be handy in your case
I agree w/ another poster...your budget is way too high...I just finished building an HTPC and attached it thru my new ONKYO receiver.....I connected the PC video thru HDMI, but the audio thru an optical cable...I probably could have used HDMI for the audio too, but had some driver problems I just didn't want to work thru. I used a lot of parts that I had handy or left over from previous builds, but I spent less than $700 on everything (if i had purchased it all new).
Just a few thoughts...
Aim for very low noise from fans, etc. Get 12 CM slow case fans if possible (20 dbs noise max.),,,Get a BIG hard disk, audio and video files take a lot of space...I have around 6000 songs that take 50 GB. One hour of HD video will be 5-7 GB.
Too keep it cheap, look at the AMD dual and triple core processors. I have two pcs with these...a 720 and a 440...good speed for your application and moderately good for games.
Case - I like the Nmedia cases that look like stereo equipment...a more complicated build than a mid-tower...but really slick looking in a home entertainment setting.
On board video may be good enough for your needs...otherwise you might look at a Radeon 4650...cheap but good for HDTV.
Hauppauge makes good TV capture cards...I have successfully used them for years.
Get 2 GB ram...but it's so cheap right now, I'd get 4.
I use an IOGEAR keyboard and mouse...good wireless connectivity for 30 feet.
Pull an ethernet cable from you router to the entertainment center...you'll be surprised how much HULU, etc you'll watch.
Here are the specs of my 2.5 year old HTPC. It will do everything you're wanting your system to do, other than play Blu-Ray a connect to a wireless network.
Case - NMediaPC 200BA
Power Supply - Antec 500 Watt
Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-965GM-S2
CPU - Intel Core2Duo E6600
RAM - G-Skill 2GB (2x1GB) DDR2-667
Graphics - ATI Radeon 2600 Pro
Sound - BGears B-Enspirer 7.1 sound w/Optical out
HDD1 - Seagate 160GB SATAII (OS/Apps)
HDD2 - Seagate 750GB SATAII (Media) - Note: I also have all my encoded media backed up to a separate storage system.
DVD - Lite-On SATAII DVD burner
TV Tuner - AVerMedia AVerTV Combo PCI-E
OS - Microsoft Windows XP MCE 2005
Keyboard - Microsoft MCE Wireless Keyboard
Remote - Microsoft MCE Remote
When bought and built, this would have been considered overkill for it's purposes. Today, probably still so. If I were to build a system today for these purposes, I'd either go with something similar to ryeaman's recommendations (AMD dual/tri-core with a discrete graphics card) or look at the Intel CoreI3/I5 with integrated graphics. For HTPC purposes, I must recommend getting multiple hard drives. I like having two in the HTPC (one for the OS) so I can reformat, if necessary, without worry of losing my media. As I mentioned before, I also have another drive in another system in case of hard drive failure. Trust me, you do NOT want to have to re-encode all of your media when a hard drive fails!
Concerning the wireless connection, I'd think long and hard on finding a way to use a wired connection. I ran a secondary HTPC in the bedroom that originally ran wirelessly. Video playback had plenty of lag/choppiness.
Audio - I also have my HTPC connected to an Onkyo receiver (HT-S3200). Many motherboards come with S/PDIF optical or coax (digital) audio output and this would more than suffice for your needs if your current mini-receiver has an matching input.
DVR - While I like my AVerTV card, I'd also recommend going with a Hauppauge TV card (probably the 1850). This should record your OTA TV signals with ease and it even comes with a nice remote control (I used that remote with the secondary HTPC).
All told, you should be able to come in well under $1000 for the entire system.
The minimum card recommended by engineer at XFX for a home theater was 5670.
I was going with a 5870, but now I'm going to try them both side by side.
Since I am using the PC for Blu ray, streaming video, cable TV, satellite TV, photo editing, CAD, high res scanning negatives, photos,
and I want to use the desktop computer and play HD movies at the same time, on two screens, I see nothing wrong with a quad core processor. In fact it might be nice to have six cores.
As far as the video card goes, may the best one win. If the cheaper card does everything these people say it will do, so be it.
I really have my doubts about the little dinky card VS. the battleship.
When in doubt, build it stout.