I'm looking to build a home media center to use solely for connecting to HDTV and playing videos (planning to put Linux and Boxee on it). It needs to be powerful enough to smoothly play 1080P HD videos without lagging and sound getting out of sync. The case needs to be small enough to fit under the TV (i.e. be horizontal) - something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168.... The hard drive should be as large as possible, as I want to store a lot of movies locally.
I would love to spend no more than $400 on everything.. but it's been a few years since I last built a computer, so I have no idea what video cards, processors, motherboards are good now.
Instead of the Seagate, since they actually fail/break a lot more often than WD or Samsung, a faster and equally as good drive. (Probably faster) is the Samsung F3 1TB, sure it's a smaller size but the platter size is great and you should probably wait till Thanksgiving because the F3 is usually on sale around that time for only 55$.
4GB is really excessive for a HTPC with a Linux build go with 2x1GB DDR3 and save 40-50 bucks.
Ive never met anyone to recommend the Seagate 7200.11 series until now. Buy the Samsung Spinpoint F3 500GB as an OS drive and a meaty 1.5-2TB HDD as the Data drive. Feel free to reference my information for my HTPC set up.
Re: TV tuner card - I'm not planning to get cable subscription - that's why I want to build this.. so I don't think I'll need a TV tuner card.. unless there are purposes for it other than recording TV?