First, thanks for taking the time to look over my system and offer feedback and advice. This is my 5th build, but first ever HTPC. This machine will only be used for watching HD video, lots of storage for my home network, and maybe some light game emulation (e.g. NES, SNES emulators).
This CPU handles my 1080 video onboard, without need of a separate GPU. At the same time, I'll probably need to do some occasional encoding/ripping to get things in the right format, and this cpu gives me more muscle to do that than an Atom processor mini-itx setup. (at least, that's my thinking. Would appreciate any different insights anybody might have).
I like this case well enough. Has a nice look to it, and it has an external 5.25 bay, an external 3.5 bay, and an internal 3.5 bay. And I love the price. I plan to mount a 3.5 hdd in the internal bay (a 640gb hdd which I'll use to store backup images of my laptops, which therefore should rarely be spinning and generating heat/noise). The external 3.5 bay I'll use for a face plate card reader/extra usb 2.0, which also has mounting brackets for two 2.5 hdds behind the face plate. The external 5.25 bay will hold the optical drive (either blu ray reader, or blu ray with light scribe).
An attractive looking and attractively priced external 4 bay enclosure. My mobo has an esata port, but doesn't support RAID/Port multiplication. So item 5 on this list is a simple RAID card w/ esata ports to let me turn this tower into a single RAID 5 volume.
As I understand it, this card handles the esata port multiplication and RAID 5 so that I can use item 5 as a raid volume. As I understand it, cheap cards of this variety use the cpu to do the raid calculations. I'm thinking this won't be a problem since the i3-540 cpu should have plenty of leftover horsepower to handle this. (thoughts?)
6) RAM - 4 gigs of the cheapest DDR3 I can find at the various black friday sales. Since this rig won't be doing any gaming, I'm thinking I don't need to care about memory with tight timings, etc. The mobo supports up to 1333 speed, so my strategy is to get the cheapest 1333 ram regardless of timings. (agree on this approach? is there any reason at all to consider getting 8gb of ram?)
If I don't get an ssd, then I'm going to get a 500gb 2.5" laptop drive to serve as the boot drive. I'd get way more storage than an ssd, and comparable power usage, but my boot time would be pretty slow... plus a 2.5" hdd costs $30-$50
I definitely don't want to use a 3.5" drive as the boot drive. I don't need that kind of capacity, and don't want the added heat or noise.
However, that remote is like $400, so I'm not in a hurry on that last part. Anyone have a recommendation for a more reasonably priced remote that is still easy to use?
The main thing with the remote is that it needs to operate the tv and the pc, and it has to be easy enough to use that everyone in my house isn't constantly bugging me because I'm the only one that can work it. (that wouldn't be good for W.A.F. - wife acceptance factor).