I am going to be building my HTPC this week and have a few parts left...
Watch / recording live tv
stream it to another tv in the house via Ceton tuner
watch Hulu / Netflix
What I have:
Ceton InfiniTV Tuner
4 x 2 GB Patriot G Series 'Sector 5' edition DDR3-1600 (PC-12800)
Cooler Master Hyper 212+
2 x 2 TB Hitachi Deskstar 5K3000
Cooler Master 550W Power Supply
Cooler Master Mystique 631 Case (Used in a previous computer)
My biggest concern left is a SSD & Motherboard / processor.
For the SSD I was looking at getting a 60gb Sata III SSD for the operating systems and basic programs (going to use the 4tb for recordings). Looking at the $100-125 range if anyone has recommendations as Crucial and OCZ are at about the same price point?
For the processor I am looking at either i3 2100 vs 2105 vs A8-3850 as I think the 2500k might be a little overkill. For the 2100 vs 2105 the only difference I see is HD2000 vs. HD3000 graphics. This is going to be hooked up to a 52" Sony LED TV through HDMI. I also figured that I would be able to stick with a H67 board unless SSD caching is worth the extra money for the Z68?
I also see another option being AMD's new A8-3850..
The i3 2100 coupled with a cheapish HD graphics card will probably be best. If your going to be using integrated graphics, even for watching TV it wont be a good experience. Something like the NVIDIA GT220 should be fine, even the G210 will be much better and can be picked up for about £17. I wouldnt bother with the Z68 either.
I would wait for the A8-3850 to come out. It's supposed to cost about $130, not sure about a socket FM1 (???) motherboard though.
It is supposed to be roughly equal to the Athlon II X4 and Radeon HD 5550. The quad core should come in handy if you are gonna record a live show and watch a blu-ray movie. So that would make the A8-3850 an ideal solution.
The Core i3 is generally more powerful than the A8-3850, but it is only a dual core CPU. Therefore, in multi-threaded apps the A8 can outperform the i3.
I built an HTPC a month or so ago, and chose the i3 2125. Mostly because it was the same price as the 2105 at the time, and I wanted the extra breathing room of HD 3000 vs. HD 2000. It look slike pricings have changed now, so the
I haven't yet tried to play anything that it couldn't handle, including BR quality media on my 51" Plasma. For a lot of streaming and direct play i3 has enough oomph to make up for any lack of graphics horsepower. To the point, many people regard the lower powered i3 2100t as being the current standard in pure HTPC applications. (avsforums.com is a great source for HTPC's in general.)
I haven't even considered trying even light gaming with the integrated graphics, but for everything I've thrown at it media playback wise, its handled it like a champ.
I run XBMC as my primary player, WMPC as a back up. Most stuttering I've come across has been a result of the media player or codec in use, and not the CPU/GPU (or lack there of).
I wouldn't suggest the A8 unless you have serious intentions of mid range gaming on the thing, in which case the A6 should be sufficient, and cheaper. Anything more than that, then you will likely need a discrete card anyway, in which case it tilts back towards the i3 imo.
I was quite paranoid about needing to add a discrete card to my setup to have everything run smoothly, and I'm quite glad I didn't need to.