Looking for a 3D Bluray HTPC with possible Retro Gaming, advice?


My current Media Center is a 2TB External HDD with a portable build of XBMC Dharma on it. It works like a charm, and looks just as good, but the problem is it requires a host Laptop / PC, and then said system needs to be able to output to a TV or Monitor, let alone be able to handle HD content. This works fine on my Tower at home, but not so much when I'm with friends or family, as not everyone has a powerful setup.

So, I'm thinking of building a HTPC, one that I can just plug into any monitor / TV with HDMI ports, and go from there. However, I'd like it to have Windows OS on it, mainly because I'm a huge gamer and the alure of having all my emulators and ROM Dumps playable in hi-def, all in one place, let alone maybe getting Steam in my living room is a huge temptation.

I'd also like to try and get Blu-Ray and/or 3D playback as well, just to really push my HTPC to the next level.

Of course, the tricky bit is keeping this moderately low-priced, as well as small and quiet enough to function as a living room HTPC, or if not at least portable enough to move to someone's house without much trouble.

Thanks in advance for any tips / advice!

Approximate Purchase Date: Summer / Fall

Budget Range: 500 - 700$

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Blu-Ray / Hi-Def (1080p) Playback, Powerful Enough to run XBMC Dharma, Gaming (Emulators / Steam, Internet Surfing and/or Streaming, Ability to use a Webcam (if it's going to be in the living room, it'd be great for keeping in touch with distant friends / family)

Parts Not Required: speakers, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon, tigerdirect, anywhere that takes paypal and is reputable

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences:
HTPC case, or Small case

Moderately-Highly possible, depending on performance vs. comfort issues (noise, heat, etc.)

Monitor Resolution:
Various - 1080p and/or 3D being tops though. Ranges from 18" to 72" monitors/televisions.

Additional Comments:
Mainly playback of HD content is the biggest goal here. The webcam use, emulators are secondary, but would be very much liked if the price is reasonable.

Emulators I use: MAME, Snemul, Project 64, NullDC, Dolphin.
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  1. Also, on a side note:

    Would this build work in terms of the webcam use and/or emulator running?


    What would it take for me to take that 500$ build, and add the Blu-Ray / 3D functionality to it?
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