Alright, so basically, my dad has recruited me to build him a HTPC build, being a builder, but I primary build gaming systems, so I would like some advice on what to scale back or beef up, or what needs to be changed for a HTPC versus a Gaming Rig.
What he has currently is a Cable Box hooked up to a LG HDTV through HDMI, a DVD Player Hooked up to the Same TV, and an optional sony audio system, AV reciver which has 5.1 bose surround so that when he flips the audio system box on, the surround sound speakers are used, so what I need is a PC that will have component for the DVD player as well as a cable input so that he can replace the cable box.
The price point he wants is ~ $650 - $700 so I can't go throwing in a HD6870 like I would have wanted to, but here is what I have so far:
So first off how does this look? Do i need an additional graphics card if it is just going to be used for cable playback and DVD input? If so would a 2500k system need an additional card? Would that be a better set up for a budget build? How powerful of a graphics card are we looking at if its necessary?
Additionally, what type of devices can be used to plug in a DVD player or something similar in order to use that for DVD's instead of an inter DVD drive? (he has a 200 disc dvd and cd changer he wants to keep using)
Will I need some type of Audio card in order to use that A/V box he has? It seems like it is hooked up as a bypass, before the TV, but I would have to look more closely to get additional information.
Finally, what type of case would be good? I see little flat console HTPC cases with like 275W or 300W power supplies but that just sounds like a very small power supply for something like this? If I cant get something small like that, the case will go behind the TV and wont be seen, so looks don't really matter
First, I've got to mention that the HTPC landscape is changing with the introduction of AMD's Llano APU's. They're just shy of being available in retail. If you can wait a bit, I recommend you consider those instead of the AM3 + 880G setup (though that will work just fine too).
Next, I'm not sure I understand how you want things connected. You want your father's DVD changer to connect to the HTPC via component... is that correct? Does the Bose system have any receiver functions? The ideal setup is to have everything go to a receiver and then have the receiver output to the TV and speakers. The ideal setup will also use HDMI whenever possible too for both video and audio.
Also, with your father's 200 disc changer... I think you should introduce him to Media Browser. All the discs can be stored on the hard drive and he can access them through WMC:
It's very customizable and pretty slick looking.
Case selection is very subjective. There are HTPC cases that fit right in with other A/V equipment. You can get away with hiding it with only the USB IR receiver for the remote showing. It's totally up to you and your father.