Approximate Purchase Date: Next 1-3 weeks (definitely before 11-12-2011)
Budget Range: $750-$1050 After Rebates
System Usage from Most to Least Important: streaming HD internet video (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), recording over-the-air TV in HD, playing mp3 files, playing Blu-Ray and DVD disks, viewing and editing digital photos, general web surfing (Facebook, etc). Maybe some light gaming but nothing intense.
Parts Not Required: Monitor/TV (Samsung PN50A550), Stereo receiver/amp (Yamaha RX-V520), Universal remote
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: Horizontal case (not a tower) to fit in my entertainment center. Intel CPU/mobo
SLI or Crossfire: No?
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Additional Comments: Very quiet is important -- HTPC will be in living room and left on most of the time. Want a system that will last 4-6 years and support streaming HD content in various formats as it becomes more prevalent online. Needs to be able to record an over-the-air TV broadcast in HD while simultaneously playing a Blu-Ray movie at full 1080p, with no glitches or lag on either front. Quality is probably a little more important than price, but I don't want to overspend for my needs (which I consider relatively moderate -- this isn't a high-end gaming system).
Experience Level: I've built PCs in the past, but not in the last 5 years.
Newegg currently hashad a combo package that looks pretty decent to me, and I used that as the basis for quite a few of my selections.
Based on advice in other posts in this forum, plus some of my own research, I swapped a few parts, and am open to considering other changes. If any of these components are not compatible, or don't seem appropriate based on my goals above, please advise!
I know you said you want it quiet and I do understand why but the spot where you intend to pit this will be kind of enclosed if I'm right so you do want good ventilation. The power supply should have a fan because there is some heat generated there and the fans are not all that noisy. So for the psu I would go with one that has a fan. The blue Ray I would go with a LG , I have one and it is very good. I do think everything else looks ok.
The shelf where the HTPC will go is open in the front and back, not within a fully enclosed cabinet. Sorry I wasn't clear about that. I think it provides decent ventilation, but it's also why I'm conscious of eliminating fan noise. Here's a photo of where it will be located: http://www.aalaunfurniture.com/collections/arts-and-cra...
For the LG Blu-ray, is this what you had in mind? I actually like the appearance a little better than the Samsung and it has more cache: Optical: LG Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive Model UH12LS28 OEM LightScribe Support - OEM http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Regarding the two suggestions to switch from Intel to AMD:
Compared to my current selections, it looks like the cost would be identical to switch to the A8-3850 APU, or I could save $20 by going with the A6-3650 -- good to know, but pretty minor compared to the overall system cost. So I'm left with these questions:
1) The APUs are each listed at 100W, whereas the Intel Core i3-2120T is only 35W. My thinking was, less watts = less heat to dissipate => quieter operation... true, or not? Is there a real-world benefit to a lower-wattage processor?
2) I see that the AMD options are quad core instead of dual core, but is that really necessary or an important upgrade based on the usage I intend? Should I be concerned that the i3-2120T won't measure up to my expectations?
3) Perhaps Intel and AMD both offer good options, and the best answer here is "just pick one and go with it"... is that a reasonable way to sum it up?
Finally just want to say that I really appreciate the forums here at tomshardware, I've learned a lot from reading hundreds of posts in other threads as well as the responses here! I'm looking forward to putting this build together.