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HTPC - Which motherboard will suit these needs?

December 21, 2012 5:05:46 PM

Hello everyone. Sorry for being a n00b, but I'm trying to build my first HTPC and am learning along the way. Since my research suggests the motherboard could quite possibly be the most important component, I really don't want to get it wrong.

My needs / uses for the HTPC:
- Running xbmc on Win7, and high-quality media playback from my NAS. (Some media files are up to 30GB in size - lossless blu-ray quality).
- Would like to play everything I have loss-lessy... meaning, no transcoding or sacrificing quality during playback. I will have this HTPC connected to my Denon 2112CI receiver via HDMI.
- I would like to run both audio and video through HDMI to my receiver.
- Some audio formats I have my media in are FLAC, DTS, DTS-MA, Dolby TrueHD, etc. I want to preserve all quality - so, whether I get an HTPC that can passthrough the signals to my Denon, or, have the HTPC decode everything to LPCM should work.
- I would also like to integrate my DirecTV browsing into my HTPC via xbmc... but this may not require anything special. (Perhaps a tv card?). If so, I want to be able to losslessy transfer that media too (up to 1080p and 5.1 surround).
- I also need connectivity for a fast SSD for the OS. I'm looking at the Crucial M4 64GB.
- USB 3.0 ports a must, as well as HDMI out port for audio and video signals. I would assume a fast slot for a dedicated graphics card too, if I choose to get one at some point (would PCI Express 3.0 be appropriate? What are the differences with 8x, 16x?)

Any recommendations are appreciated.

Thanks!

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