I'm looking to build a new HTPC for a friend, and wanted to keep the build as cheap as possible. I would prefer to use a micro-ATX form factor to keep the footprint small.
The requirements for the machine are low, he will only be using it to browse, email, play internet video, and potentially blu-ray. No gaming whatsoever. He will be running the setup on a 1080p TV and I want it to feel snappy and responsive for him, but he does not need a lot of computing power.
The components that I'm curious about are mostly CPU/GPU/mobo combinations, how low-end I can go and still maintain the desired performance, etc. I'm not concerned about the memory, PSU, case, etc. as I can find this all on my own.
It's a barebone kit so you just need to add ram and the hard drive or SSD of your choice. An external blu-ray drive can added now or later if desired. With the right drivers, programs, and codecs installed it will be able to handle all htpc tasks.
It seems like both of you agree that Atom is powerful enough for my requirements, which was my primary question, so thank you.
Before I close the topic, however, I wanted to add one additional random thought to this thread. It's unrelated, but I was curious what you thought of using Wi-Di to achieve the same purpose, mainly to be able to watch internet video on a large screen. I know the adapters run about $100, and you need a laptop with the hardware, but do you have any opinion on it?
The AMD solution and the Atom are not the same in terms of power, the AMD is a step up in terms of computing power. I have an atom 330/Ion netop that currently runs just xbmc. When it had windows the local HD content ran fine but some of the web video had noticeable lag and dropped frames. As for Wi-Di, I had to look it up as I never heard of it before. It looks like a nice product but expensive and could run into interference issues.