I'm looking to build a good looking HTPC since I will locate it front and center under my Samsung PN58C7000 3D Tv. And no, I don't want the htpc to be 3D capable; I don't thing the increase in price would be worth it. Here is the template:
Approximate Purchase Date: This week.
Budget Range: < $500 (After rebates)
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Playing HD movies on TV, Netflix etc., Internet on Tv
Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, OS, Wifi (it's close to tv).
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Maybe amazon because I have prime shipping.
Parts Preferences: No brand preference but I would like the htpc to be short and small.
SLI or Crossfire: No
Monitor Resolution: N/A. However, my tv is an HD plasma
Additional Comments: I would like a quiet pc. Black case to match existing components. Prefer short and wide case of tall. Need hdmi because so I can connect directly to tv without having to use wifi. I won't be gaming. I'll probably use either Xbmc or Plex all the time on it.
I've not built an AMD system in years, but all you really need is the APU, the motherboard, 4GB of RAM, a PSU which operates as quietly as possible (fanless, if you can afford it) and a good chassis. An aftermarket cooler on the APU won't hurt, either.
Hey... just saw this. I built a Llano dedicated HTPC system about 10 months ago and it's been rock-solid. I'm mostly it it for OTA television and Netflix, so I won't comment on XBMC but for the live TV, the best decision was going with Win7 for Windows Media Center instead of messing around with MythTV on Linux (my old setup) and not having Netflix. Now the wife-acceptance-factor is high, the remote works like a charm out-of-the-box and Netflix works well too. I have a networked Silicon Dust Dual HD Homerun Tuner that I run to my box through powerline ethernet.
HD streams and records no problem (can record and watch another channel with no stuttering).
A little on the noisy side. I keep saying I want to buy quieter fans, but I really don't notice it when watching TV/movies... only when it turns on for a guide-update (currently set for 5am). Since my box runs at about 29 degC when watching HD content, I figure I could probably just unplug one of the case fans to make it quieter and accept a hotter machine, but for now it's not been a big enough problem. At some point, I'd like to be able to have multiple TVs, likely when we move to a bigger place. At that time, I'll have to look into some other backend/frontend options to share all the content across all machines since WMC7 (effectively) requires one to buy an Xbox as an extender and then they still cripple the functionality of the extender device. Hopefully media portal is better by then.
AMD A6-3500 Llano 2.1GHz (2.4GHz Max Turbo) Socket FM1 65W Triple-Core Desktop APU with DirectX 11 Graphic AMD Radeon HD 6530D AD3500OJGXBOX
Apex DM-317 mATX HTPC Case Silver Black 1X5.25 1X3.5 1X3.5INT 275W Low Profile Front Firewire
None - Comes with Case
OS Windows 7 Home Premium 120
Total $354.98. After taxes and shipping came out to $450. I already had a 1TB hard-drive to drop in, and already had the HD homerun tuner. I ended up adding a $20 black-front optical drive because we still have some content on DVD. My old optical drives had a beige front bezel and it looked bad so $20 was a small price to keep the desktop-look out of the living room.