So I am looking into building my first HTPC. I have been using a gateway mid-range desktop with integrated video/audio for the past few years, but it overheats in the entertainment center and is quite loud with the fans. I am looking to spend less than $700 (less is better) and it will be primarily used for video playback, internet, and XBMC.
I need suggestions for everything (Case, PSU, CPU, Motherboard, RAM, HDD, SDD, etc). I am also wondering whether it is necessary to have a dedicated graphics and/or sound card [I have a 50" LED and 5.1 DD/DTS, but am looking to upgrade to 7.1 in the future]. Finally, what are the benefits to installing the OS on the and SDD vs HDD? I am only wondering because SDDs are expensive and have a relatively short life.
Any info you guys can give me concerning the current market tech and any suggestions for hardware you think may be good for my budget/use would be greatly appreciated!
I would definitely recommend SSD. I have a Celeron G540 HTPC running Ubuntu/XBMC and it boots in about 7 seconds with SSD. The only problem is you have to make sure and get a case that fits 2 internal drives. This limits your selection especially if you want it in a HTPC form that blends in with your stereo.
I think $700 is overkill unless there are some specific needs that you haven't mentioned. Here is a build for $500 that includes SSD and 1 TB HDD. A Celeron G540 would not be quite as fast but would do all the tasks you have mentioned for about $60 less but if your budget is $700 you might as well go for the Core i3.