New build - low power media center

This will be my first build so I am looking for any input on gaps in my plan or pitfalls to watch out for.

My primary goal is low power consumption because this system will be running 24/7. I am looking at running Ubuntu, MythTV (backend). I plan to use an internal USB Flash drive as the boot disk and get video content from an HD Home Run and the Internet (trying to cut the cable).

My main concerns are:
1) The ability of the Core i3 to handle video transcoding to support capturing 2 video streams while watching a third stream in real time. This would my concept of a peak load.

2) The amount of RAM. Is 8GB overkill or not enough? Would 4GB be sufficient or would it degrade streaming performance? Does more RAM increase idle power consumption?

Approximate Purchase Date: next 2 weeks
Budget Range: $500-$600
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Media Center and File Sharing
Are you buying a monitor: No – plan to use VNC
Parts to Upgrade: New Build – reusing case from old Compaq Prisario 5BW120 (micro ATX)
Do you need to buy OS: No – plan to use Ubuntu
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon, tigerdirect (local store < 10 mi.)
Location: NW suburbs of Chicago
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU, name brands on other parts.
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: No
Your Monitor Resolution: plan on running headless
Additional Comments: Thanks for any assistance you may offer.

Planned components at this point:

CPU: Intel Core i3-3220T Dual-Core Processor 2.8 Ghz 3MB Cache LGA 1155 - $130

Motherboard: ASRock H77 Pro4-M LGA 1155 Intel H77 - $90

PSU: CORSAIR CX430M 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular - $50

RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 - $40

Storage: Western Digital WD Green WD30EZRX 3TB - $140

Optical Drive: LG Black SATA Internal 12X Blu-ray Combo Drive Model UH12NS29 - $40

Extras: 2 Port Internal USB 3.0 Motherboard Header Adapter Cable - $15
Transcend JetFlash 700 32 GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - $25

Total: $530
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More about build power media center
  1. For more budget-minded systems, especially making use of integrated graphics, I'd suggest something like this combo:

    Not even heavy-use gamers need more than 8GB RAM but I would stick with a minimum of 8GB.
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