I would like to combine a home theater and a server into one PC. The idea is to have a quiet theater device that can also handle storage, audio etc. Is that sensible and what would your recommend for components..
I had a similar plan (can't afford it) that would run Windows Server 2008 w/Hyper-V. Vista Premium/Ultimate would run as a guest OS.
My planned hardware centered around an Intel Core2Quad Q8200, a Supermicro motherboard (only Intel board I could find that supported Server 2008 out of the box) and 8 Gig of RAM. Add in with that a mainstream graphics card (ATI Radeon 4650), a discrete sound card for DVD/Video playback and a TV Tuner and you should be good to go.
The tricky part is the getting it really quiet. The more you want it to do the more fans and power supply you need. You can't get a cable or sat box to integrate either so are limited to clear QAM cable or OTA channels. Take a look at this as an alternative http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.asp?DriveID=572
and get a good ht receiver and speakers.
I was thinking the same before but I went with NAS instead. So my HTPC can be shutdown when needed. Any files that I want for fast access goes to 1.5 TB with the HTPC, anything ealse like photos and audio files are on my NAS.
I don't mind building a server for my home but it still require monitor.