I have a HTPC build that is about 3-4 years old. I recently started also using this machine as a DVR via the HDHomeRun Prime tuner. I now run into problems when I am recording 3 shows (windows media center) and trying to watch a blu-ray movie (XBMC or Cyberlink) all simultaneously. The playback becomes choppy. When I monitor system resources I see that the CPU is maxed at 100%, RAM is around 50% usage. I currently use on board video. If I put in a video card will this take any of the load from the CPU and alleviate my choppy video playback? -Or am I just asking too much of an old system?
Core 2 Duo E6400
Yes, a video card should help you out. I've used an AMD Athlon II X2-240 processor with 4GB of RAM and an HD4670 graphics card installed and it handled my Ceton card (recording three shows while watching a fourth) without issue.