I've been researching this & I'd like to build an HTPC for my 50" Panasonic TH-50PX600U TV. Initially that's all it will serve but I'd like to get into SageTV and use some extenders for my other two non-HD TVs. Here's where I'm at so far, I've got this equipment already...
-4Gb of Corsair PC6400 RAM
-PC Power Silencer 750w psu
I'm thinking of buying the following:
- ASUS P5K-E/WIFI-AP ATX LGA775 mobo
- Silverstone Crown CW03B-MT Black case
- Diamond Viper Radeon HD 3870
- Hauppauge WinTV PVR-500 Dual tuner
- WD Caviar 1TB HDD
- Windows Vista Home Premium 64bit
I'll replace the fans in the case with Noctua NF-R8 80MM Ultra Quiet Cooling Fans. I'd like to get a CPU heatsink but don't know what to choose. My gaming machine is watercooled so I'm unfamiliar with air driven heatsinks. I'm also wondering about the video card... do I need that good a card or can I go for a 2600XT instead? Any suggestions or things I've missed? Thanks for any help.
Pretty much everything is overkill for HTPC w/o gaming usage...
Do you really need that much processor for multimedia only? My E6750 runs at only x6 multiplier (2Ghz) when watching BD and HD DVD. The 8800GT is taking care of offloading most of the work. Since I use this for gaming, I went with the more powerful CPU and GPU. The HTPC I have in the bedroom runs an E4500 and X1650XT and also plays BD and HD DVD just fine.
I would not opt for a 2600XT... Compared to the newer cards, the 2xxx series cards are hot power hogs. I would personally look at the 3650 or 8600 series cards.
The Ninja Mini is a great cooler, however, that huge case could probably fit a full-size Ninja. An E6850 will run quite warm, so if you can fit the larger cooler, go for it. I have a Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme on my E6750 and it will idle in the upper mid-upper 30's in a low flow P180B. Unless you're stuck on the looks (and screen) of the case, I think there are better/queiter solutions in the HTPC configuration.
I'd say the PSU is extreme overkill, but I have an Enermax Infiniti 720w in mine, but I've had bad experiences with PSU in the past and this one has a 140mm fan.
Personally, I would stick with 32-bit Vista for HTPC-type software compatibility. That'll save you money on RAM as you'll only need 2GB.
You really don't need a whole lot of "horsepower" to run a HTPC. If you plan to game on this, then you're heading in a better direction, otherwise you're wasting money.