If thats the case, why are more people in here not using the iMac for their silent HTPC? From what I have read, it is close to silent as you can get with such a small form case. Plus, it is the most power efficient PC you can get for the CPU/GPU horse power (Core Duo and 9400). It seems to me if you hooked up a USB tv tuner this would be the perfect small factor quiet HTPC. Am I missing something?
I don't know if you're missing something, but the rest of us are missing several hundred dollars.
iMacs are targeted to general computer users, not the typical enthusiast who posts in these forums. They certainly have their place, for ready-mades from a major brand, they are the quietest we've come across. But the lack of expansion/upgrade options + price premium keeps them less interesting for more hands-on users who can often build even quieter machines of similar capability for considerably less $$.
The lowest price for a 20" imac is $1200 -- 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo * 2GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x1GB * 8x double-layer SuperDrive * NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics * 320GB Serial ATA Drive * Apple Mighty Mouse * Apple Keyboard and User's Guide.
A good 20" monitor can be had for <$200. So is the rest replicable for $1000? Probably not in the near invisible form of the imac where the entire computer is within the monitor, but in a small as-quiet box, yes. Probably for ~$500.
Thanks for the reply Mike. I have been bonking my head for three months trying to find a decent HTPC. I first bought a HP Pavilian Slimline, but the fans were too loud. Then I started researching on building my own, but it seems that to get a quiet HTPC, you need a big box. That is why I was so surprised to read reviews saying the Mac Mini was quiet, being that it was so small. What really excites me is the core duo and 9400 built in graphics chip; along with a low wattage output. It almost seems to good to be true.
Honestly, all I want is a quiet small box that is powerful enough to push Hulu and some form of a media center. I can just use an external USB Tuner card if needed. I would rather have a Windows 7 MCE box, but there seems to be no small form/quiet/low wattage options out there.
By the way, you can get a refurbed Mac Mini for $499. I don't think that is too expensive for the convenience of a small PC. The only thing keeping me from buying it is the possibility of fan noise. I just cant get myself to believe that it is actually quiet being that it has a core duo and an nvidia 9400.