Via also just released a 1.8ghz board with x16 PCI-e. Read about it here
. The cpu may be too slow for HD mpeg2 though.
I always thought that all that was required for mpeg2 HD with DxVA acceleration was a 1ghz cpu ( I did HD mpeg2 with a 1ghz AthlonXP and 9600XT with good results), but the graphics card makers continue to add functionality to their video cards for advanced deinterlacing that seems to take both GPU cycles, and extra CPU cycles. My current HTPC, a S754 3200+ and 2600pro video card, takes 60-75% of my cpu just for 1080i mpeg2. It is kinda weird to turn around and use 5% cpu for 720p h264. ATI's universal decoder is not really universal it seems. The Via board would choke on 1080i mpeg2, while it would sail through BD/HD DVD. This situation is a huge problem IMO. Graphics card makers should allow you to pick how much deinterlacing is being done on the graphics card without ruining the automatic deinterlacing feature. Yes, you can pick Bob or Weave, but you can't pick automatic Bob and weave without also getting the more CPU intensive Vector Adaptive Deinterlacing. It works fine on my 3200+, but this Via board would not be suitable. according to a xbit labs article, the 7600GT has the least cpu use for 1080i mpeg2, so it might be possible to use that card with the Via board for mpeg2 HD, but you will never be able to play h264. You never get a perfect world do you?
Anyways, sorry to ninja the thread, but I wanted to let Mike C know, that he might be able to put together a nice SPCR designed HTPC with this board and sell it through endpcnoise. It would be a really unique system that is really not available anywhere else, and would be a really fun system to build for you. Some complain about the lack of PCI slots for tuners? But there are plenty of analog and digital USB tuners and a great ethernet based tuner out there.