This is a question for the HTPC gurus on the forum.
Currently I have an old Pentium 4 in the basement that I use for downloads and as a media server. I then have a WDTV live for streaming to my AVR. This works fine but a couple of things annoy me.
1) the P4 is on all the time and being an older technology probably consumes quite a lot of power.
2) it really annoys me when I want to listen to a song to have to scroll down a gazillion times with my harmony remote in order to find it
3) even though the WDTV does youtube, it's a pain to select each letter with the remote
4) it would be nice to browser the internet in my living room.
Because of all of the above, I want to build a HTPC. A lot of people stay away from HTPC as it looks like it might sometimes be a PITA in order to get everything working properly with all the codecs and all, hopefully it won't be too bad. My Main concerns are price (would like to keep it around $300) and power consumption since it will be on all the time, it can be mini or micro itx, the OS will probably be WIN7 64 bits.. This PC will not be for gaming, it will be only for internet browsing/streaming, downloading, audio/video streaming to my AVR. I want to be able to stream 1080p without an issue as I have some .mkv files with this resolution and also any HiDef audio.
At the beginning I was considering the Atom + Ion. Some people say it's not enough and a I3 is needed, other say it will be fine as most of the graphic software support graphic acceleration and the Ion will handle that. Personally if the Atom + Ion will do the job I would rather avoid the I3 because power consumption and price are higher.
After doing some more research, it looks like a lot of people are prefering the AMD fusion E-350 to the atom. It looks like power is more or less the same but you get better performance and it's cheaper. Here is a review: http://techreport.com/articles.x/20401
The only thing that bothers me a little is that I couldn't find a motherboard with this processor that supports RAID. I'm not gonna put anything critical on this PC but was still thinking of doing RAID1 cause it would still suck to loose all my media. Maybe I can live without it or maybe I'll just use a PCIe card.
Anyone using the E-350 or Atom as a HTPC? Any motherboard recommendation in particular?
It looks like this mobo can be had for $110/$120
4GB RAM $30 (or 1GB or 2GB if I get win7 32bits)
2 TB HD $100 (I have an old 500GB for the OS)
Bluetooth keyboard/touchpad $50
This puts me closer to $400 but are rough estimates, I'll need to shop around and probably can cut cost on the case, keyboard and maybe a smaller HD.
Any input or suggestion are greatly appreciated.