Here is a task that I visited about 4 years ago. Since that time, the home theater PC I built has been repurposed and I need to build a new one.
Here are the core requirements for this PC and some details on what I would like to achieve.
- Purpose: I am looking for a system dedicated to decoding media and serving it up to various devices throughout my home.
- Price: My price point is around 500 dollars (without hard drives).
- Motherboard/CPU requirements: Since this system will not be used for gaming, I would prefer to use integrated graphics. I expect the CPU to carry much of the load for decoding media or performing BRD playback. While BRD will not be in the initial system (I have a PS3 for that), I would like to ensure that the on-board video is capable of performing this decoding. Please note, decoding of BRD media, when that time comes, will occur at a point where only one other potential decode is taking place. USB 3.0 is a must. If it is advised to go with integrated graphics (as I hope to), the motherboard must have HDMI output. Audio on-board will be fine as I can always expand to a different sound card later if I decide to dedicate this system to 5.1/7.1.
- Memory: I will be placing 8GB of memory in the system but would like room for expansion if I need to do so later on.
- Sound: As I said above, on-board audio is fine unless there is a reason for discrete audio
- Wireless: I would like a PCI, or PCIe depending on motherboard capability, 802.11n card since wireless streaming will be a key function of this device
- RAID: I am currently debating between using a dedicated RAID card or just relying on Windows to perform this function with the drives I add to the system.
- TV Tuner: I would like a TV tuner that I can use to perform DVR functions. Also, a good software package would be nice too
- Case: I would prefer to keep this as small as possible while allowing for 2-3 drives to be incorporated into the setup. I do not need any fancy LEDs or knobs/controls.
I think that is it. Well, what do you think? Am I missing anything? Thoughts?