Well, although my Popcorn Hour C-200 content streamer works okay, for what I paid, it never rose to the level of what the company promised. There's been a long-awaited firmware update that's never arrived that was supposed to fix a mediocre UI, the network throughput never matched the original specs (due to CPU overhead), and I realized the only way to get what I really wanted was to build a mediacenter PC. I wanted cool, quiet, good performance, stability, and reasonable price. And so the project begins.
Core i3-3225: Yes, I know I could find less expensive CPUs. However, while AMD Trinity CPUs cost a little less, the mainboards that would have been right cost $20 more. At this price, I get the power savings of Ivy Bridge, and Intel HD 4000 graphics, more than enough for what I want. I also get QuickSync and AVX extensions this way.
Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. B: When you want good cooling, low noise, and a small form factor, this is what you get.
Intel DH67BL mATX mainboard: On sale at NewEgg in a combo that combined a Rosewill RHRC-11001 HTPC remote
, this was hard to beat. About the only thing I could wish for was a USB 3.0 front header, but it isn't serious. HDMI, Intel gig NIC, solid and stable. Also, a bonus is that Intel media boards have a CIR header for an infrared sensor.
Corsair CX430M modular power supply: Just as I was looking for a great value in a modular power supply, Corsair came up with the CX430M, and NewEgg came up with the Shell Shocker deal for $45 plus a $20MIR. Made by CWT, this should be a great choice for a reasonable price.
Finding a case for a good price that did I what I wanted wasn't easy. I wanted flexibility going forward, and I wanted it to fit in with the general HTPC theme. In the end, I chose the (most likely to be discontinued nMediaPC 7000B, and bought the accessory 20x2 LCD kit for it. It can fit 120mm fans and comes with two, which I will be quieting with a basic Sunbeam rheostat controller
that fits in one of the slot covers and supports two fans.
CIR infrared receiver: The case has an IR window, specified as "for DIY-ers only". Well, I found a company that sells an infrared receiver that supports Intel's CIR header; it comes with a mounting bracket. I'd rather have internal than the Rosewill receiver, so I'm going to see what I can do to make this work.
The other items I have on hand. A LiteOn BD-ROM drive coming from my content streamer, a basic hard drive (either a 160GB WD AV drive, or a 250GB Seagate that came out of my ProLiant microserver), and a 2 x 2GB DDR3 kit that I've had lying around. Building shall begin this weekend; I plan to use Windows 7 x86, with XBMC loaded on top; just waiting for a few last-minute bits and pieces to arrive.