So far I've gotten a Samsung 750 GB Spinpoint HD and Thermaltake DH101 case. I'm most likely going to go w/ MythTV even though I'm a Linux newbie. I'm pretty sure I want to go w/ a Hauppauge PVR 150 tuner card and I *think* I'll be getting some sort of nVidia AGP video card (as advocated by the MythTV wiki), but this is where my ignorance really starts kicking in. I do know that you can do video decoding using the main CPU so I'm not sure which direction is better to go...get a graphics card and lower end CPU or just get a higher end CPU and forgo the graphics card.
My usage scenarios are as follows:
- Primary usage will be to schedule shows to record and playback in std definition (nothing more exciting than Grey's Anatomy for my wife and Spongebob for my daughter).
- Another possible primary usage scenario is to backup DVDs of home movies (and absolutely no other copy written material ). We would then either burn copies of those home movies to DVD (say for my daughter to watch on her little DVD player while we're on a long drive) or just watch playback directly from the HTPC itself. My limited research has me worried getting this to work on Linux can be more hassle than its worth (especially for a Linux newbie) so this may not come into fruition.
- Tentatively, no expectations that this HTPC will replace our current DVD player. Thought here is that since we're only watching material in std def there's no need to get a high end sound card...I'll probably just look to use the mobo onboard audio.
- No expectations to record/watch HD content.
- No expectations to watch live TV using the HTPC (just playback of already recorded shows while possibly simultaneously recording another show). This is mostly because there's a several second delay when switching channels and I find that so annoying.
- Secondary usages include streaming music (again non-copy written) to receiver, looking at family photos, possibly playing old NES games, and possibly browsing the internet.
- Am I being short sighted by having no expectations for HD? When it comes to A/V, I'm definitely a late adopter. I'm not up to speed on the landscape of HD TV network adoption, but I just saw a commercial that stated networks will broadcast completely in HD by 2009. I thought this was supposed to be the case several years ago and it got pushed back...so I'm expecting us std def watchers to have several more years.
- Is there a preferred direction as far as my "graphics card + low end CPU" vs "moderate to high-end CPU only" dilemma?
- What CPU/mobo combination should I look at? I'd REALLY like to keep it to the $150 or under range (emphasis on "under"). I'm willing to go higher if there's nothing viable in that price range, but I'd really prefer not to.
- I believe I read that its better to have 2 sticks of memory than 1 equivalent sized stick (e.g. (2) 512mb sticks vs (1) 1gb stick). Is this true?
- Will 1 gb be sufficient or should I be looking higher?