I guess when I was blowing dust out of my G5 I damaged the logic board so I guess it is time for a new computer. I'm a little confused about my best course of action and would really appreciate some advice. I think I'm looking for a back end HTPC but I'm not sure of my best course of action.
My G5 was the main family computer used in the kitchen for general computing as well as watching Hulu and DVD's on either the 20" screen connected to it or on the 22" VIZO right next to it. It also housed our video library on an a dedicated 1TB drive. Around the house I have an old D4 DP500 hooked to the living room TV to watch videos in Front Row. Downstairs I have a docking station for my work Dell laptop hooked to an old 32" TV in the exercise room that I use XBMC to access the G5 for videos and also stream Netflix on. In the home theater we have been using my wife's MacBook (X3100) hooked to the projector for video files and Netflix. Everything is hard wired with Cat6 and Gigabit Ethernet. Regular DVD's are played through an Oppo 980 and we just got a PS3 for Christmas.
First priority has to be the "family" computer so this machine has to go in the kitchen but given how much my kids are into Netflix, Hulu,etc. I need a machine that can handle that well. Also, I have been feeling the cost of running the G5 in my power bill lately so getting a more energy efficient computer is high on the list also. So my thoughts are to get a Mini and some external enclosures to hang off of it and have it be the "home server" as well, hosting the iTunes and iPhoto libraries as well as the TimeMachine and the video library.
I'm hoping the PS3 can take over duties of the front end in the HT since the laptops seem to always be in demand. If that is plausible I'm wondering if I can get by with the 2.0 Mini or if I need to find a way to get a 2.53 one? I have also wondered if I should look for a Macbook or Macbook Pro to fill this need. My thinking that I would run it in clam shell mode in the kitchen but be able to un-hook it for trips out of town but it would mostly act as a desktop. (With 4 kids an extra laptop is always helpful.) I could use our existing X3100 MacBook for this and get my wife a newer laptop.
Since the G5 just died I really don't have a budget but I have to do something. I would hope to stay under $1000 but $500 would be better. If the PS3 really can't be my HT front end I think I'd rather put money towards the "back end" now and continue to use the MacBook in the HT and wait for a new Mini or some other solution that can really handle HD sometime in the future. Hence my hope that a 2.0 Mini vs a 2.53 could work. I guess my question is what is good enough for a back end that can also do front end duty in a kitchen?
The other question is, will USB 2.0 be fast enough or do I need to be looking for faster solution for the video drive? Sometimes we could be accessing multiple videos at once.
Sorry for the long drawn out post but I'm really in a quandary and could really use some advice. My family has really become addicted to being able to watch what they want, when they want to watch it!