Originally Posted by Zon2020
I still don't understand why "inexpensive" is a criteria at all. It's no different than buying a car, a refrigerator, or an AVR. You can pay a lot or you can pay a little, but it doesn't alter the fundamental nature of the item. Kia or Mercedes, it's still a car; Whirpool or Sub-Zero, it's still a fridge; McIntosh or Sherwood, it's still an AVR. And you can pay $1000 or $300 for an htpc, it's still an htpc.
I don't see "inexpensive" as a criteria for being an HTPC, but rather the inverse - an HTPC does not need
to be expensive. Sure, you can make an expensive HTPC; this is especially true if you are making a more general-use system to do gaming and/or server duties; but a good "baseline" HTPC can be very inexpensive. However, every time someone suggests that you need
a discrete video card, that you need
a high-end processor, because of those you will need
a high wattage power supply, and that all of this has to
cost upwards of $1000 for an HTPC they are doing a disservice to the community here, driving people away from the very idea of having an HTPC at all.
This same thing happens in general computing as well. People ask what it takes to build a "decent" computer and some gaming geek stats out a $4000 monstrosity for them when the person is really only asking for an internet box; and because of this many people see build-it-yourself computers as unnecessarily expensive so wind up buying an HP or Gateway or whatever. The problem is that people are very poor at judging how much PC they need and is compounded by the fact that many people who do custom builds (or who frequent forums like this) are all too eager to suggest and/or build the most expensive PC to fit the bill, all under the mistaken assumption that "the guy might need it someday, so he may as well get it now."