When I started this thread: (over 12 months ago)
I bought a few Asrock H61 US3S motherboards for $44.99 each. I picked them out because I like Asrock, how fast it boots up, and for $44 I got support for LGA1155 socket with USB3.0 and SATA3 ports. Ideal for a cheap HTPC IMO. That was important back then, but common today.
I ended up using one as a media server (Pentium G630 CPU + Asrock H61 + 8GB DDR3 ) and tried out flexraid. That was my first media server I built on the cheap. It cost me a few hundred bucks to get up and running. I have since upgraded my flexraid server to a Z77 mobo, a new CPU, New ram, Added more HDD's and IBM Sata card. Also upgraded the PSU, upgraded the case to Norco 4220... etc. So what started out as a really cheap media server ended up expanding as evidenced in this thread.
I found use for the original parts I bought when I started this thread in a another HTPC for my brother as a gift. Thought I would share. I still believe dollar for dollar this is a great value for what you get. Here is the outcome of the original purchases I made at the beginning of this thread today:
$44.99 -Asrock H61 Mobo with USB3.0 and Sata3
$61.99 -Pentium G630 2.7ghz dual core CPU (G2020 better today)
$31.99 -Crucial 8GB DDR3 1600mhz (4GBx2) ram Kit
$49.99 OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD
$17.99 Coolermaster 430watt PSU
$54.99 Coolermaster MILO 03 Case
$0.00 WD Green 3TB HDD (Removed from an external I have had for years)
$261.94 (Add about $100 if you had to buy the 3TB HDD or wanted it.)
Not a bad little machine for that price. USB3.0, Sata 3, with 120GB SSD and 8GB DDR3 Ram. Really no shortcuts even by todays standards. It runs cool and quiet too I bough much of these parts over a year ago (before IVY came out) and I am still proud by the value and functionality it represents. It blows my mind when I see people saying they will wait for Haswell, just like it did a year ago when I saw people saying they are waiting for IVY BRIDGE.
Sure an IVY might be a little better than my G630 CPU I bought over a year ago (2.7ghz dual core) but what real world benefit is achieved??? This stuff changes so fast it's pointless to try to keep up. Buy based on reasonable value and functionality That's my advice This little HTPC is competitive by today's standards for very low $$$.Here is the external I cracked open: (Originally got for $99)