Case: Fractal Design Node 304 -- $90 w/ $15 shipping
Processor: AMD A8-5500 -- $105 free shipping
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A85X-ITX -- $100 w/ $7 shipping
HDD's: Toshiba PH3200U-1I72 2TB 7200 RPM SATA III -- 3 of them to start, $90 each = $270 w/ $8 shipping
Memory: G.Skill Sniper 8gb DDR3-1866 -- $58 free shipping
PCU: Undecided. Know I want a fully modular PSU given the case.
OS Drive: Undecided. Will be a 64gb Sata III SSD, I know that much.
Input device: Logitech DeNovo Edge keyboard (picked up for a whopping $65 on Craigslist just a few days ago)
DO NOT want a graphics card. Want to stay integrated. This is going to be a storage based, web browsing, and streaming HTPC only utilizing either unRaid or FlexRaid (hence the 3 drives, one for parity). Wanting to stick with the software raid so I can have some parity coverage in case of failure as well as being able to pool and add drives to the RAID without rebuilding everytime. The HTPC will be attached to my home network via hardline so I can do my encoding from my main computer and then move them over to the HTPC easily once done. It will see some internet browsing and streaming (netflix, amazon instant video, etc), but certainly ZERO gaming. Undecided on interface too, though XMBC is high on the list.
I decided on the case because I like the design, size, and fact that it has space for 6 hard drives. The rest of the components were chosen based on price, capability, reviews, etc.
Thoguhts, changes, recommendations? Really all I'm looking for is funcationality, the ability to turn it on and have a nice interface that's easy to navigate to my stored movies, or hit the web and browse or stream. I'd rather it feel more like an A/V component than a PC, but need the PC functionality so I can get through my network with it too.
Where's your system drive if all your HDDs will be in RAID? Personally I have an A6-3500 and find it an excellent performer although my quad-core does much better on transcoding. I think I'd save a few $$ on the APU with the A6-5400 since this is only a (client) playback unit. I've yet installed more than 4GB RAM in any of my systems and gave up on RAID years ago as it's rare a drive fails nor is any of the data I'm storing that irreplacable to warrant adding the parity drive - I'd rather 3 at 2 TB = 6TB than 4 TB is my point.
I was debating on going with the 5400 or the 5500. Will the integrated graphics have any discernible differences? If the 5400 will handle my needs then I'll go for that and save the bucks.
I will be sticking with some sort of raid for a two fold reason. Pooling, and most importantly, the redundancy. I have a lot of time into encoding my blu-rays down (they're all handbraked down to slightly more manageable sizes) and I'd rather have some protection for that effort. I only have about 1.5tb or so right now so going 4tb with a 2tb parity drive will suffice me for some time I'm sure.
Sorry... missed that on your SSD. Reading further on the 5400 it's a dual-core whereas my A6-3500 is triple, yet the 5400 has 7540D graphics and mine's 6530D. Personally I'm very happy with my APU and I can't imagine the FM2 A6-5400 would be worse... the reviews posted on the egg speak highly of its performance... then again, I've never spent over $89 for my processor and have been satisfied for HTPC every build.