My Popcorn Hour A-110 just aint cutting it anymore and I want to build a HTPC. I've already purchased and am reading the Assassin guides, and purchased a Win7 Pro license at the same time.
My primary requirements are: i3 Ivy Bridge HD 4000
, play blu-ray (main movie only) rips with HD audio from attached 4-bay Mediasonic USB enclosure, stream SD and 720p movie and TV show Handbrake rips from NAS, stream mp3s and lossless flac & alac audio from NAS, and a nice looking front end, probably XBMC (possibly JRiver, still researching).
Secondary requirements / nice-to-haves are: control via an iPad (this would be especially nice for music), a port-multiplier aware eSATA connection for the Mediasonic (USB is fine but it has an eSATA connection and would be nice to use it), and play disc-based media (as I understand it playing commercial blu-ray can be somewhat problematic).
Minor requirements: video streaming services like Netflix (don't have at this time) or Amazon (have Prime) and internet radio (Pandora, Spotify) integrated into XBMC (or whatever front end), web surfing (any chance of integrating Chrome into XBMC?)
Not a requirement at all: watching / recording Live TV via cable / OTA, just don't care, cut that cord a long time ago.
Also, maybe not an absolute requirement but I really want it, is a really nice looking case. I'm looking at the various cases on perfecthometheater.com, the Wesena ITX6
in particular (currently not in stock, may consider something similar). Mini ITX builds don't seem that common though, it seems to be mostly Full or Micro ATX, and I fear it may be more difficult than I can handle to get everything to fit.
Finally, a couple questions:
Does anyone have any experience with the Wesena cases? I have no experience with Mini ITX and I'm concerned that something like the ASRock H77M-ITX
or ASUS P8H77-I
may be too tight of a fit? Or maybe all Mini ITX are more or less the same and my concern is unwarranted?
The v3 Wesena cases are supposedly compatible with any slot optical drive. Any recommendations on a blu-ray drive?
I figured I would just go with whatever RAM and SSD drive recommended in the Assassin guide unless anyone has any concerns or updated info to share?
Any advice on Mini ITX builds in general? Because they're so small, is it pretty difficult to get everything to fit?
FWIW, I'm also considering a Mac Mini. I just really like the look and size. B&H has the 2012 base model (i5 HD 4000) for $550 which seems like a good deal. I would still install Win7, but it would be kind of cool to occasionally boot into Mac (I use Win7 and Mac everyday for work but am mainly a Mac guy).