I am planning to take the plunge and build an HTPC, but I need help. There are so many component options, it's making my head swim. It's going to be used almost exclusively for TV/movies and streaming. I don't plan to do any gaming. My plan is to connect the HTPC to a projector and a receiver.
Currently, I have a 3 year-old Dell Inspiron 560 regular-sized desktop that has a bad motherboard. I have a 1 TB HDD with Windows 7 Home Premium and a secondary 1.5 TB HDD for media files. I am also using an InfiniTV 4 PCI card. I have 8 GB of DDR3 PC3-10600 (non-ECC) memory. I am okay using the Dell case, but I'm also okay with getting a different one.
My budget is $750, but I would like to stay around $500 if possible. Basically, I'm looking for the best bang for the buck components. I don't want (or think I need) top-of-the-line components since I'm not playing games, but I don't want to go cheap and regret the build in 6 months.
Based on the above, here are my questions:
1. Is the memory of sufficient speed for an HTPC? If not, what would be a good type, and what is a good speed and amount?
2. Will I be able to get by with the HDD with Windows 7 on it (I don't have the original DC anymore), or will I need to get a new CD and reformat the 1 TB hard drive? If I need to get a new OS, should I get another Windows 7 CD, or should I go for Windows 8?
3. Is it worthwhile to get an SSD to replace the hard drive with the OS on it if I need to get a new copy of the OS? If so, what would be a good size of SSD?
4. What would be the best motherboard? Do many (any?) of them come with an IR receiver, or is it better to get an IR dongle?
5. What CPU would be best?
6. Do I need a dedicated GPU? If so, what is a good one to use with the CPU?
7. What is a sufficient power supply?
8. What would be the best case? Space isn't a huge concern, since my entertainment center can accommodate a fairly large one.
9. What is a good Blu-Ray player?
10. Can I use XBMC with The InfiniTV? Which one is better, XBMC or WMC?
Any suggestions on a good build would be appreciated, including any suggestions on components I may have missed.