I am also curious about the heat issue. Is the thing reliable enough to act as a "cable box?" By that, I mean continuous usage, daily, while remaining powered on 24x7.
It seems powerful enough to handle 1080p h.264, but one question on that topic is, how well does it handle this in WMC?
For example, I have an HTPC that is already "good enough" for all of this, smoothly. It's got a Hauppauge 2250 (which I would sort of miss by having this little thing, but I have a decent ATSC USB tuner that'd do for now, and may eventually get an HD Homerun Prime), and also plays occasional h.264 video via network, all via Windows Media Center. Currently using "Sharks" codecs, if that matters.
Couple downsides to my current setup. One being size/heat from the thing (it's all in an old tower, so it's also not that great looking in a living room setup), the other being the mobo is old and is showing some slightly bulging capacitors, which means that someday, it'll start flaking out on me. For now, it seems to chug along just fine, but who knows when it'll decide to go bonkers. Could be weeks, could be months.
Just wondering if the thing can do all this, without needing to use WMP-HC or some other software. I rather like having my current HTPC controllable solely with remote (will re-use a USB IR sensor for a new rig if needed).
I really want to move to something smaller soon, but I am in no huge hurry. This looks like a great price/performance spot, but I am concerned about a) reliability b) performance with Windows Media Center.