I'm considering the Intel DH77EB and ASUS P8H77-M/CSM motherboards for a fan-less HTPC build in a Streacom FC5 Evo case and am looking for some advice from an audio / video perspective.
This computer will be used to play NAS stored audio (up to 24/192) and video (up to full Blu-ray, no 3D), plus streamed services such as Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, and Spotify. I'll be running audio through USB to an external DAC, video through HDMI, and data through Ethernet. All other nonessential onboard devices will be turned off as the BIOS will allow.
The Intel board is known for being very low-power (plus Intel NIC), while ASUS claims to have low EMI with their Protect 3.0 technology. Though I'm not sure how much of that is marketing vs real-world performance.
I'd prefer whichever board will produce the highest quality / lowest distortion output, with low power consumption being the second priority.
Case: Streacom FC5WS Evo
CPU: Intel i3-3225
RAM: Samsung DDR3 1600 1.35V 2x4GB
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 128GB
PSU: Winmate 130W
+ AC/DC converter (either Mean Well
or Traco Power