what's aggravating is the fact that my h/w has been working fine for the last 6 yrs, and now the latest s/w is causing problems
Personally, I'm surprised you're able to tolerate EyeTV with that Mini, I found that a 2.0 C2D Mac couldn't adequately play my EyeTV recordings back.
You should also know a lot of people with newer hardware have decided to stay right where you are on Snow Leopard just because it was very stable in an HTPC sense. I was happy on SL, only going to Lion in the home theater because my 2011 Mini shipped with it.
On those older Minis, even if you swapped a C2D CPU in that limiting factor of the GMA950 remained, the only way around that was to install a Broadcom CrystalHD card:
Might be worth it for you. I have an Apple TV 1 with the Broadcom card and its effect is simply magic, handling fullsize 1080p bluray rips and actually outputting 1080p to an HDTV.
so u recommend a Macmini4,1 then?
well, yes, I suspect you'd be happy with anything since then as long as you find it at a good price, I find what I most appreciated about my Minis have been having 1) HDMI and Thunderbolt, 2) FW800 and 3) room for two hard drives inside.