I think the best way to go when starting to venture into the HTPC world is to build a modest all in one unit to get yourself some experience.
That's pretty much what I had in mind. A PC that will act as server for the rest of the household and HTPC for my HT all in one package running MB3. But first the projector.
I have not had an opportunity to see a projector work in a dark room. I had a demo of a Mitsu HD8000 in a fairly open lit room with a SI Black Diamond screen and it was nice...but not holy **** blow my socks off.
There are not a lot of HT or projector dealers in my location except Future Shop and Best Buy so I don`t have too much of an opportunity to see them in action. My goal is to have an EXCELLENT picture so when you say the 5020 will be a big difference compared to the 8350 could you elaborate on that a bit more. Is it worth spending the extra money for it to get the quality I want. I sit in front of my 55 plasma with a BD playing and that really does impress me a lot. I would like to get close to that but I do understand that taking 1900x1200 and doubling or tripling pixel size on a screen does mean losing something so I am prepared for that. I also have an old 55 rear projection and that now sucks big time so I am expecting I will get something between the two but how close the image quality will be to the 55 plasma I just don`t know. If you told me I would get the same image quality if I spent $2600 and $1200 wouldn`t get me close to that then its a no brainer...I spend more.
What do you have for speakers ? Where are they going? Would you be interested in making your own screen ?? Like a fixed AT screen ??
My audio setup is a 5.1 with all speakers properly placed. I intend to add some acoustic tile to help dampen the reflectivity although its not too bad. I run a Yamaha RX-V596 and I will try and incorporate it with digital optical cabling from HTPC to the receiver as I have no HDMI on it and then run HDMI from the HTPC to the projector just for the video.
For the screen I will be buying a Stewart fixed screen 106inch diagonal that I will hang from the ceiling and no I have no wish to build a screen.
As far as HTPC's go... I don't really know much about those... just kidding. Your budget is big for a HTPC you should have no trouble getting a nice machine. I am just not certain what you want to do with it. Tell me a little more and I can help you with a nice build.
As I have decided to relocate my NVidia GTX 670 from my work machine into the HTPC that has changed my intended use. I can now venture into gaming as well. I do DCS Digital Combat Flight Sims and Arma. I had not considered using the HTPC for this until I decided to upgrade the card in my work machine so I didn`t want the GTX670 to go to waste.
Specs so far:
External BD player
Corsair 750watt Power supply
Ausus Mobo but have figured out model yet.
Desktop case probably Thermlatake...they have a cube type of case with excellent cooling.
2 - 2tb HDD and one 120GB Samsung SSD for OS
WIN 7 64bit
Location is not an issue. The audio components and External BD player will be located beside my seat, the projector and HTPC behind me in a rack. The projector may be ceiling mounted directly over top of the rack or possibly on top of the rack as the rack is 39 inches tall and could support a projector and it would still project over our heads. See post 22 for room dimensions, throw distance etc.
Is your budget for an all in one machine ? or just for the HTPC? Or for both the HTPC and the server ?
I really want to have it all in one machine.
There are people who have invested hundreds of hours of their time to get you started into HTPC with step by step illustrated guides if you are interested in such a thing.
I found some of them and I have downloaded them onto my iPad and have been reading through them.