Originally Posted by rcsauvag
First I'm glad both of you posted. Both of you, along with a few others, are the primarily motivation I have for being interested in MadVR! I think that's good.....
It makes me wonder why though? I mean other than my Netflix/mixing monitor resolution examples what are some other downfalls of this?
Having a standalone HTPC is mostly a matter of convenience. You can certainly set something up in a single PC to use it for recording TV shows or playing back all of your media as well as using it as a desktop PC. You can also use it for storage if you have the space. The real question is why would you want to do that? PCs pretty much suck as streaming devices. You're better off using a Roku or a Nvidia Shield. I also have an unRAID server that runs Plex so I can stream content from the server to my Nvidia Shields as well as content from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Disney Plus.
I have a Windows 7 HTPC with WMC in my home theater setup that I use primarily for recording and watching live TV. A also have a Windows 10 HTPC with JRiver Media Center for playback of TV shows, Blu-Ray movies and 4k content as well as my music library streamed from my server. I have standalone Intel NUC HTPCs that run Windows 7 with WMC for watching live TV on various TVs throughout my house.
Unraid came in initially as a storage solution. The docker idea came about as Pihole seems pretty helpful, and for non-theatre area's I can run Plex in a docker. I'd also like to see what else is out there, I'd be very interested in setting up like a software firewall or something. Previously, my idea was going to be new build, then some type of storage solution, but with Unraid I could combine them all to the same box. I could run the PC as a VM and passthrough the GPU direct to the VM.
I have a standalone unRAID server that currently has 163 TB of storage. Clearly that would not fit inside the same case being used as a HTPC or desktop PC. The point about having separate PCs for use as a desktop computer, HTPC, or server is that it allows you absolute freedom to do whatever you want, not to mention that it's far less complex than trying to run everything from a single box using VMs and dockers and such. It's going to cost you more for the additional hardware, but servers and HTPCs don't require a lot of horsepower to operate. You can pick up used PCs dirt cheap to use as an unRAID server. You could easily repurpose your existing desktop as a HTPC and just get a new desktop PC.
The main component you should be concerned with in a HTPC is a graphics card. You could use your HTPC as a gaming platform and kill two birds with one stone since you would also need a better graphics card for gaming. Probably the main thing you need in a server is ample memory and enough SATA ports for all of the hard drives you require. A desktop PC can be configured based on what you need to do with it.
You have lots of options available. You don't need to jump in with both feet right off the bat but rather upgrade as your budget allows. My server started off as a simple unRAID box with just a few hard drives. I have upgraded it numerous times over the years to the configuration that I have today, and I'm still not done. Hard drives die and need to be replaced every once in a while and I keep several on hand already pre-cleared in case I need to use them.