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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've read a lot of threads about what is needed for an HTPC and a server, but I still haven't had my questions answered, so I decided to start a new thread. I hope I'm not duplicating anything.

I have two TVs in the house. One I plan to hook up to a simple, weak HTPC or just an Xbox 360. I plan to use it to watch live TV channels, recorded TV, recorded movies, music and radio. The second TV sits right next to my main PC. I want to be able to do all the same things with that TV as well, and even if both TVs are being watched and maybe a third program is recording at the same time, I'd like to have enough power to surf the web or something simple.

My question is, I would expect that PC (my main one) to have a much greater need for processing power. I want to plan for the worst-case scenario, and I can very realistically imagine a scenario where I want to watch both TVs live, record a third program, rip a DVD, and surf the web all at the same time (maybe I can't surf the web if I'm ripping, that wouldn't be the most important). Can someone help me understand what pieces of hardware would be most important to upgrade, if any at all?


- I have an Athlon II X2 250 right now, should I upgrade to an X3 that I can unlock its 4th core?

- I have 4GB of DDR2 RAM on that computer... would DDR3 be better (I would have to do this if I upgraded the processor)?

- I plan to get either an ATI HD 5570 or 5670 video card; should I be getting the 5670 because of my greater processing needs?

- Should I look into RAID 0 for my hard drives in case I try to download a big file while I watch both TVs and record a third channel? Will my hard drive become a bottleneck?

At the end of the day, if I end up going with an HTPC instead of an Xbox 360 as my media extender on the other TV, I'm just going to upgrade my current computer and put all of its parts into that HTPC (mobo is micro ATX and has on-board HDMI/optical output, processor isn't too power-hungry, I have extra hard drives, etc.). Going that route would cost me about $100 more than just getting an Xbox, but if I really SHOULD be upgrading my main PC for all this extra work, then I'd just rather save the money on the Xbox and use my old parts to build a second HTPC with them.

Thanks for all your help. As I said above, I really do try to not post redundant questions, so I hope I haven't missed a guide that explains all of this. I have read several, but most deal with computers that will be ONLY media servers or ONLY slave HTPCs, and I'm looking for something much more robust with a lot more functionality.
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