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Well, I am getting all my pieces and parts together so that I can build my HTPC. I got kinda lucky in that my room mate decided to split the price with me (not to mention he wants to use it for a little bit of gaming and i told him he will have to buy the video card hehehe).

Anyway, I need some input on the pieces I have chosen and What you guys would suggest for improvements/changes.

I guess I will outline what i have picked out so far and go from there.


1. Antec Performance One P150 . I choose this case for a number of reasons. The first being the original one i choose would not fit in the hole I had intended. I went with this one second because it comes with a PSU (decent one), and all the things that a good HTPC case should have. For the most part the thing will be behind a door and won't be seen, but if it is I think the white looks good.

2. MSI 975X Platinum V.2 . I choose this motherboard (Open Box) because the price is right and this board has all the features I am looking for. Actually, this board is probably a little overkill for my purposes but it allows me the room to upgrade later on.

**My other choice is the ASUS P5B . Slightly cheaper board and does not have some of the things i would like but it might be a choice if i decide I may be going to high on cost.**

3. Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 . This CPU is actually kinda a place hold right now as i would like to get the E4300/4400 when they come out. I don't plane to do a lot of overclocking but i have heard and read that the E4300 will do good in that respect.

4. CORSAIR XMS2 1GB (2 x 512MB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 . Looks like good memory and it is a pretty good price. I am only going to go with 1GB for now and then probably put in another 2 x 512 sticks later.

5. Western Digital Caviar SE16 250GB . Read some on the SPCR site and listened to all the stuff on there and from what i could here these are buy far the quitest 3.5in drives out there. Only going with 250GB for now but should not be a problem to add more space as the P150 has room for soft mounting 3 drives.

6. Video card... This is were i am having the problem of choice. My room mate is by no means a big time gamer and he does not need the latest and greatest. He did ask me to find the best bang for the buck card. **See below for a list of cards that I am looking at.

7. DVD drive is insignificant as I can pick that out on my own.

8. All the little goodies that go along with this. Looking to get some Fan mate 2 controllers for a 92mm fan i am going to put in front of the HD's. Probably also going to get the soundgraph iMON Inside as it should allow me to power on the computer with my remote and all that good stuff. I will also get a keyboard but that should nto be to hard to pick out.

Now... for the video card dilemma.

I am really unsure what to look for. I have read the suggest parts list and the recommendations. I would like to get a card that has HDCP so that if/when i put an HD-DVD drive and/or a Blue-ray drive in then i won't have a problem. Now, the HD-DVD/Blue-ray drive will not be happening for a while. So how are cards compared and what works best when it comes to HD-DVD/Blue-ray. I know i need to stay away from the 7600GS but anything on up is what i am confused about. I am looking to stay in the 100 - 200 dollar range.

If i go 7600gt i will probably just say screw the HDCP and get the cheapest one possible. Should i be looking at the coreclock or the memory clock when picking one out??

Then there are the 7800 series which seem to have slower clock and memory speeds. Why?? and what performance hit (if any) would that cause.

Then there is the 7900 series. I saw the Leadtek WinFast PX7900GS which looks to be the cheapest HDCP 7900 series card. Again the core clock seems to be slower then that of the 7600 series. There is also the 7950GT set of cards that are all HDCP enabled and they are at the very top of my budget. Obviously the 7950GT set i mentioned would probably be the best. If i did o with the 7950GT card i would more then likely get the chepest on i could get, deal with the noise from the fan as long as possible and then swap the crappy fan for one that is much quieter.

Extrememly sorry for the long post but as you can see I am kinda confused about the whole video card thing. Any help and pointers would be greatly appreciated.

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