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I’m looking for the components to make a BYO HTPC box capable of lasting the next two iterations of software and hardware upgrades.


The main uses will be:


1. HDTV (I think I know what I'm going to do here...)

2. DVD playback, and when possible WM9-HD playback or another HD movie format (e.g., the T2 Extreme DVD)

3. Stereo music playback of WMA/MP3 files

4. Mixing and burning DVDs (home video and backups of HDTV shows)

5. All audio will go through my Sony STRDA30ES 5.1 receiver via an optical or electrical digital input


Here are my requirements:


1. Stereo Component Style Case (something that will sit horizontally in my stereo cabinet, like the CyberPower WinXP MCE box)

2. 2-monitor output, 1 SVGA for a 14†LCD and 1 DVI or SVGA for my Dwin TV3 PJ

3. Video card capable of handling HDTV and WM9 HD decoding (ideally one that won’t put me in the poor house)

4. Audio card capable of encoding DTS or DD 5.1 via optical (preferred) or coax electrical digital output (don’t need any analog audio output)

5. Firewire input for miniDV camcorder

7. DVD burner

8. Enough RAM to handle this gracefully

9. (already purchased a 250GB 7200RPM 8MB cache WD Caviar EIDE drive)

10. Fast enough processor to withstand a year or two of growth

11. Enough extra slots to last me a while.


I want to do all of this without freaking out my wife on a really expensive PC.


I was thinking about a motherboard with the nforce2 chipset... but there may be other combinations that do dolby encoding of 5.1 that I'm not aware of.
 
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