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Hello, I am currently building an HTPC for a client that will be strictly watching videos; both downloaded, and DVD / Blue ray, and im looking for some suggestions, as i have never built a HTPC before.

Current hardware configuration:
Asus M4A88TD-M AM3 DDR3
AMD Athlon 2 x4 640 3.0ghz
4 gb kingston memory (2x2gb)
500w Cooler master PSU
Western Digital 2tb Green SATA (for storage AND operating system)

i was just going to partition the HD and give the client 80 or 100gb for the OS, and install windows xp media center or XP pro.

few questions:
-is the quad core going to be over kill?
-should he get a seperate HD for the OS?
-which operating system should i use?

any tips / suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

thanks in advance

Instead of 1 HDD with 2 TB, you could choose to use 2 HDD's of 1 (or 2) TB and put them in RAID 0. This will give you an extra boost in read/write time without the extra expenses of using solid-states.

>> is the quad core going to be over kill?

Yes, but who cares. This will ensure that the system stays "up-to-date" for a few extra years.

>> should he get a seperate HD for the OS

Nah. If he's just using it to watch movies, this should be fine. I run Windows 7 and Ubuntu simultaneous and still have more then enough speed to play the newest games. (2x 1TB RAID0)

>> which operating system should i use?

Windows 7 perhaps? XP is really getting outdated these days, you don't want Vista. Or perhaps something free like one of the many Linux distro's?

thanks for the input.

im not a fan of RAID 0 (personally, i dont think it should be labelled RAID anyways because it's not redundant at all) i am, however, a huge fan of raid 1. i know there's no performance boost, but it's at least a fail-safe way of doing things.

i think i may still stick with the single 2tb with the OS partition though. having a quad core and 4gb of memory will give enough performance. if i stick to 80 or 100gb OS partition, the performance should be pretty decent (definitely good enough for movies).

what about a vid card?? since im going with AMD, alot of the compatible motherboards have pretty good onboard graphics. and by using onboard, that will cut down on heat and noise (not having a graphics card fan).

any thoughts?

For HTPC vid cards will not matter much in terms of their 3D (gaming) capability. Make sure you get something that has HDMI with HDMI Audio and HDCP support.

I would recommend getting a more efficient power supply. This is likely a machine that will be left on 24/7. Unless you have more equipment going in than you listed, you don't need a 500w PS.

I used the following in mine about a year and a half ago:
--------------------------------------------------------------
ECS Black Series A785GM-M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb 3.0GHz
Plextor PX-B320SA Blu Ray Player - DVD and CD Burner
Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W power supply
A-DATA Gaming Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM
GIGABYTE GN-WP01GS PCI Wireless Adapter
Thermaltake Black SECC Japanese steel LANBOX
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
--------------------------------------------------------------
I believe the capture card is:
Diamond TV Wonder HD 650 Combo PCI Express Tuner Card

The rig has been rock steady the whole time.

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