Entertainment PC part 2 (or 3 depending on how you look at it)
I've been working on my Entertainment PC price list some more. I've added the hard drives and priced out two systems. A cheap one and an expensive one. I think I can get the cheap one even cheaper, but the ASUS site is down and I'm get tired.
I found a neat Shuttle barebones kit (SS51G). It's a nice small case, basically a 7 inch cube, give or take. That's neat, but it only has one 5 1/4 inch bay so that means the Sound Blaster card that I wanted to use, which has an internal I/O face that goes in a 5 1/4 bay would not work. Luckly there is one with an exteral I/O box, but that means it'll have to be straped to the top or something. Not as pretty.
I also checked out IBM for slim machines. We just ordered a NetVista M42 for work last week. It's a tower model, but they make it in a slim desktop too. The great things about it was that it was fast (2.26 GHz w/ 533MHz bus), cheap (only $960!) and QUIET. I seriously had to put my ear to the machine to make sure it was even on! That would be ideal for this application. IBM is using a newer technique that turns on the CPU fan only when its necessary, so there is less noise. The fan on the back of the system is slower and thus quieter. It still moves air well even at the lower rpm. Alas this price was a special business price and cannot even be found online. After building the machine and then adding all the A/V components the machine was more expencive than my current pricy machine. Two grand is a bit extream. At that point the value has been lost.
For two grand you could buy a DVD player, pre-amp with 5.1 surround and numberous I/O ports, and a used PC with a large hard drive for the MP3s and just plug it into the stereo. You'd even have lots left over for a good set of speakers. Ok so you wouldn't have the PVR and that to me is the core of this project, so maybe it's still worth it, but damn this has become a more expensive prospect than I expected.