Recommended build for basic HTPC?
I'd like to build a Windows 8 based HTPC. Nothing fancy, just playback and some YouTube surfing. I don't need a TV turner or any sort of recording.
I already tried the mini android PCs and the WD Live TV devices, but I would really rather run Windows 8.
I was thinking of an Intel Atom with on-board graphics. Something like one of these -
but perhaps less expensive if I build it myself. Anyone have any experience with this kind of PC?
For that price, you could get an Intel NUC, which would probably be quite a bit better all-around.
Foxconn makes similar barebone devices. Just add RAM, a HD or SSD, and an OS. There's about 20-25 of them at my work, of various models (Atom 330+Ion, Atom D535/GMA 3150, AMD E-350/Radeon HD 6310). Other than a few DOA units on the last batch a year or so ago, they've worked pretty well. Foxconn RMA support was good as well.
Of the three, I'd recommend the D535/GMA one the least as the onboard graphics are REALLY bad (even by Intel standards) and the AMD ones the most.
A couple of years ago, I had an HTPC powered by an E-350. Pretty much every non-interlaced video I threw at it in XBMC played beautifully (even 1080p video peaking at 60 Mbps), and YouTube was great up to 720p. 1080p was playable, but there were a decent amount of dropped frames.