this is my first build, i own an HP Z800 with two physical Xeon processors which has a giant power supply unit that would make me a bit guilty of the power consumption if i ever needed to run plex on my playstation, the solution is a bit or two huge for a Home Media Entertainment, but hey, you never knew what is coming :)
The motherboard: i was looking for a motherboard with the following feature: 1- Socket 1150. 2- Optical Digital output. 3- integrated WIFI. 4- integrated HDMI. i found the Asus X87-Pro to have the required specs and more! i like the build quality of this mobo! it was a piece of cake upgrading the firmware of the board from the stock to the latest. Great work Asus.
the Processor: as said, it is a bit too much of a processor for a HTPC, however, it is somehow a future proof CPU, plus, it would be simple to upgrade if i needed. the processor doing its job flawlessly, no concerns about it :)
The CPU Cooler: i am not going to over clock the machine, however, it needs to run 24/7 till i figure out a mechanism for Sleep/Wake-On-Lan for the sake of power saving. the size of this baby is HUGE, it is very quiet too, wasn't that easy to install (i am a first timer!) also you have to be careful with the alignment of this huge cooler. the fans moves up and down on the cooler to make sure it doesn't touch the memory slot, how neat is that? i started the machine and the CPU temperature was 26C and after 24 hours of streaming, still 26C! expensive cooler but difintially worth it, also, it integrates very well with the HAF XB case.
The Case: it is a state of the art case from cooler master, very clever in hiding your cables, i am a first time but hey, the cables are very clean and doesn't interfere with my hands or the air flow, the case can host two 5.25"s and two 3.5"s and four SSDs, the case comes with two fans in front which are crazy load comparing to the Noctua, i am planning to buy three 120cm and two 80cm in the near future and they have to be silent as if they were dead. i would rate my experience with that case as very good as - luckily - i had the windowed version not the meshed version, so less dust.
the power supply: Yes, just a low-mid wattage power supply, easy installation and easy case hookup, beware, use the screws that comes with it, not with the case.
The Storage: one SeaGate Barracuda and one samsung CD-ROM, no SSD? yes, still too expensive for my taste and little value for the money, so i by passed the SSD and installed one HDD, no need for me for the raid setup right now, as everything i have on the HTPC is redundant on the Z800.
The Memory: not so much on the memory except it is a low profile memory that goes perfectly with the Noctua.
that is pretty much it, now
My network topology: i have an HP Z800 and HP EliteBook Workstation 8570w on my home office desk, and they are connected via WI-FI to a tp-link 3g router that provides internet to the whole gang (even the playstation and the HTPC in the living room), from the TP-link router there is an Ethernet to a bilkin router (acting as an access point) in the living room to overcome the signal issues, the playstation and the HTPC is connected to the hot spot via Ethernet and provides a mobile internet access and HTPC access in the living room area.
the software: Linux Mint 15, the most popular distro ever, Mint, it is an ubuntu based OS which in turn based upon Debian, the later is know known for its stability, that is why i recommend Mint over Ubuntu, Ubuntu left its stability behind since Unity. the OS is very stable, and in minutes i was able to start the ssh server for remote console logins and VNC for GUI logins, no big deal, i can control my HTPC via ssh and vnc clients on my mobile or on my PC, i partitioned my hard drive during the OS installation, everything went fine installed FTP server so i can upload my media in a place where Plex can see and index, could have used Winscp over ssh, but FTP is more generic and supports simultaneous uploads. , installed Plex with ease, had a permission issue with the NTFS partations, but that was easy to fix.
i have a future plans to replace the 50" LG Plasma TV, to another LG with DLNA build in, so i can get raid of playstation being a man in the middle.
I am now enjoying movies and music on my TV, PC, laptop, mobile and tablet :), let me know what you think.