Because hardware changes fast it is difficult to make a list of recommendations that will last more than a couple of weeks. But people keeps asking, so here’s a quick list of some good equipment if you want to build yourself a home theatre computer.
The expensive but perfect:
Nvidia GeForce 6600GT (review)
I don’t know if this card fits in any of the cabinets recommended here. My main message is: choose a Nvidia GeForce 6600GT that is as silent as possible but still will fit into the case you choose.
As powerful AMD Athlon 64 as you can afford. The AMD processors has a “cool’n quiet” technology that makes them perfect for HTPCs. Lately people have also started using Pentium M processors in HTPCs. The selection of mainboards that support the Pentium M is not big, but this processor is perfect for a silent computer for your living room.
at least 512 MB (preferably 1 GIG)
As large as possible. Cool. Quiet. In general the seagate Barracuda 7200 disks has been quite good. The best qolution is to mount the disk in a 5 1/4″ bay in a special silencer to avoid vibrations. The Nexus DiskTwin is a good choice.
Fans and coolers
Zalman has a good selection of silent coolers and fans
Hush Technologies has fanless HTPC systems
In Norway a company caled Vendur can deliver complete fanless systems
For small media servers Mini-ITX.com is a good source
Niveus media has some beautiful and expensive systems
Voodoo Media Centers are also worth a look