killem2, you'll actually LOVE that gigabyte board from what I hear. This is actually a really good setup and is quite similar to the one I've built for the Techgage "beefy" HTPC, which is designed to allow a bit of gaming along with the HTPC functions. Main difference was that I dropped in an ATI 5570 to give a little grunt to the games.
I'm personally a fan of the passive, and I'm sorry I didn't get around to this a little faster because your wife might have liked my suggestion - which emphasizes silence over speed. Any NVidia GPU can use VDPAU on Linux, and XBMCLive is a GREAT home theater OS for free. So ION boards become PERFECT for a 720p setup in particular, and would've brought your price down by about $80 from your setup above, and also don't have annoying fan noise.
That being said, I don't think you'll be disappointed in this setup. There's a lot to love here!
Well guys what I nightmare. I bought a rosewill case its cheap but it looks nice and it would have fit perfectly on the shelf we will build however apparently the bay that holds the hard drive cannot fit back into place because of the low profile fan of the I3. No way around that. In addition, myt slim dvd drive doesn't have normal sata connections it has slim sata connections that apparentlly are one thing. the power supply in the case has no adapaters for 4 pin to sata which was really awesome LOL.
So we're going to keep the case, use it for a 2nd htpc in the future some day, then buy a 2nd case that will fit everything.
I am getting the original thing in that picture a psu and just call it a day
So, I got it home that day, as said above it was a night mare it didn't fit. I thought I would just buy another case, however I found a low profile cooler from thermaltake. It is incredibly low profile. The case also didn't come with the adapater for the slim drive no matter I got it in the mail and got that going. The new problem is even with the low profile cooler this case has such a darn tight fit, if you put the lid on it presses the metal bay just down enough to stop the fan. I noticed this because when I was running the pc for the first time (which runs excellent, and plays like a dream, this H55 setup is incredible), when the temps where getting up to 79C during a simple 720p playback of CSI from hulu.
I cracked up the case while it was running, undid the screws, let the fan move and it dropped with in about 30 seconds to 46c.
So tonight I carefully analyzed the way the bay is layed out and I will use some tin snips to cut out just enough so it cannot touch the fan in anyway. It sucks, but that's the way stuff works I suppose