If you’re anything like me you’re not going to like a big PC sitting in the living room next to your nice clean Media setup. So I would suggest you go with something like a Micro ATX motherboard so that you can get a nice clean Mini Case. There is any number of boards out there that you can get for semi cheap price. Asus, Gigabyte, and few other company’s make great boards. You will need to make sure that your box has a PCI Express card slot for your Graphic Card (not completely necessary but suggested) and the ability to have multiple hard drives (most boards do). I wouldn’t suggest anything to far above 90 dollars for this.
This is going to be dependent on the board you buy. If you buy an AMD supported board you will need a AMD processor and if you buy a Intel supported board you will need an Intel processor. Now you also need to take into account here what all you plan on doing with this machine. If you actually plan on playing some games you may want to get a faster processor or if it’s just going to be a Media PC you may not need the so called “Top of the Line” and can get buy just as good with a lesser one. The price here is dependent on your board choice and how powerful of processor you want rough guess would be between 100 to 200 Dollars.
As a standard that I go by the minimum amount I will put in a system is 2 gigabytes. If your board supports DDR2 ram you can get a 4GB bundle for 60 and 100 dollars.
Here is where you’re going to really need to pay attention to what you get. My suggestion is to go with an ALL-IN-WONDER HD card or a card of similar functionality and comparable good history with the Media PC environment as this card has. You can get a nice one for about 100 to 125 dollars. This card will allow you to be able to capture video. Software is included with the card to be able to do this. If you don’t get the ALL-IN-WONDER you need to look for one that supports1 1080 so that way you get full range of your TV.
Well why would you have a great media setup and not have a good sound system to annoy your neighbors with. On board sound is okay but not nearly good enough you want something that provides your more functionality and the ability to use more of your surround sound. I would suggest looking at Newegg for a sound card I wouldn’t spend any more than 80 on it there are some pretty good ones for under that from Creative.