Feeling a bit prodigious, I bought a Shuttle PC the other day (SH55). It totally looks like a toaster, but it’s cool. It’s going to be an always-on HTPC for the living room.
I am completely out of the consumer PC hardware loop and ended up getting the i7-860 (1156) instead of an i5. The major, major difference for these two would be the availability of integrated graphics on the i5, vs two extra cores on the i7. Wish I had gotten the i5, since then I would be able to play with the PC immediately using the integrated graphics.
As it is now, I’m waiting for an EVGA GeForce GT 240 video card. The DirectX 11 compatible cards are too expensive for now. Also, it’s a single slot card that is suitable for the Shuttle stock 300W power supply, so it should be quiet and cool compared to some of the monstrosities out there. This card is just enough since the PC is going to be using the TV as its monitor, with a native 1920 x 1200 resolution.
I got two sticks of 4GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1333, total of 8GB. Combined with the graphics card, this machine should be able to run Photoshop CS5 swimmingly as well. In the end its way better than any machine I have now. I’m using the HDD and optical drive from my old PC. The harddrive uses SATA revision 1, so it will probably be the biggest bottleneck for the system.
There’s a lot of room for upgrade in the system: new GFX card (maybe a full size one if I change the power supply), two more DIMM slots, and another 3.5 inch HDD (hello SSD!), so this machine should be good for many years.