So I'm working on building my HTPC and this is what I got.
PS, I found this rig in the garage and it was my roommate's sisters so I decided to repurpose it.
Processor P4 3.0 Ghz
Hard Disk ~40GB last time I checked
Ram 512 MB
Video Onboard video card (ouch!)
Control Pads: Xbox 360 Usb x2 (soon to be usb adapters for n64 + snes)
Wireless: Wireless N (draft 2.0 spec) soon to come PCI
OS : Windows XP Pro SP2 (soon sp3 with all .net updates)
Front End: On first boot go straight into full screen to XBMC (www.xbmc.org) with aeon stark skin (http://www.aeonproject.com/)
This also supports karaoke so I have a bunch of cdg karaoke files and my guitar amp + mic for parties when it's karaoke time!
Secondary FrontEnd: Maximus Arcade (http://www.maximusarcade.com/)
This support launching of SNES, N64, Mame, etc.
1) Alter boot image of Windows XP to be the XBMC logo with a little photoshop modification (WIP right now)
2) Add new tabs inside XBMC to link to a launcher plugin that will launch Maximus while closing XBMC behind it.
3) Add a new option in Maximus to launch XBMC and close Maximus behind it.
Once I have that, I can destroy all stupid processes on the XP Box and free up as much resources as I can.
That will give me full experience of a full scale media center streaming all of my content from other computers in the network (using easy windows filesharing and doing mapping on the XBMC side that's easy to understand..Movies, Music, etc.)
This will give me these abilities:
1) Full Media Experience using XBMC and streaming my content across the network
2) Ability to move into "Game Mode" and use my Xbox 360 wired controllers for full access to all games (soon I'll set up a n64 pad)
2a) Also, I'll probably use XPadder to map some controller setups to the n64 controller when it gets in if the emualtor has any problems
3) Fairly simple transition of XBMC to Maximus. Havn't seen it yet, but I hope it will overlay when i switch instead of hitting desktop.... if it does hit desktop, i'll remove the start bar and make everything black or do a cool backdrop of some of my artwork for the transition.
Does anyone have any suggestions for further improvements?
I know other areas of possibility are Boxee (which is based on XBMC) but I love the aeon skin so I'd like to keep something really nice like that.