Here is mine:
Not very powerful, but cheap and absolutely silent...
Motherboard MSI K9N ULTRA (AM2 socket, pci-express 16x)
512 Mo DDR2-SDRAM DDR533 (no ram near cooler or it fries)
Sempron 3200+ 2Ghz AM2socket (discard the noisy AMD cooler)
Thermaltake tr2-r1 cooler (works better and is VERY silent)
Arctic Silver 5 thermal paste (1.5 rice grain needed)
ArcticClean surface purifier (useful but couldn't find it)
ATX Dexlan case with 400W PSU (audio panel not compatible)
Realtek 8139 PCI ethernet (cheapest, good packet driver)
IDE CD-ROM drive (compatible with El Torito standard)
Gigabyte GeForce 7300 GT PCI-E (passive cooler 100% silent)
Motherboard 80 euros
512Mb RAM 40 euros
2Ghz processor 60 euros
Silent cpu cooler 10 euros
Arctic Silver 5 6 euros
Case and 400W power supply 30 euros
Network ethernet adapter 9 euros
CD-ROM drive 15 euros
Nv40 silent graphic card 90 euros
Total 340 euros
Note that in US dollars, that will mean around 350 US dollars. Exact exchange rate would say 450 US dollars but VAT in europe is very high, so final rate is around 1:1 if VAT is low in your country.
GeForce 7300 GT from Gigabyte has no rotating cooler.
It's a member of nv40 family with 256Mb of VRAM. Not old, not expensive.
It has a huge massive block of metal that cools it well enough.
So it's 100% silent. Its bandwidth is 10Gb/s. HDMI output exists.
As a comparison GeForce 8800 has a bandwidth of 85 Gb/s but is very expensive (600 euros).
To have a PCI-express 16x slot on motherboard is the key to future upgrades.
It's possible we have enough data to obtain a working driver for nv40 family (see Nouveau project on sourceforge or wikipedia, look at drm folder -direct rendering manager-)
You can also just reuse your old computer. Any non rusty graphic card is VESA 2.0 compliant, which means its BIOS offers APIs able to immediately offer us 800x600 or 1024x768, 16 up to 24 bits per pixel frame buffer with 32 bits linear addressing, right after boot! For 2D applications that may be quite enough. Until a confirmed working nv40 driver appears, for testing, it's surely enough!
Recent graphic card (and mother board with pci-express 16x slot) will be needed for hardware accelerated 3D.
If your TV or HDTV doesn't have a VGA input, you can try to connect graphic card S-Video output to your TV or HDTV S-Video input. Some graphic card will activate S-Video output right at boot time. Recent cards get it activated only after windows driver reads some registry setting, so, just try your luck. In most case VGA is as good as HDMI.
About keyboard, mouse or joypad, situtation may be a bit tricky until a usb driver is made. PS2 keyboard and mouse (choose optical mouse) are of course supported immediately. But expect inovative tricks since ethernet link is usable : wiimote or sixaxis support through a bluetooth dongle on nearby PC.
About sound cards, my favorites are :
PCI (1102,0002) : Creative SoundBlaster Live! (CT4830) sound card
PCI (1102,0002) : Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1 (SB0220) sound card
PCI (1102,0004) : Creative SoundBlaster Audigy ES (SB0160) sound card
They have programmable FX8010 DSP (digital sound processor). That is, we can send microcode to it in order to have hardware acceleration (AC3 hardware decoding or encoding towards SPDIF output, for example). Also open source drivers for those cards exist in ALSA project (sound drivers for linux). So there won't be any problem for their drivers.
Edited by openxdkman, 26 March 2007 - 08:18 AM.