My point is that he picked components which are WAY overkill/overpriced for an MCE machine, it doesn't make sense running such fast/loud/hot machine in a living room environment.
High-end components for an MCE machine? Absolutely
Loud machine? Take a look at the choices:
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu
This can be run in silent mode and will not generate noise:
That covers the CPU cooler, lets look at the video card (another fan source):
ASUS Extreme N6600 Silencer
This one is actually passively cooled. Check it out here:
Moving on to the fans in the case, they have:
2 x 80mm exhaust fan, 2050rpm, 21dBA
This rivals Vantec stealth fans (~20dBA)
I agree with your point on it being a big machine for MCE, but I would suspect they came to the following:
1. I'm buying a CPU, buy single or dual core? hmm, might as well go dual
2. I can go Intel or AMD? hmm, power consumption and heat production is lowest on AMD and performance is higher, AMD it is.
I think I can quote BSR on this one: we never spoke of the budget first. If you don't care about the price, why not get a nice machine like this. Everything ages why not make this one last if you are not worried about spending more. Plus if you bought that machine it would probably cost around $4k from a 'dealer' (go price MCE machines at Dell, Alienware and other notables.
Again, I agree completely with your point though. My MCE is running on a P4 2.53GHZ 533MHZ FSB without HT. Am I happy? You betcha!
In regards to postage, check out ZZF or NewEgg, it is not going to cost that much. At ZZF 2day fedex is included and shipping is cheap at NewEgg with the exception of cases. Compare the parts to something you would buy on the higher end and you will save a bunch of money. Look at the low end and you will probably find you are wasting your time.
A few points in Electron's favor: I don't think he was very smart in picking the storage like that. 1 400GB drive for $315 as apposed to 3 250GB drives for about the same price. You could run 500GB in RAID 5 for the same price (using mobo based raid, not sure if the ABIT has it, but ASUS does and thats what I would buy).
Also, he got the MS keyboard, cool concept but it is IR. Even those here who like it have typically gotten the gyration mouse to complement it. (I'm happy with my gyration by the way!)
I'm surprised it only has a 430 watt power supply.
It has 2 dvd burners? Didn't quite follow that.
Also surprising was a lot of high-end choices and then value ram is selected (although I usually only buy corsair so maybe that has a different connotation for kingston).