I'm working on a new front end:
Intel Core 2 Duo E4500
Asus SVDO card
Seagate 160GB drive
Samsung DVD drive
The Intel DG965OT mainboard has integrated video and audio. The only video port, however, is VGA. The add-on Asus SVDO card occupies the 16x PCI-Express slot and provides a DVI-D connector. Currently, we have a small LCD monitor hooked up to the DVI connector while we decide which HDTV we want. Most likely, we will need to use a DVI->HDMI cable to hook up the television.
The NSK2480 case comes with two 12cm fans. I removed one and blocked the hole (with the cover that Antec provides). I set the remaining fan on low. I'm using a Zalman AlCu7000 cooler, with the fan set on low.
Although the disk noise is loud when it seeks, it does that only when I'm installing software. In ordinary use (that is, watching a recording, video, or DVD), the disk is mostly inactive and silent. The case fan is a little louder than I'd like. I intend to replace it with a quieter fan.
I installed Opensuse 10.3 without any problems. It recognized and setup the video, audio, and gigabit Ethernet.
I'm using lirc unmodified from the Opensuse 10.3 distribution, but I had to download and install LCDproc manually. I built it from sources, but I believe an RPM is available from one of the Opensuse repositories.
I've been working on my own lircrc that meets our needs.
This has been a remarkably easy system to build. The Intel integrated video works well, although it doesn't always powerdown, even though DPMS is enabled. I configured a button on the remote to force DPMS on or off to work around this problem.