So yeah, that was a mouthful
I'm thinking 0f build an HTPC that will also act as my Network hub, if I can do it for the right Price.
I like the Idea of an APU system if I can do it without sacrificing to much graphics performance, but as it will be running steam os (possibly in dual boot mode, tandem with perhaps XBMCbuntu, or something else) I can just stream from my main rig (which can certainly handle the work load.)
4tb? of storage sounds about right, and as this is a Network hub, I'm gonna need it to have 8 ethernet ports (not counting the line from the modem)
A mini- itx or Micro Atx both seem like good choices, I'm looking for the slimest form factor (and I would still prefer an optical drive to no optical drive, slim or standard, and blue ray read at the least.)
you don't need 8 Ethernet ports (you can't anyway on a mini itx board) you just need a switch. If by router you mean something like pfsense then you will need to have that as either a separate box or a VM, but i would strongly suggest doing it as a separate box. If you want this build to have all these different functions then just install ubuntu on it, that will make it easy to install xbmc and steam as well as setting it up as a file server and whatever.
Doesn't quite fit my needs, I'm looking to replace 4 pieces of equipment with a single unit. (I have my switch and my wifi router, I use a repurposed netbook as my media center with a USB external drive as my network storage) Right now the setup is grossly inefficient and I'm seeking a spiffer solution to all this, my tv area and my desk are pretty much adjcent (as well as my wifes desk on the other side) and then I have network extendind out into the house and upstairs (where it continues to spider web)
Having a central box to control all this just makes more sense to me.
Adding network cards to a computer is not the same thing as a switch, you're going to need to keep that. not to mention that 8 network interfaces is very expensive and not possible on a mini itx board. I would also suggest keeping your router as is, if you wanted to turn a computer in to a router you can use pfsense or something similar, but then you won't be able to use that computer for anything else. You could set it up as a virtual machine running on the HTPC but if you did that your internet wouldn't work when you turn the HTPC off, or if you're dual booting when you boot in to the other operating system. As far as the HTPC goes you can use that as a file server too no problem, but if that's the case then use ubuntu and XBMC rather than xbmcuntu as it will be easier to configure. But keep in mind that if you set it up as a file server or anything else when you boot into another OS you will lose that functionality.
This item seems like a decent in box solution to most of my needs, I can probably virtual machine pfsense for firewall functionality