Originally Posted by eracer
What PC owners really do that? By the time the hardware you bought three years ago is obsoleted by the software you bought yesterday, you need a new motherboard anyway.
My current HTPC was built by me in 2007 and is now almost 6 years old. I built it back then using upper-range components. Since then, I have upgraded the video card slightly to enable uncompressed HD audio throughput (bitstreaming) over HDMI, added a bit more RAM over the years, and most recently installed an SSD alongside the regular, original HD. The computer is always on, and has been for the past 3+ years. It is only restarted in a power outage, windows updates, or if I leave home for an extended period of time. I have never needed to replace any parts due to malfunction. This 6 year old computer is more than sufficient for Netflix, my 1080p Blu Ray rips running at least 10,000 bitrate, playing regular blu rays from the blu ray drive, and outputting 5.1 channels of uncompressed audio to my AVR. In addition, it serves as a DVR for OTA HD signals via an antenna attached to the built-in HDTV tuner. If I wanted to, I could easily attach it to a regular monitor and use it for everything that you can use a current $1,200 macbook pro for, plus more. And consider that I also do own a $1,200 macbook pro, which will not suffice for how I use my HTPC.
A solid computer built with high quality components will not give you much if any trouble. If you buy a throwaway PC at a retail store, you should expect is performance and longevity to correlate with the price you paid.