Fry’s (San Francisco Bay Area stores only) has a great deal on an Intel i3 540 CPU and Gigabyte H55m-S2H motherboard for just the cost of the CPU. That basically saves the cost of a $90 motherboard (price at Newegg) and the cost of shipping if you live near a Fry’s. Here’s a positive review of the Gigabyte H55m-S2H motherboard in case you’re wondering if the motherboard is worthwhile.
This is a low-power Intel “Clarkdale” system with a 32nm dual-core Westmere-class CPU and a 45nm Intel G55-class graphics processor built into the CPU package. Power consumption is very low for idle and peak and Clarkdales are known for extreme overclocking potential. The motherboard has DVI and HDMI so it is a great HTPC candidate.
The Clarkdale graphics is has full dual-stream 1080P offload and probably more than double the 3D performance of the older G45 based graphics from Intel. That’s still not good graphics performance by any stretch of the imagination, but decent for an integrated part for casual gaming like World of Warcraft type games but not too good 3D shooters.