the esata disks fit in a nice enclosure (1 cable) much like the mediasmart, so looking 'like crap' missed the mark
yah, i guess if you just leave them individually lying around and connected, then it would.. but who would do that? maybe a slob, but i digress..
anyway.. my HTPC is simply a Shuttle (small form factor) machine.. i put a q6600 in there with 4gb ram a decent graphics card and voila.. matter of fact it is very cheap to build at todays prices as compared to when i did it 2yrs ago..
and for the money, you'd be hard pressed to build your own version of the hp
mediasmart server for the same price... since time is also money, it was and still is (for me) cheaper to buy the hp
than build my own.. also, you just open the box.. hook up an ethernet cable, turn it on... and go thru a VERY simply initial configuration and you are up/running
adding new HDDs is just open a drive bay and hot swap in a new one..