A frontend only machine's main function is to receive media content from the backend and distribute it to the television/monitor and sound system. In standard HTPC applications, it's preferable that this machine is quiet, small and fits in aesthetically with the user's home theatre. This type of hardware need not be overly powerful, unless it is intended for HD use. Software-wise, it will have the minimum required software to fit the end use- e.g. Gnome or KDE environments are overkill in this application and will not be installed. For the best HTPC experience, you should get an lirc-supported remote control to use with this frontend.