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Your Very First HTPC? But Where do You Start?
Quote:Your Very First HTPC? But Where do You Start?

,,Relevant as of Juin 2013,,

Hi there!
You probably end up here because you were looking to get your very first HTPC!
Well you've come to the right place!

First thing first,
since no one wants to waste money,
it's really important to know what to look for in an HTPC!!

And to help you do that,
I strongly suggest you narrow down which Operating system you wanna use.

Example, go for a Windows O/S if you:
- are a Gamer
- are a NetFlix subscriber
- need Bluray Disc Playback
- need to Surf the full web

If you dont need those 4 features, i suggest you use OpenELEC as O/S since its FREE!!

That being said,
I'll list what I think are the best OpenELEC & Windows builds one can get...
So,,, here they are!! Enjoy!!

OpenELEC (USA Pricing)
☆ Build #1. Intel Celeron 847 (2x1.1Ghz) / Intel HD Graphics ($218) --> Average CPU Mark: 1015
☆ Build #2. Intel Celeron 887 (2x1.5Ghz) / Intel HD Graphics ($238) --> Average CPU Mark: 1475
☆ Build #3. AMD Fusion E-350 (2x1.6Ghz) / AMD Radeon HD 6310 ($243) --> Average CPU Mark: 769
☆ Build #4. Intel Celeron 1007U (2x1.5Ghz) / Intel HD Graphics ($248) --> Average CPU Mark: 1561
☆ Build #5. Intel Atom D2700 (2x2.13Ghz) / Nvidia GT 520M ($286) --> Average CPU Mark: 838
☆ Build #6. Intel Atom D2700 (2x2.13Ghz) / Nvidia GT 520M ($308) --> Average CPU Mark: 838

Windows (USA Pricing)
☆ Build #1. Intel Celeron G1610 (2x2.60Ghz) / Intel HD Graphics ($313) --> Average CPU Mark: 2609
☆ Build #2. AMD Liano A6-3500 (3x2.1Ghz) / AMD Radeon HD 6530D ($330) --> Average CPU Mark: 2068
☆ Build #3. AMD Richland A6-6400K (2x3.9Ghz) / AMD Radeon HD 8470D ($342) --> Average CPU Mark: N/A
☆ Build #4. Intel Core i3-3120M (2x2.50Ghz) / Intel HD 4000 ($388) --> Average CPU Mark: 3345
☆ Build #5. Intel Core i3-3225 (2x3.30Ghz) / Intel HD 4000 ($406) --> Average CPU Mark: 4375

Now, if your looking at Powering ON your HTPC from a complete OFF State using a Remote,
this thread Here will suggest you 5 ways to make this feature possible!

Ok. regarding Hard Drives,
i strongly suggest installing your Operating System on-top of a Solid State Drive!!
Its the way to go for me and for many HTPC users!
i know it can be pricey a bit, but benefits are high!
Like blazing fast Boot-up times and overall snappy system responsiveness!
Just think that lowering the CPU or Graphics Card or even Both depending on your needs
will allow you to buy an SSD with the savings!
An 8GB SSD will suffice for XBMC Live (Linux)!
A 30GB SSD will suffice for XBMC on Windows!
I would only go with a 60GB+ SSD if i was an Heavy Gamer or if the price was really good!
So here's examples of frequently bought SSD's!!

[SSD: 32GB] Patriot Torqx2 SATAII 2.5" Trim Read:270MB/s Write:230MB/s ($60 + $0)
[SSD: 64GB] Patriot Torqx2 SATAII 2.5" Trim Read:270MB/s Write:230MB/s ($90 + $0)
[SSD: 64GB] Crucial M4 SATAIII 2.5" Trim Read:415MB/s Write:95MB/s ($90 + $0)
[SSD: 64GB] SAMSUNG 830 SATAIII 2.5" Trim Read:520MB/s Write:160MB/s ($95 + $0)

Note that OpenELEC version of XBMC
is meant to be run from a USB Flash Drive or TF Card..
So which do I recommend for OpenELEC?
[USB 3.0 Flash Drive: 8GB] Patriot PEF8GSBUSB Read:90MB/s ($13 + $0)

Now about RAM,
well, it depends on the XBMC version you plan to run.
This is my suggestion regarding on 'How much RAM do i need for XBMC' ...
*OpenELEC: 1GB (1x1GB)
*XBMCbuntu: 2GB (2x1GB)
*Windows: 4GB (2x2GB)
So here's a list of the best RAM to get in my opinion!!

[RAM: (4GB) 2x2GB DDR3 1066 CL7 1.5V] KINGSTON ValueRAM ($25 + $0)
[RAM: (4GB) 2x2GB DDR3 1333 CL9 1.5V] KINGSTON HyperX Blu ($29 + $0)
[RAM: (4GB) 2x2GB DDR3 1600 CL9 1.5V] KINGSTON HyperX Plug n Play ($39 + $0)
[RAM: (4GB) 2x2GB DDR3 1866 CL11 1.5V] KINGSTON HyperX Plug n Play ($39 + $0)

May I also add these recommendations....

Which Silent Case Fans do I recommend?
[FAN: 80mm] ENERMAX UC-8EB 1500RPM 24CFM 14dBA ($10 + $0)
[FAN: 80mm] SilenX IXP-54-14T 1700RPM 32CFM 14dBA ($10 + $0)
[FAN: 80mm] Enermax UCTB8 1600RPM 28CFM 15dBA ($5 + $7)
[FAN: 120mm] ENERMAX UC-MA12 1500RPM 69CFM 15dBA ($12 + $0)
[FAN: 120mm] SilenX IXP-74-09 800RPM 38CFM 9dBA ($14 + $0)
[FAN: 120mm] Scythe SY1225SL12L 800RPM 40.17CFM 10.70dBA ($14 + $0)
[FAN: 120mm] SilenX EFX-12-15 1400RPM 74CFM 15dBA ($12 + $3)

Which 3rd party CPU Cooler do I recommend?
[CPU Cooler] Scythe SCKZT-1000 TDP:65W Fan:80mm Height:40mm ($40 + $0)
[CPU Cooler] Thermaltake MeORB TDP:65W Fan:92mm Height:47mm ($36 + $0)
[CPU Cooler] Scythe SCBSK-1000 TDP:73W Fan:120mm Height:58mm ($38 + $10)
[CPU Cooler] Scythe SCBSK-2100 TDP:130W Fan:120mm Height:58mm ($50 + $0)
[CPU Cooler] Scythe SCSK-1100 TDP:75W Fan:100mm Height:64mm ($29 + $3)

Which Bluray Reader do I recommend?
[BD-ROM] Samsung SH-B123L Read:12X Access Time:210ms Cache:2MB ($65 + $0)
[BD-ROM] LG UH12LS28K Read:12X Access Time:180ms Cache:4MB ($59 + $0)

Which Bluray Writer do I recommend?
[BD-R] LG WH12LS38K Read:10X Write:12X Access Time:180ms Cache:4MB ($83 + $0)
[BD-R] Pioneer BDR-206DBK Read:8X Write:12X Access Time:170ms Cache:4MB ($92 + $0)

And here's a list of other mini-ITX cases I've seen users purchasing:
[mini-ITX] M350 ($40 + $0)
[mini-ITX] APEX MI-008 (250W Internal PSU included) ($45 + $0)
[mini-ITX] Smartti A9089-QGG (150W Internal PSU included) ($37 + $12)
[mini-ITX] APEX MI-100 (250W Internal PSU included) ($43 + $7)
[mini-ITX] Ark CI02 (90W External PSU included) ($45 + $8)
[mini-ITX] Rosewill RS-MI-01 BK (250W Internal PSU included) ($50 + $7)
[mini-ITX] Cooler Master RC-100-KKP3-GP (150W Internal PSU included) ($65 + $0)
[mini-ITX] Thermaltake Element Q (220W Internal PSU included) ($58 + $7)
[mini-ITX] LIAN LI PC-Q07 ($59 + $10)
[mini-ITX] Antec ISK100 (80W External PSU included) ($70 + $0)
[mini-ITX] Antec ISK110 (80W External PSU included) ($78 + $0)
[mini-ITX] Antec ISK 300-65 (65W External PSU included) ($78 + $0) --> Read Me
[mini-ITX] Antec ISK 310-150 (150W Internal PSU included) ($80 + $0)
[mini-ITX] Antec ISK 300-150 (150W Internal PSU included) ($90 + $0)
[mini-ITX] SilverStone SUGO SG05B (300W Internal PSU included) ($105 + $0)
[mini-ITX] Lian Li PC-Q08B ($110 + $10)

And here's a list of other micro-ATX cases I've seen users purchasing:
[micro-ATX] Silverstone ML03B ($60 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Thermaltake VF6000BNS ($70 + $0)
[micro-ATX] nMediaPC 6000B ($70 + $15)
[micro-ATX] Thermaltake VF6000BWS ($90 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Silverstone GD05B ($90 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Silverstone GD04B ($100 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Antec NSK1480 (350W Internal PSU included) ($97 + $14)
[micro-ATX] Antec NSK2480 (380W Internal PSU included) ($113 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Antec NSK1380 (350W Internal PSU included) ($114 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Silverstone GD06B ($122 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Antec Fusion Remote Black ($149 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Antec Fusion Remote Silver ($149 + $0)
[micro-ATX] Lian Li PC-C37B ($143 + $12)

Wich Wireless Network Adapters do I recommend?
[USB 2.0] Rosewill RNX-N180UBE 300Mbps WPA2 Band:2.4GHz ($20 + $3)
[PCI Express x1] ASUS PCE-N15 300Mbps WPA2 Band:2.4GHz ($30 + $0)
[PCI] TP-LINK TL-WN951N 300Mbps WPA2 Band:2.4GHz ($26 + $0)
[PCI] Linksys WMP600N 300Mbps WPA2 Band:2.4GHz/5GHz ($50 + $0)

Looking for a Fanless PicoPSU for your HTPC?
If so, click Here for some ideas!!

Looking for a IR Remote Control for your HTPC?
If so, click Here for some ideas!!

Looking for a WireLess RF Keyboard to control your HTPC?
If so, click Here for some ideas!!

Finally, your the boss here!!
No matter what you'll buy, you'll have an amazing HTPC experience!

hope this helps!

great post!
Very informative :thumbsup:
Great starter thread for custom HTPC builds. I cannot stress the point that a cutstom build is just that... your custom build! Shocked

That is the point of building a custom HTPC rather than buying a pre-built system. You can purchase the components to fit your needs within your budget.

So make it your own!
very good post, thanks
If your really trying to keep costs low, is a video card really required for motherboards that contain integrated graphics?
I see the ASRock 880 board that you have listed contains integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 gfx.

Is that enough to do everything that a GT210 card would do?

By the way, thanks for this and all your other posts!
im not a fan of ATI personally....
Some users have stutter problems in XBMC Live with their ATI gpu...
Nvidia is just the safe way to go for me....
Last thing i wanna do is struggle and not enjoy my HTPC....
Alright thanks for the thread!
I vouch for the ASRock Atom A330ION ..... take a look at my build....

(Had for a little while and it's pretty good wanted a different case that I could not use Mini ITX)
Definitely a sweet Build Beer40oz!!
I like the Green Lighting it has!!

Also thanks to you,
i can safely recommend those who bought the $186 Mini-ITX build to:
#1. install the GeForce/ION Driver 266.58 WHQL to fix the sound issue
#2. set the GPU's ram from AUTO to 512MB in the bios settings

Thanks eskro Smile As always incredibly helpful!
actually thanks to you guys for appreciating my work Smile
Another thank you for eskro.
Great thread.
Thanks for this post. I'm starting to plan my first HTPC. This is the perfect guide to get me started.

Any chance this can be locked and stickied so it doesnt' become a miles long thread where the important stuff gets lost?
bookmark it for now Tongue
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