The basic concepts are that you need for most HTPC's anyway.
CPU: dual/triple core CPU: i3 2100, Athlon II X2/X3, A4 - A6 APU's.
MB: MiniITX, microATX that is supports your CPU.
Mem: 2x2GB works just fine, but it's so cheap that you can easily go 2x4GB
HDD: Usually 1TB minimum for storage
Optical: Bluray drive
Case: one that fits all your components and you like usually microATX and miniITX. Silent operation and good stable cooling is generally nice to have.
Affects the longevity of your system.
PSU: Depends heavily on the case, but if you can use regulars, the more efficient it is the less heat you produce and the less heat you produce the less noise it will make.
Also fanless options available. Low
GPU: The build in graphics for i3's and A4-A6 apu's are quite ok, but you will do better having a reasonable GPU.
Nvidia GT430 is pretty decent for the job, same with Radeon 5570/6570 series. They have enough juice for most post processing things as well.
Recommended one would be 6570. And it is pretty cheap.
Possibly an SSD for boot drive 30 to 60GB
TV Tuner Card - you can get 4 tuner cable cards for 300-400, so up to that pretty much.
For Bluray movie playback SW such as PowerDVD 10/11 Ultra
A very complete HTPC configuration for years of entertainment. 323,00 $ (excl DVD player)
CPU/GPU -AMD A4-3400- $69.99
Great Dual Core 2.7 ghz CPU with integrated AMD HD6410 graphics processor. No need for extra VGA card or a motherboard with onboard VGA this cpu has it all.
CPU Cooler Enermax ETS-T40 T.B.SILENCE CPU Cooler(Side Flow) 39,00$
We need a silent cooler. the Stock cooler will not do, too Much rpm and rpm means noise. You can adjust this one from 800 rpm to 1800 rpm.
Motherboard – ASRock A75M-HVS FM1 AMD A75 – $69.99
Complete motherboard. With Optical audio out and HDMI out. Connect it to your 5.1 system and HD TV with ease. Supports DDR 3 upto 2400+. 6 sata ports for your HD`s. with 1GB lan you can use this system also as a media stream server.
RAM – 2x2GB DDR3-1333 – $25
No nonsense RAM
HDD – Seagate Barracuda 1TB – $54
green Speedy Harddisk
PSU – Antec Earthwatts 380 – $40
A very green powersupply 80% efficiency + 80mm lownoise fan creates a airflow in the case.
DVD – LG DVD burner – $20
No comment Only if you need it. We dont we dont believe in this type of storage anymore. We copied all our DVDs to the Harddisks. No more waste of physical space and scratches.
Case – Any Micro ATX case $25
APEX TX-381-C Black Steel Micro ATX Tower Computer Case
Ugly but cheap. Do not connect the fan either.
For processor choose an Intel Core I3 2100.
This dualcore with Hyperthreading has 3 mb cahce en a clockspeed of 3.1GHZ. This makes this CPU great for converting media files. If your budget dont allow this CPU then get an AMD Athlon II X2
CPU Cooler: Scythe Shuriken.
It is very important that the HTPC is quiet. Thats why we do not pick the stock CPU Cooler but the Scythe Shuriken.
With a 100mm this cooler doesn’t make a sound.
Motherboard: Asus P8H61-M PRO
a compact system therefore we require a micro-atx board. The motherboard is very complete. 2 USB 3.0 ports, gigabit ethernet, s/pdif-connector (for digital output) and 6 sata connections. It also gives us room to add more harddisks in the future when our movie library expands.
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM KVR1333D3N9/2G
For an HTPC 2 GB is enough. But if you want to run a Virtual Machine or a Virtual Server then i would suggest to get at least 4gb.
VGA Card: Sapphire HD 6450 512MB DDR3
The HD 6450 is passive cooled, a must for an HTPC. It also supports DXVA. With DXVA the GPU is able to encode x264 (HD movies). If you are a NVIDIA fan get the GT520
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar 5k3000 2TB
A “Green” economy disk which is reliable, cheap and quiet. The differences with Green harddisks of other manufacturers are minimal. Hitachi is not the only best choise.
Case: Silverstone Grandia GD04B
Out of all available cases we have choosen the GD04 because it is very short. It will fit in different entertainment center forniture. The case also includes a couple of quiet fans. If you wish a lower case you should get the SST-ML03B of the same manufacturer. But if you want more space for future expantion then we recommend the LC10-E.
Powersupply: Seasonic S12II-Bronze 330W
This model is able to supply 330Watt which is enough for the parts we have chosen. The 80plus Brons-certificate indicatates that the device is efficient with energy
This powersupply is again very quiet.
Optical drive: Samsung SH-B123L/BSBP
To play our Blu-ray discs. We choose this model because of the nice design.
Remote Control: Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless
A traditional remote control keyboard can serve. But with the latest applications a smartphone can be used as remote control aswell.
A lot of people still want a keyboard. The Enermax is a good choice because it is compact and has a trackball. A seperate mouse is not required.
source - www.besthtpc.net