HTPC for $400

Approximate Purchase Date: During the summer

Budget Range: 400-450. Can go up to 500 if it means better parts

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching movies at 1080p, light gaming (Minecraft, Morrowind)

Parts Not Required: Monitor, HDD, DVD Drive

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Needs to have a small case that would fit on a large shelf.
8 answers Last reply
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  1. I would go for something based on an AMD A8-3870K. It's a decent quad core CPU with the best integrated graphics available. Pair that with 4GB of RAM and a Mini ITX A75 board with a ~60GB SSD and you should be set. If you are willing to up the budget a bit though, an i5-3570K based build would be a lot better. The integrated graphics are almost as good but the CPU power is vastly superior. It means if you go with a case that can support it, you can add a graphics card later for nice gaming performance too.
  2. agreed, a A8 3870K has great IG

    with 4gb ram 400W decent cpu from decent brand for longer life well at least it wont blast your system to pieces.
    good old win 7 home premium.

    or you can go intel pentium, but imo the Llano still sounds nicer
  3. Agreed, the A8 is fine for his usage in terms of CPU power, I should have specified that the i5 route is only necessary if he plans to add a graphics card and play more demanding games in future.

    Something like this should be great:

    AMD A8-3870K
    Crucial 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
    ASRock A75M-ITX FM1
    Intel 330 Series 60GB
    IN WIN BP655.200BL Mini ITX Case with 200W PSU

    Total - $390.95

    That should do you fine but that PSU may be a bit questionable so it may be worth upgrading it to something like this:

    That only has 2 x SATA connectors though so I'd grab a molex to SATA adapter.

    You would then be looking at around $440.
  4. I think "questionable" is being kind :)

    But the PSU upgrade makes it good. Since he has an HDD though and needs an OS I think it has to go a little differently.

    If you drop the GPU and MB/CPU combo from my build and add this:

    you are just a bit over $450. Which is better? Well, the unlocked APU and board that can deal with it seems like a better combo, but you do sacrifice a little GPU power, I think.

    On the other hand, you did say no to overclocking, so maybe the Intel build is better.
  5. Silverstone Milo is BY FAR the best case for this. You want something low and wide that will fit in with the home stereo, etc. Milo takes a full size power supply, yet is still shaped like a cable box. They also make more expensive versions if you want more.

    Don't cut corners on the PSU -- this PC will run all the time, so needs to stay cool and quiet. This Antec 380D listed above is as cheap as I would go.
    ( the rear fan works better on a HTPC case -- bottom fan isn't great in a small enclosure)

    I agree that some of the AMD integrated chips would be a good choice. I also think that a low end Intel processor and a $40-50 low profile video card would work nicely too.

    If you have room in the budget, a nice heatsink for your CPU will allow the fan to run a lot less, keeping everything quieter. I have this in my milo case -- its awesome and silent.

    Good luck.
  6. That's a nice case for the money... USB 3.0 ports too.
  7. I took a shot at this just for fun. I haven't seriously considered in a while, so I'm sure there are better deals than this on particular parts...

    MSI R6570-MD1G/LP Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready Low Profile Ready Video Card
    Item #: N82E16814127611
    Return Policy: VGA Standard Return Policy
    $20.00 Mail-in Rebate Card

    Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D Green 380W Continuous power ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power ...
    Item #: N82E16817371033
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$15.00 Instant $59.99 =$44.99

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL8D-4GBXM
    Item #: N82E16820231438
    Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy

    ASUS P8H61-M LX PLUS (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
    Item #: N82E16813131793
    Return Policy: Standard Return Policy
    -$5.00 Instant $74.99 $69.99

    Intel Core i3-2120 Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz LGA 1155 65W Dual-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 2000 BX80623I32120 Item #: N82E16819115077
    Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy

    SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum skin reinforced plastic front panel, 0.8mm SECC body MILO Series ML03B Micro ATX Media Center ... Item #: N82E16811163174 Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

    Subtotal: $392.94
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