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Home Theater PC

Your Top Picks: Tom's Hardware Forums' Q1 2013 BestConfigs

The Home Theater PC BestConfig had five entries to choose from this quarter.

In the end, hapkido’s $700 “I should upgrade my media PC” beat the $500 Deep Dive by a single vote. The extra $200 in hapkido’s budget was spent on discrete graphics and a TV tuner. Good call!

Congratulations to forum member hapkido for having his recommended build picked by the Tom's Hardware community this quarter! 

Unlike 2011’s HTPC build, which concentrated more on living room aesthetics than functionality, hapkido set out to create a truly capable set-top PC. This build centers on the value-packed Pentium G860, a dual-core chip based on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture.

An ASRock B75 PRO3-M motherboard provides gigabit Ethernet, so streaming HD content will never become a problem for you cable-cutters out there, while an optical audio output should play well with any high-end speaker system. 

A pair of 4 GB DDR3-1600 modules from Muskin gives this HTPC more than enough memory for any living room task. A 60 GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD accelerates boot-up, shutdown, and app launching, reflecting a marked improvement over the previous HTPC build. Meanwhile, the 1.5 TB Western Digital Caviar Green provides ample room for recording television programming, while keeping power usage low. 

Mushkin Blackline DDR3-1600Mushkin Blackline DDR3-1600Mushkin Chrono DeluxeMushkin Chrono DeluxeWestern Digital Cavair GreenWestern Digital Cavair Green

The low profile Radeon HD 7750 packs plenty of punch for media playback. Meanwhile, Hauppauge's WinTV sports dual tuners for functionality comparable to most standard DVRs from your local cable company (sans the monthly fees). A burner from LG provides Blu-ray playback and recording capabilities.

SeaSonic 300W BronzeSeaSonic 300W Bronze

This thoughtfully-designed build is concealed beneath SilverStone’s MILO media center and HTPC case, which shouldn’t draw any undue attention in your existing media rack. Powering it all is a 300 W 80 PLUS Bronze-certified power supply from Seasonic. 

This build was priced at $694.90 when hapkido originally configured it. The current prices of hapkido’s “I should upgrade my media PC” can be found in the BestConfigs shopping tables.

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