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Your Top Picks: Tom's Hardware Forums' Q4 2013 BestConfigs

Home Theater PC

Five Tom’s Hardware forum members entered builds in the Home Theater PC BestConfig this quarter.

In the end, A little bit of blu-ray, a little bit of couch gaming stole the show, earning nearly half of the vote.

Congratulations to A little bit of blu-ray, a little bit of couch gaming for suggesting the build picked by Tom's Hardware's community this quarter! 

Unlike the previous HTPC build, which sacrificed computing power for a TV tuner card, this quarter’s winner went back to basics. The HTPC’s Ivy Bridge-based Core i3-3220 handily beats its predecessor’s Sandy Bridge-based Pentium G860.

A Gigabyte H77M-D3H motherboard keeps things modern with GbE, USB 3.0 connectivity, SATA 6Gb/s and a pair of PCIe 3.0 slots. 

A cheap 8GB set of Wintec DDR3-1600 modules gives the HTPC more than enough memory for living room tasks. A 64GB Adata Premier Pro SP900 SSD serves as the system drive in this machine. Meanwhile, a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Green provides ample room for movies and music, all while keeping power usage low. 

The updated version of hapkido’s same low-profile Radeon HD 7750 from Sapphire is the center of attention, adding mainstream gaming capabilities, accelerated video decoding and plenty of display I/O. In another repeat, hapkido’s Blu-ray burner from LG makes an encore appearance this quarter.

The third hardware choice that carries over from the previous configuration is SilverStone’s MILO media center and HTPC case.

Powering it all is a 360W 80 PLUS Gold-certified power supply from Seasonic, a marked step up from the 300W 80 PLUS Bronze unit featured in last quarter’s winning HTPC.

A little bit of blu-ray, a little bit of couch gaming's setup was priced at $696.08 when it was originally configured. The current prices can be found in the BestConfigs shopping tables.

  • Dark Lord of Tech
    That's a nice budget build.
    Reply
  • antemon
    now I'll admit that I'm no expert, since I'm not in any way shape or form, but wtf?

    The office PC has a better GPU than the HTPC? Flashy case for office use. I get that the CX430 is used here since it's a solid PSU, but branded memory?

    1000USD for 'budget' gaming builds? you should at least aim to be a little closer to console prices since we're talking about budget gaming
    Reply
  • Hutchinman
    The total for the budget based AMD gaming system is wrong. There is no way in hell Amazon is selling the MSI Twin Frozr 7950 for $105.

    Your system mistakenly links the Amazon page for the MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB. Fix your system Tom's.
    Reply
  • budget creep strikes again.

    Is it still a budget PC if it can max out every game you own at 1080p? if it costs a lot of money (relative to the gaming market) and places well in the top 10% of peers?
    Reply
  • lancelot123
    What in the hell happened to the prices for the Intel Office PC? Says it was originally built for $500, but now it is saying $714. That is a HUGE difference. Not even sure what would be discounted, especially by that amount, unless the CPU was free.
    Reply
  • Drejeck
    Office PC like that impacts a lot on power consumption, assumed your office goes a lot away from just excel, java-browser administration tools, powerpoint and the likes. That AMD office build is more like a budget multimedia machine with gaming purpose. The HTPC obviously suffer from the case price and thus goes with a lower performance videocard.
    All builds underestimated SSDs and had just an HDD.
    Ok, I get this. There are a lot of hardware prejudices.
    DVD burners in 2013? From what country are you? I spent 4000 euros on my PC and the Asus BD usb3 I got came 6 months later...
    Reply
  • Sangeet Khatri
    In the Bugdet AMD Based Gaming PC. I would have the || Asrock Extreme 3 board + Corsair 300R + 128GB SSD with a 3GB 7970 || from my build as compared to the || Asrock Pro 3 + Rosewill Case + No SSD with 770 2GB ||

    Also most games now are starting to push more than 2GB VRAM. Hence this is where the extra 1GB RAM of the 7970 would be much more useful.

    Just an opinion..
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    MixroATX gaming section:
    40% people chose "AMD" Radeons build... wich happens to use.... an INTEL! :D.

    Toms is starting to be my favorite humor page.
    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    12078455 said:
    The total for the budget based AMD gaming system is wrong. There is no way in hell Amazon is selling the MSI Twin Frozr 7950 for $105.

    Your system mistakenly links the Amazon page for the MSI AMD Radeon HD 7770 1GB. Fix your system Tom's.

    Ha ha! Now's my chance!

    12079601 said:
    Also most games now are starting to push more than 2GB VRAM. Hence this is where the extra 1GB RAM of the 7970 would be much more useful.


    2GB seemed to be fine for 2550x1600 in the gtx 770 review.

    'Grats on your entries, BTW!
    Reply
  • Yuka
    An office PC would rather have a discrete Video card than an SSD or some HDDs in RAID 0 or 1? For real?

    Other than that, pretty standard choices, which makes them good choices, I guess.

    Cheers!
    Reply