Advice Needed: Budget 2 stage HTPC Build


Jul 12, 2011
Just finished my first build a few weeks ago and got the desire to build an HTPC, too. Was going to wait until I had some more $, but my DVD player died last night, so I'm going to go ahead and build an HTPC in two stages to split costs.

Stage 1 (basically an internet enabled DVD player): Case (PSU), Mobo & CPU, memory, already have hard drive for OS only and Optical drive
Stage 2: Larger hard drive (1TB+), tuner card, remote - what else?

Approximate Purchase Date: Stage 1 - this week, Stage 2 - a month or two

Budget Range: Around $400-$450 total - $200 now, $200+ later

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Watching BluRay DVDs on 52" 1080P TV, recording and playback of OTA HD channels, watching stuff on HULU/Netflix, streaming movies/music from NAS drive.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Used Newegg for last build, but not important.

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: by brand or type: Heard good things about the AMD E-350, but open to anything

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Probably not

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Needs to be quiet, run Windows Media Center. Not used for gaming at all. Just video recording/playback/streaming. Really interested on whether I should go ITX or mATX. What's going to give me the best bang for my buck?


Jul 12, 2011
Normally I would agree, but a lot of people's finished HTPC builds (who don't need video recording) are my first stage. Consider the second stage upgrading a base HTPC if it makes you feel better :D Do appreciate the advice. To get some thoughts flowing, this is what I'm considering for phase 1:

SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum ML03B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case $59.99 (Same price w/ free shipping from Amazon) There are cheaper, but I like that this one takes an ATX power supply and offers plenty of upgrade options down the road.

Antec EarthWatts Green EA-380D 39.99

ASRock E350M1/USB3 AMD E-350 APU (1.6GHz, Dual-Core) $109.99

Kingston 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) $26.99

Already Have:

Windows Media Center

100GB Hard Drive

BluRay DVD Drive

Total: $236.96

A little over budget, but I could live with it.


Dec 29, 2007
Cheapest, and easiest option here: Step one, Buy PS3 (new or used). Step 2 buy a 1TB notebook drive.

$110 Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD10TPVT 1TB 5200 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive

$250 SONY Playstation 3 Console 160 GB Black

If you want a HTPC, look into spending a lot more to get something better.

$40 APEX DM-317-A Black/ Silver Steel Micro ATX Media Center / Slim HTPC Computer Case (has a crappy PSU)
$50 Foxconn A88GMV AM3 AMD 880G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard (onboard vid is perfectly fine for 1080)
$75 AMD Athlon II X3 445 Rana 3.1GHz 3 x 512KB L2 Cache Socket AM3 95W
$23 G.SKILL Value Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

I'd spend a bit more for a better case, and a good PSU.

$60 SILVERSTONE Black Aluminum skin reinforced plastic front panel, 0.8mm SECC body MILO Series ML03B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
$45 ENERMAX NAXN ENP350AST 350W ATX12V Power Supply