All-in-one living room PC (HTPC + NAS)


Jul 11, 2011
My two roommates and I have a lot of media to share and a brand new HDTV to watch movies on. I also have a fantasy of being able to play games on the TV with a wireless mouse and keyboard, like a console but better! So I'm hoping I can build a machine that does a few different things, and that I'm not trying to kill TOO many birds with one stone. I'm willing to accept that a "generalist" machine won't do anything as well as a specialized build, so I don't need to play Crysis 2 in 1080p or have ultra-fast NAS, more than 2 drives, etc.

But maybe it's worth being ambitious / cramming in features! I like the idea of having a jack-of-all trades living room box. How much gaming performance can you get out of something that also does HTPC/NAS duty?

Approximate Purchase Date: Now / anytime in the next month

Budget Range: Up to $1500 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
- playing back 1080p movies on a HDTV, running software like mediabrowser etc.
- acting as a network-accessible file server for 1-2 TB of data, hopefully on the internet too via VPN
- download content
- play 3D games -- not the cutting edge, but something like Fallout ought to look good in 1080p
- running iTunes to act as a central music player for wireless speakers (e.g. via Airport Express)
- rip DVDs
- record TV with a TV tuner card (strictly optional, may not work out real well w/ our cable box setup)

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I like but not picky!

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Can't be a full tower case due to space constraints. The ideal would be a small cube, but willing to have a bigger case if it allows for storage requirements, better cooling, or better GPU options for gaming.

Overclocking: Willing to consider it.

SLI or Crossfire: Hopefully not necessary for semi-decent gaming?

Monitor Resolution: Will be connected to a HDTV: 1920x1080.

Additional Comments: Nice-looking case a plus, since it's for living-room movie watching it can't have very noisy fans, but doesn't need to be totally silent. (HD noises OK). At least four USB ports needed. Wireless/N.


Mar 22, 2010
I put 2 HDD for Raid 1 (mirror) or just use as a backup. you dont want to lose your media :) GPU was chosen for 1080p gaming and is should run cooler and quieter. HDD were chosen for reliability, they should be just fine for DVR function and media playback. Need to add OS and some software for the BR drive playback.


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Ceton InfiniTV 4 Digital Cable Quad-tuner Card
Ceton InfiniTV 4 Quad-tuner Card for Watching Digital Cable TV on the PC, PCI-Express x1 Interface