BestConfigs Poll - Home Theater PC

Which build do you like best?

  • hapkido's "I should upgrade my media PC" build

    Votes: 18 29.5%
  • CheesyHotDogPuff's "Back To The Phenom"CheesyHotDogPuff's "Back To The Phenom"

    Votes: 4 6.6%
  • Silence is a Virtue

    Votes: 10 16.4%
  • "Deep Dive"

    Votes: 17 27.9%
  • Graham's Starter kit

    Votes: 12 19.7%

  • Total voters


Overlord Emeritus
It's time to vote on your favorite build for this category!

Please see below for a list of the choices available.

hapkido's "I should upgrade my media PC" build

Processor: Intel Pentium G860 $74.99
Motherboard: ASRock B75 PRO3-M $69.99
RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 1600 $39.99
Graphics Card: SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7750 $104.99
TV Tuner Card: Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 $109.99
Hard Drive 1: Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 60GB SATA III SSD $64.99
Hard Drive 2: Western Digital Caviar Green 1.50 TB $74.99
Case: SILVERSTONE Black MILO Series HTPC Case $59.99
Power Supply: SeaSonic 300W 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified $39.99
Blu-ray Burner: LG Blu-ray Burner $54.99

Total: $694.90 (before shipping and mail-in-rebates)

CheesyHotDogPuff's "Back To The Phenom"

PCPartPicker part list:
Price breakdown by merchant:

CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($89.79 @ DirectCanada)
Motherboard: ASRock 960GM/U3S3 FX Micro ATX AM3+ Motherboard ($65.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($23.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Green 1TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.99 @ Computer Valley)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7770 1GB Video Card ($129.99 @ NCIX)
Case: Silverstone GD04B HTPC Case ($99.99 @ NCIX)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($74.99 @ Newegg Canada)
Optical Drive: LG BH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer ($99.98 @ NCIX)
Total: $661.71

Silence is a Virtue

Processor: Intel Pentium G630T 35w ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Foxconn H67S mITX ($64.99 @ Newegg)
RAM: Pareema 4GB (2x2GB )DDR3-1333 ($18.99 @ Newegg)
Graphics Card: ASUS Fanless GT610 w/HDMI ($44.99 @ Newegg)
Solid State Drive: Crucial M4 64GB SATA III SSD ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 mITX Case ($49.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Seasonic SS-460FL Fanless 80+ Platnium 460w Modular ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Cooling: Silverstone HE02 Fanless Heatsink ($68.99 @ Newegg)
DVD Burner: DVD Burner ($15.99 @ Newegg)

"Deep Dive"

Processor: AMD A8-3850 2.9GHz Quad-Core Processor $94.24
Motherboard: ASRock A75M Micro ATX FM1 Motherboard $74.99
RAM: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $39.99
Hard Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive $155.16
Case: Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case $53.99
Power Supply: Antec Basiq 350W ATX12V Power Supply $28.84
ODD: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer $54.73

Total: 503$ and change

Graham's Starter kit

Processor: Intel Core i3-3225 ($145 @ newegg)
Motherboard: MSI B75MA-E33 MicroATX ($60 @ newegg)
RAM: Kingston HyperX 4GB ($25 @ newegg)
Graphics Card: Intel HD 4000, intergrated into CPU
Hard Drive: SAMSUNG Spinpoint F4 320GB HDD ($60 @newegg)
Case: Hec 7K09 MicroATX $75 @ newegg)
Power Supply: 350W, included with case
Cooling: default cooling
DVD Burner: ASUS 24X DVD Burner ($20 @ newegg)

Total price: $385 before discounts, $370 as of January 15


Jan 9, 2013
I just want to note that there are a lot of 750GB - 1 TB drives that are on sale for around $60-$75, but I didn't include them because i can't guarantee that they will continue to be at that price.


Oct 14, 2011
Wow, my build was the only one to include blu-ray and a tuner card? Granted, a lot of us power users won't need either, but the cable + netflix crowd does. That, along with an entry-level gaming card and a small ssd fits within the $700 budget for a nice media PC.

BTW, CheesyHotDogPuff's build doesn't meet the requirement of Newegg and Amazon only.
Hapkido: Lots to niggle, but nothing screams for replacement. Well-suited to purpose.
CheesyHotDogPuff: Hot-running / loud CPU, obsolete mobo, stronger GPU than needed.
Silence: Very interesting; does the case provide enough cooling? "Fanless" really means "elsewhere-fans." Not too keen on Foxconn, but at least all the caps are solid. Inefficient (i.e. hotter) iron core chokes though. No BluRay.
"Deep Dive:" would like to see a better PSU, but looks ok too.
Graham: No PSU in the build (just something that looks like one), no BluRay, slow, short-warranty HDD.

I went with Hapkido's build.


Jan 9, 2013
The voting seems to have really kicked off now.

I do wish I had thought to recheck all of my components before the polls were posted. (for the ram. see my post above)

It's designed to be the bare minimum that would be needed, while being easily upgraded (to an extent) as time goes on. the motherboard handles 1600MHz DDR3, and the i3 can do a fair bit. Since the case is low-profile you are limited to essentially a 7750 (more powerful GPUs are hard to find), but that should be more than enough to handle standard HTPC tasks and light gaming.

I do use the stock PSU, which is a generic TFX12V. While there are much better ones, this one is generally fine and it's not worth it financially to replace it. I chose this specific case because it will blend into an AV system pretty well.

For the Bluray drive, not everyone needs bluray. I actually found it a pain as the bluray playback software is all mediocre, and my tv required me to connect through VGA (which the bluray software doesn't like). if you really want to you can choose a bluray drive instead when purchasing it, or buy one later when you decide you want to upgrade. the $20 price of the DVD drive makes it not sting so much when you take it out.

For the hard drive, I found myself limited by my refusal to factor in the sale price (Which I didn't do for the RAM). You can get a lot of bigger drive capacities on sale at that price, and I honestly encourage you to. I doubt that you'd use this as your primary drive for over two years, especially when the purpose of this kit is to fit into a budget while letting you upgrade when you have money set aside. that being said, this drive has a decent capacity (if you don't go overboard on your move collection) and a good rating.

Just thought I needed to defend my choices.


Jan 9, 2013

Generally most people don't notice the difference, and it assumes that they have an expensive home theatre system. And most HTPC users will just use use HDMI, which i don't think always play nice with soundcards.