May 29, 2012
I am looking to put together a new HTPC. The computer's primary purpose will be to play movies running XBMC as the front-end. I have a basic server (running Amahi) and the HTPC would be playing movies off of the server (as such it won't need much storage capacity). I would like a TV tuner card as well, as XBMC will soon have some kind of PVR functionality.

I have no real preferences between AMD/Intel, AMD/NVidia, Windows/Ubuntu. The only "downside" that I can see with Ubuntu is that I won't be able to stream Netflix (buy a $50 Roku box for this? I'd get Dolby 5.1 that way too, right?)

There won't be any gaming on this computer.

I've done "normal" gaming builds in the past, but I'm not sure how much oomph I really need for a HTPC.

I'm looking for some basic guidance to send me down the correct path...

Approximate Purchase Date: this week or next week

Budget Range: Less than $400? I'm not sure what a reasonable HTPC budget is...

System Usage from Most to Least Important: playing movies

Are you buying a monitor: No

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I would prefer Amazon. Am open to Newegg or NCIX as well.

Location: Oakland, CA

Parts Preferences: by brand or type (e.g.: I would like to upgrade to Intel CPU)

Overclocking: Probably not

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1080p HDTV

Additional Comments: Would like a quiet PC in a low-profile case.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I'm currently using a 5-year old Dell laptop as my "HTPC," but it's on its dying (and it doesn't look clean)


Well if you increase your budget to something like $500 - $500 I'd suggest something like this:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A10-5800K 3.8GHz Quad-Core Processor ($129.99 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4-M Micro ATX FM2 Motherboard ($67.99 @ Newegg)
Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($37.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($88.98 @ Newegg)
Case: Silverstone SST-GD05B-USB3.0 (Black) HTPC Case ($122.56 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12II 430W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($70.17 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: Lite-On ihes112-04 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($54.99 @ Newegg)
Total: $572.67
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2012-11-10 01:15 EST-0500)

I have that same case and it's amazing. I highly recommend it.